Speak the language, start the dialog about ‘accidents’, bedwetting, urges Pelvic Wellness Center

June 28, 2013

Physical Therapy for bedwettingEUGENE, OR – According to Judy Abel, PT, co-founder of Pelvic Wellness Center in Eugene and Salem, before the causes of a child’s bedwetting, bladder and bowel problems can be diagnosed, a sometimes difficult and personal dialog must begin. This first step is paramount, Abel says, and it can be simplified by learning the basic language related to these issues.

“For a parent with a child dealing with daytime or bedwetting issues, it improves their outlook on a sometimes frustrating situation knowing that not only do these conditions have names, but that they’re common and, in some cases, relatively normal,” Abel said. “With this improved confidence comes the drive to work toward a resolution.”

Abel and her partner, Shannon Forrestall, MSPT, specialize in physical therapy related to the pelvic floor. Together, they’ve developed a 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 at stake.

Up to 20 percent of all pediatrician visits are for incontinence issues, and an estimated five million children in the U.S. deal with bed-wetting. The following are common diagnoses related to child bladder and bowel problems:

  • Nocturnal Enuresis: Also known as nocturnal incontinence or simply “bedwetting,” this defines bladder leaking while a child is asleep. “Bedwetting can happen when your child sleeps deeply and their bladder sensations are not strong enough to wake them,” Forrestall said. “It can be aggravated by bladder-irritating foods or beverages (e.g., acidic or carbonated drinks), especially if consumed after dinner.” Nocturnal enuresis can also be caused by constipation, the incomplete emptying of the bladder and weak pelvic floor muscles.
  • Daytime Enuresis: This simply defines urine leaking while your child is awake – also known as daytime incontinence. This term describes a symptom, says Abel, not the cause of the leaking. “At the age of around 7, about 3 percent of girls and 2 percent of boys experience functional daytime wetting at least once a week,” Abel said. “If your child occasionally wets his or her pants while playing or distracted, there is no reason to be concerned. But if this is a common occurrence, there may be underlying reasons for the leakage.” Problematic potty habits, along with the same things that cause bedwetting, can lead to daytime incontinence.
  • Overactive Bladder: Once called “bladder instability,” the symptoms of an overactive bladder include a high frequency of “peeing” (more than eight times a day), strong bladder urgency and some urine leaking. “An example of a common scenario for a child with an overactive bladder would be losing urine while running to the bathroom or opening the door to the house,” Forrestall said. “And this condition – you guessed it – can also be aggravated by diet, constipation, toileting habits and pelvic floor muscle weakness.”

Pelvic floor physical therapists, like Abel and Forrestall, are trained to teach a child bladder awareness, good bladder habits, beneficial dietary habits, and exercises to improve the strength of her/her bladder floor, reducing and often resolving their leaking problems.

About Pelvic Wellness Center
Pelvic Wellness Center is an independently owned physical therapy clinic with locations in Eugene and Salem. Founding partners Judy Abel, PT, and Shannon Forrestall, MSPT, work exclusively on pelvic health issues including incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, pregnancy, post-partum conditions, pelvic pain disorders and pediatric urological conditions. Learn more at www.pelvicwellnesscenter.com.