Physical Therapy Solutions for Children with Bowel or Bladder Dysfunction
Sometimes children have difficulty going to the bathroom. Some have challenges with constipation and incomplete bowel movements, and may even have accidents as a result. Others have problems with urinating and controlling bladder function, and may have frequent bladder infections. Urine leakage can happen during the day, night or both. It is not uncommon for some children to have difficulty with bowel and/or bladder emptying, which often results in accidents.
The Bottom Line
Dysfunctional elimination syndrome (DES) is an abnormal pattern of elimination that occurs when the pelvic floor and abdominal muscles are not working properly. This can result in bowel and bladder problems. Learning correct coordination of the pelvic floor muscles (which support the abdominal and pelvic organs) can lead to a more complete emptying of bowel and bladder, resulting in less leakage and dysfunction.
What to expect from physical therapy
The focus of treatment is to help your child regain control of his or her pelvic muscles and to learn tools to maintain healthy bowel and bladder function. Treatment methods may include muscle reeducation using Biofeedback surface EMG, behavioral and dietary modifications, toileting positions and a personalized home program. Each child is treated individually, receiving one on one treatment with a therapist, along with a parent or guardian in a comfortable, non-threatening private treatment room. Treatment is usually 30 - 45 minutes each session. In the beginning, visits are usually once per week. As progress is made, visits could be reduced to once per month.
Treatment Methods may include:
- Manual Therapy Techniques to reduce pain and spasm and improve mobility
- Modalities to manage pain and inflammation and to assist with proper muscle function
- Personalized home exercise program for proper muscle function
- Biofeedback surface EMG to assist with motor learning
- Comprehensive patient and family education