Bladder and Bowel Elimination Issues for Children
Potty training brings a multitude of challenges even in the best of circumstances. However, when constipation, “holding”, and accidents happen often, it can be overwhelming for everyone. The good news is there’s help! There is a new branch of physical therapy for kids called pelvic floor rehabilitation therapy. It’s devoted to helping parents and children successfully navigate the complications that can happen during and even after potty training.
When should I be concerned about child bowel and bladder issues?
By the age of six, most children have mastered control of bowel and bladder function. Still, pediatricians confirm that lots of children continue to struggle well beyond this age. with issues surrounding bowel and bladder function. When this struggle begins to affect quality of life for you, your child or your family, it’s time to consider a pediatric pelvic floor evaluation.
What is pelvic floor muscle disfunction, and what causes it?
Children have potty training struggles for various reasons. They may not yet have fully developed sensory systems. They may have emotional barriers to potty training. Oftentimes, though, the issues are physical. In many cases, pelvic floor muscle issues result in elimination problems for kids.
The pelvic floor is comprised of a group of muscles and other tissues that attach to the front, back and sides of the pelvic bone. These muscles form a sling to support the organs in the pelvis. The pelvic floor muscles control bladder and bowel functioning. When these muscles are weak, spasm or do not work properly, bowel and bladder issues can occur. Specifically, pelvic floor muscle dysfunction (also called dysfunctional elimination) happens when the ring of muscles surrounding the opening of the bladder or bowel are weak or don’t function properly. This condition can result in one or more of the following symptoms:
- Frequent urinary tract infections
- Bladder leakage
- Bowel leakage
- Abdominal bloating
- Lower abdominal pain
- Nighttime bedwetting
How can physical therapy help with my child’s bowel and bladder issues?
Physical therapy for kids can help with pelvic floor muscle dysfunction. Our specially trained pediatric physical therapists use biofeedback and other training techniques to encourage muscle activation or relaxation. Physical therapy for child bowel and bladder issues may include:
- Biofeedback for pelvic floor dysfunction
- Use of a bowel and bladder diary
- Dietary and nutritional education
- Postural muscle training and education
- Breathing techniques and exercises
- Manual therapy (belly massages and muscle or visceral relaxation)
How do I get pediatric pelvic floor rehabilitation therapy for my child?
First, a pediatric gastroenterologist or pediatric urologist should perform a few tests. The tests should rule out infections, congenital issues, and other issues not related to pelvic floor muscle dysfunction. If your doctor decides that sensory and muscular issues are involved, he or she may suggest your child get physical therapy for pelvic floor muscle rehabilitation.
What’s the Fox Valley Physical Therapy and Wellness process for assessing pelvic floor muscle disfunction?
When you trust our specially trained therapists with your child’s treatment, we’ll first perform an evaluation.
- We will meet with you and your child in a private room.
- You’ll learn more about how the bowel and bladder work.
- You’ll complete a written questionnaire about your child’s bowel and bladder habits and diet.
- We will talk through your answers to gain a better understanding of your personal needs and goals.
- We’ll assess your child’s posture and evaluate pelvic floor muscle function using biofeedback. The biofeedback process involves placing sensors on the child’s pelvic floor muscles. We connect those sensors to a computer. The computer screen displays child-friendly graphics that help your child understand and learn how to use pelvic floor muscles. No part of evaluation or treatment process is painful for your child. Visit our Biofeedback for Pelvic Floor Dysfunction page to learn more.
Once they have all this information, our pediatric physical therapists can help you and your child understand the issues and our personalized plan for treatment.
How successful is pediatric pelvic floor rehabilitation?
At Fox Valley Physical Therapy and Wellness, we believe in a team approach to resolving child bowel and bladder issues. The success of your child’s treatment depends on collaboration between your child’s doctors, therapists, you and your child. Our compassionate and positive approach to bowel and bladder dysfunction can result in improved confidence, self-esteem, and independence for your child.
- Bladder diary
- Dietary/nutritional education
- Postural muscle training and education
- Breathing techniques and exercises
- Manual therapy (belly massages muscle or visceral relaxation)
The success of treatment depends on the collaboration of a team of doctors, therapists, the parents, and child. Fox Valley Physical Therapy and Wellness, LLC, currently offers pediatric pelvic floor muscle training. A compassionate and positive approach to bowel and bladder dysfunction can result in improved confidence, self-esteem, and independence for your child.
My daughter has severe physical disability and has been treated by Mary Kelly for the last 8 years. Mary provides professional knowledge, detailed explanations, and compassionate care. She is absolutely the best in the Chicago area! ...
- Kim L.
I am very glad that I came to Fox Valley Physical Therapy and Wellness. I began physical therapy with Chris Kelly for a torn hamstring in October 2011. The injury was not healing well and my doctor advised “immediate and aggressive physical therapy” or he believed I would lose the use of my...
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Intense discomfort in the hip area made walking difficult and disallowed my main hobby: golf. Chris Kelly, through careful listening and knowledgeable probing questions, discovered the true source of the pain and created a regime to treat the offending area as well as promote flexibility and...
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Chris and Mary provide a very caring and motivating environment for the patients. They also instill a very collaborative approach that benefits the patient. Highly skilled in their respective specialties with the ultimate goal of helping you. ...
- Karin H.
You feel all their efforts are directed toward resolving your problem. They’re some of the BEST in physical therapy. I would definitely recommend patients to them for treatment. ...
- Mary C.
If you are looking for a private, personalized and professional physical therapist, Fox Valley Physical Therapy and Wellness is the choice for you. Both Chris and Mary Kelly are knowledgeable, caring and dedicated. I arrived with severe pain and difficulty walking and standing and have shown...
- Barbara W.
Mary Kelly has been working with our son for over a year now. Thanks to her incredible insight, she has been able to unravel several issues that no other therapist had even identified. With her perspective, patience, and extensive experience, Mary has given our son the opportunity to overcome his...
- Kathy M.
I saw Chris Kelly for physical therapy after an ACL injury and was really pleased with the quality of care that I received. As an active person, it was very important to me to be able to return to all the things I had done prior to the injury. Chris treated me as a partner in my care and made my...
- Rose Ann D.
I came to physical therapy with a skeptic view as to its benefits having had prior experiences that didn’t always work out with other injuries. Following my podiatrist’s recommendation, I went to see Chris, gave PT another chance, and was thrilled by the results. I arrived...
My daughter first began seeing Mary Kelly at the age of 16 months, after her first of four major orthopaedic surgeries. It was clear in the beginning that Mary is no ordinary physical therapist. Over the four years that my daughter has been Mary’s client we have always found her to be a kind,...
- Shelby M.
“Mary Kelly has been working with our son for over a year now. Thanks to her incredible insight, she has been able to unravel several issues that no other therapist had even identified. With her perspective, patience, and extensive experience, Mary has given our son the opportunity to overcome...
- Kathy M.
Our team of therapists provides clinical expertise to thoroughly evaluate and diagnose the problem behind the symptoms.
Our therapists offer their clinical expertise to thoroughly evaluate and diagnose the problem behind the symptoms.