Girl Holding Stomach, pediatric pelvic floor biofeedback; pediatric pelvic floor dysfunction; pelvic floor therapy for pediatrics; pediatric bowel and bladder dysfunction

Pelvic Health Physical Therapy for Pediatrics

Bladder and bowel dysfunction (difficulty with urination and/or having a bowel movement) in children can be very distressing to families and especially the child.  It is not uncommon, but is often dismissed as a stage or incurable problem.  Inside your pelvis are muscles and tissues that work to create support for abdominal and pelvic organs and help control bowel and bladder activity. If those muscles are too tight, too weak or are just not working correctly, they can cause these problems.

Bladder and bowel dysfunction in children can consist of

  • Bedwetting at night or daytime wetting
  • Leaking urine or frequent urination, which may lead to urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • Constipation (difficulty making bowel movements which can be painful) and fecal incontinence (leaking stool)

Understanding how these muscles and nerves work together can be taught through physical therapy.

Hennepin Healthcare offers a biofeedback program for kids. Biofeedback can help men, women and pediatric patients with pelvic health issues. Superficial electrodes are placed on the outside of their body. Squeezing the muscles in the pelvis creates shapes on the computer screen, and they can associate their movements to understand the times to void and the times not to void.

Typically, children are toilet trained by age 4 with only very occasional accidents. After age 4, childhood bowel and bladder dysfunction is considered a medical problem and, because of the embarrassing and frustrating nature of the issue, can greatly affect the quality of life for the whole family. Children may suffer from anxiety and stress.  Physical therapy can help to retrain the pelvic floor muscles, improve voiding habits, and provide therapeutic exercises to increase confidence.