"By: Heather Jenny, PT Heather has joined Pinnacle Women"s Therapeutics with over 28 years specializing in pelvic health in adults and children. She is a gift to our community!
Hello There! Surprised to find bladder and bowel problems occur in children? Or maybe you"re not surprised that there can be problems, but that Physical Therapy can help resolve those problems!
That would have been me 30 years ago when I began specializing in pelvic floor physical therapy. At first, I thought only women had these types of problems, then I quickly realized men could have pelvic floor problems too! But kids?
One day, a PT colleague of mine asked me if we could chat in private. She told me that her 9 year old was still having problems with urinary leakage at night "bed wetting". She said she felt terrible that she had been unable to help him fix the problem. She reported they had taken him to his pediatrician and a urologist, but he was still having leakage! She wondered if there was anything that I could do to help?
I began researching and found that bladder and bowel problems are common in children! 5-7 Million children in the US experience urinary and/or bowel leakage events after toilet training where they are mostly dry. Of this number, 10% continue to have events after age 6. 10-25% of bedwetting children also have issues with bowel control. (1)
But thankfully, Physical Therapy, in coordination with your physician, can often make all the difference in success!
So you might be wondering, what does Physical Therapy for Pelvic Floor problems in kids entail? Below is an overview of some common things we can do to help your child gain control of their pelvic floor!
Breathe Coordination with the Pelvic Floor
The pelvic floor, diaphragm and abdominals are supposed to work together in a coordinated movement pattern. During voiding, the pelvic floor should lengthen and open to allow the bladder or bowels to contract and empty completely.
When not voiding, they work together to move the body and prevent leakage of urine and stool.
Children can have muscles that don"t work together (pelvic floor muscle dyssynergia), that work opposite of how they are supposed to work (Paradoxical movement) and sometimes, they just don"t know how they are supposed to move!"
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