Having a child experience difficulty with bowel/bladder control can be an emotional situation for both the parent and child. It is often difficult to understand the dysfunction as a parent and frustrating not knowing how to help. Children are often left feeling shame and embarrassed, sometimes leading to behavioral changes.
Like the adult pelvis, the pelvic floor muscles in children help support the bowel, bladder and abdominal organs. The pelvic floor muscles provide a supportive sling to these organs and ideally provide control of urine and feces and to assist elimination.
Pediatric pelvic floor dysfunction refers to a wide range of problems that occur when the muscles are weak, in spasm and/or too tight. These problems with the muscles can cause bowel and bladder leakage, day or nighttime incontinence (bedwetting) or dysfunctional elimination. Diagnoses that often involve pelvic floor dysfunction include:
- Chronic Constipation
- Encopresis: Bowel Incontinence and/or inability to empty bowel
- Enuresis: Urinary Incontinence
- Excessive Gas, Abdominal Bloating
- Fecal Urgency/Frequency
- Painful Urination or Defecation
- Urinary Frequency/Urgency
- Urinary Retention
- Vesicoureteral Reflux
There are millions of children suffering from pelvic floor dysfunction that are often not getting the right help. Physical Therapy is a non-invasive approach that can be very effective in helping your child gain control and independence with bowel and bladder function. Julie offers a variety of treatment techniques and modalities to manage and overcome the painful and debilitating effects that can result from these conditions.
Pediatric Pelvic Floor Treatment
Julie’s pediatric treatment plan is a team approach including input from the referring physician, the parents/caregivers, the child and physical therapist. It is imperative that the child and parent feel comfortable, respected and supported in the therapy process.
All treatment includes a parent or parent authorized caregiver to be present with the child and therapist during all evaluation and treatment. The initial evaluation includes a review of current bowel/bladder function, and review of health history and any special tests that have been completed. Next, Julie performs a physical examination that looks at muscles of the abdomen, pelvis and legs. The treatment also includes biofeedback, muscle strengthening and/or stretching, muscle relaxation techniques, elimination diaries, behavioral and diet modification, and a home program.