Press Release: Treating Child Bedwetting and Bladder Control through Physical Therapy


January 31, 2013
Oregon Program Treats Child Bedwetting and Incontinence through Physical Therapy

EUGENE, OR – For years, physical therapists Judy Abel and Shannon Forrestall, co-owners of the Pelvic Wellness Center in Eugene and Salem, have treated adults experiencing a variety of pelvic dysfunction issues. Along the way, they came to recognize a significant cross-section of people under-served in their medical field: children dealing with leaking bladders and/or bowels – also known as “incontinence,” which can result in bedwetting.

“We felt an obligation to apply our skills to these kids,” Abel said. “There’s a big population that isn’t being served. There are a lot of kids out there, and there are a lot of frustrated parents, too, who feel they can’t help their kids.”

So Abel and Forrestall created their own pediatric physical therapy program geared toward helping children overcome the prevalence of  “accidents” in their lives – children most often between the ages of 5 and 10 whose social development, self-esteem, and overall health are often at stake.

The physical therapy program consists of education, exercise instruction, biofeedback, and behavior modification. According to Abel and Forrestall, most children see marked improvement within eight sessions of treatment.

“What’s unique about what we offer these kids is we’re putting all the pieces together,” Forrestall said. “Once they come back to see us, they’re accountable to us. We’re there to reinforce the compliance and to alter their program as needed based on how they’re progressing.”

Each phase of the program includes the following:

  • EDUCATION: Teaches the child how their body works – how the bladder works, what the muscles do, what’s normal, etc.
  • EXERCISE INSTRUCTION: Creates an exercise program for the child that helps to re-train the pelvic floor muscles so they work in harmony with the bowel and bladder organs.
  • BIOFEEDBACK: A tool that shows children how the pelvic muscles should work and what it looks like to train these muscles, “connecting the dots between what they feel and what they typically can’t see.”
  • BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION: Includes diet modifications and developing good “potty habits” – when to use the bathroom, how to use the bathroom, and how often to go.

Bowel and bladder problems are certainly common in children. Studies suggest that up to 20 percent of all pediatrician visits are for the purpose of incontinence. What’s more, it’s estimated that five million children in the U.S. deal with bedwetting problems, one manifestation of incontinence.

“If you have a 6-year-old coming home from school with wet pants twice a month, there’s probably something going on,” Abel said. “Remember, as a parent you’re only seeing part of the story. If you suspect there is an issue and you want help, call our office to schedule an evaluation.”

Here at the Pelvic Wellness Center we are happy to treat children affected by bedwetting and bladder control issues without the use of medications. Give us a call for more information!

Pelvic Wellness Center             Pelvic Wellness Center
395 W. Broadway                       2744 12th St SE
Eugene, OR  97401                    Salem, OR 97302
P: (541) 515-6215                      P:(503) 983-8811
F: (541) 515-6216                      F:(503) 364-1376