Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy for Children
It’s easy to forget that kids can have pelvic floor problems too!
In reality, it is common (yet not normal) for children aged 4 and up to deal with challenges like bedwetting, constipation, or incontinence. As a result, they can experience humiliation, shame, social consequences, and confusion. Parents can become frustrated and often do not know how to help their child. It can be emotionally draining on the whole family, especially if problems persist as the years go on.
However, rest assured that your child can overcome these challenges with a bit of education, individualized treatment, and practice. Just like adults, it really is possible to teach children to take control of their bowel and bladder function using the tools and strategies provided through pelvic health physiotherapy.
We’re here to support you in that journey!
What pelvic health conditions do we treat in children?
Paediatric Pelvic Health Physiotherapy can help your child address issues with:
- Urinary incontinence (day time leaking due to sneezing, laughing, giggling, holding pee too long, and more)
- Urinary frequency or urgency
- Night time bedwetting (Enuresis)
- Constipation or stool retention
- Fecal incontinence
- Under-active bladder or urinary retention
- Painful bowel or bladder movements
- Pain in the perineal or rectal region
What can you expect during a consultation?
- Family Centred: It is important that both you and your child feel comfortable and supported throughout the process. We invite the participation of you and your child during the consultation and during treatments. Don’t worry – we keep things relaxed and engaging for your child. It’s important to hear both your perspective and your child’s perspective.
- Health History: We will ask about the challenges you’ve experienced, any official diagnoses or medical testing you’ve received, your concerns and hopes, strategies tried so far, and your child’s development. We will review your child’s questionnaire and bowel/bladder log that are to be completed prior to your first visit.
- Physical Examination: We will evaluate posture and breathing, joint mobility, muscle length, strength and control. With your consent, the therapist will likely want to evaluate the external pelvic floor muscles to determine your child’s ability to contract or relax the pelvic floor. This is done visually and/or with palpation. Unlike the process for adults, there is NO internal examination of the pelvic floor muscles for children.
What does treatment involve for my child?
Treatment is highly individualized and based on the findings of the evaluation AND on your family’s goals. Most importantly, we keep it fun, engaging, and rewarding for your child. Treatment can include:
- Education – helping you understand what is going on and why it’s happening
- Bowel or bladder scheduling
- Biofeedback techniques or awareness training for the pelvic floor
- Providing helpful tips/strategies to try at home such as positioning, behaviour modification, cueing, language/phrasing, diet adjustments, sleep training, and more
- Constipation management
- Skin care/wiping techniques
- Exercises to retrain the pelvic floor
- Manual therapy (external only) on abdomen or joints of lower body and pelvis, or the external pelvic floor
- Collaborating with the rest of your care team such as your paediatrician, OT, family doctor, etc.
- A home program to pull it all together (which is key to seeing results!)
What are my next steps?
If your child has any pelvic floor dysfunction, it is important that you get the help you need. Often untreated pelvic floor problems can negatively impact a child’s health and well being as he/she develops. It can continue to persist into his or her life as an adult.
But that doesn’t have to be your child’s story. Pelvic health physiotherapy can be very surprisingly effective at helping your child overcome bowel or bladder challenges. The physical benefits to your child are huge…but the best gifts of all are that of self-efficacy, self-esteem, and self-confidence.
Contact us today to get your child moving away from feeling pelvic-floor-helpless to being a pelvic-floor-hero!