Health Information and Tools > Patient Care Handouts >  Chemical Urethritis in Children: Care Instructions

Main Content

Chemical Urethritis in Children: Care Instructions

The urinary tract


Urethritis is a swelling of the urethra. This is the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body. Sometimes the problem can be caused by the chemicals in soap, bubble bath, or laundry soap. This is called chemical urethritis. The symptoms may seem like a urinary tract infection. But it isn't an infection.

In most cases, this problem goes away in a few days if your child stays away from the chemical.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • Give your child an over-the-counter pain medicine, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) for pain or fever. Do not use ibuprofen if your child is less than 6 months old unless the doctor gave you instructions to use it. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
  • Do not give your child two or more pain medicines at the same time unless the doctor told you to. Many pain medicines have acetaminophen, which is Tylenol. Too much acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be harmful.
  • Keep your child's genital area clean. Wash the area with water and mild non-perfumed soap. Rinse and dry well. Or have your child sit in warm water (sitz bath) 3 times a day and after bowel movements. The warm water helps with pain and itching.
  • Avoid the substance that caused the problem. Do not let your child take bubble baths or use perfumed soaps, powders, or lotions. These products can irritate the skin.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child can't urinate.
  • Your child's pain gets worse.
  • Your child has symptoms of a urinary infection. For example:
    • Your child has blood or pus in the urine.
    • Your child has pain in the back just below the rib cage. This is called flank pain.
    • Your child has a fever, chills, or body aches.
    • Your child has new belly pain.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:

  • Your child does not get better as expected after avoiding the chemical that caused the problem.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

Enter A336 in the search box to learn more about "Chemical Urethritis in Children: Care Instructions".

Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.