Not many people know that Pediatric Physical Therapy can help with bedwetting. In the traditional sense, physical therapy is associated with rehabilitation after injury. Physical therapists specializing in the pelvic floor are highly qualified healthcare providers who are dedicated to helping their patients overcome some less talked about issues, like incontinence. Here at Pelvic Wellness Center, we’ve created a pediatric physical therapy program designed around helping children in our community overcome the prevalence of “accidents” in their lives.
This week’s question comes from a parent who has exhausted all of the more obvious solutions to bedwetting and accidents.
Q: HELP! My child is still having problems with bedwetting and incontinence, I’ve tried the alarms, increased my child’s fiber and water and nothing has helped. What do I do now?
Judy Abel, PT: Dealing with consistent daytime accidents or bedwetting can be very exhausting for parents and caregivers. Waking up in the middle of the night to change sheets, toting extra pairs of clothes around town, and keeping your cool are all part of parenting a child with incontinence difficulties. We KNOW what you’re dealing with.
What to do first
If you haven’t already, see your pediatrician for an evaluation especially if your child has had urinary tract infections which can be a sign of a more serious underlying problem.
Your child’s doctor most likely will ask a several questions such as: How long has this been going on? What is your child’s diet like? Have there been recent changes in lifestyle, such as: A recent move, death of a family member or pet, divorce in the family, etc? What are your child’s habits with toileting, sleep, play?
Your doctor most likely will check for signs of infection and may even send your child to a pediatric urologist that can do tests to rule out for other kidney or bladder issues. Being prepared with your child’s history will be very helpful information for your doctor.
If your doctor cannot find any definitive reason for your child’s problems (infection, bladder or kidney or bowel dysfunction), then physical therapy can be a very effective avenue to assess your child’s pelvic muscular control and habits that can be problematic, such as waiting too long to go to the bathroom, or drinking a lot of fluids before bed, and for retraining the bowels and/or bladder.
Why should I seek out pediatric physical therapy for bedwetting and accidents?
To put it bluntly, Pediatric Pelvic Physical Therapists are experts in peeing and pooping as well as the skeletal muscular system. They are trained to assess muscle control and bladder and bowel habits. Their approach is comprehensive: looking at diet, activities, exercise, and finding triggers that can cause problems. Your PT is trained to work with your child to teach them how the urinary and bowel systems work, how important it is to eat foods that keep their body functioning well and explain good bladder and bowel habits. Here at Pelvic Wellness Center we work directly with your child while a parent is in the room but we believe that the goal is for your child to understand and get control of their body with your help as their parent/guardian.
No, most of the session is done with your child fully clothed while learning about their body’s urinary and bowel systems. A parent or guardian is always in the room and although the PT may ask your child to visually inspect their perineal area, it is always the choice of the child and/or parent to accept or decline this request.
What will the PT do?
Your Pediatric Pelvic PT will instruct your child in exercises for the pelvic floor muscles to build strength and awareness of their pelvic area. They will teach them about the urinary and bowel systems and how important good dietary and toileting habits are for their health. They will have them complete (with help) a bladder/bowel diary to gather information about what is happening and they may even create a contract with them to follow through and give rewards when they see improvement.
How do I find a Pediatric Pelvic Physical Therapy?
If you are in the Eugene/Salem region, you’ve come to the right place!
If your pediatrician is not aware of a Pediatric Pelvic PT in your area contact us at Pelvic Wellness Center and we are happy to help you find a PT in your area.