We often hear about urinary incontinence in adults or the elderly population, but did you know it can also happen to children? According to ICCS (International Children’s Continence Society) one in five otherwise healthy five-year-olds and one in seven school-age children are incontinent during the day or night.
There are a few causes for incontinence. It can be associated to psychological, environmental or due to part of the nervous system that controls the bladder not being mature yet. Even though children should gain full control over their bladder by the age of 5 this does not always happen.
Common dysfunctions of the bowel and bladder include:
- Bladder overactivity: when the bladder contracts too much and the child might feel a sudden urge and incontinence can happen
- Incoordination of the muscles of the pelvic floor: The muscles don’t completely relax when it’s time to urinate, which can lead to urine retention, urinary tract infections and even more serious problems like urine reflux to the kidneys.
- Nocturnal enuresis (bedwetting): can be found in 5-10% of children below the age of ten years. Although incontinence is not life-threatening, it is a terrible problem for the child because it can lead to low self-esteem and isolation. Even though the problem can go away with time it can take many years, but with Physical Therapy intervention it may resolve much faster.
- Constipation: Found in 18-37% of children. It can impact negatively the child’s health causing symptoms like pain and bloating or even a strong urge to urinate (bladder being compressed by the full rectum). With time, constipation can even lead to a dysfunction in the pelvic floor muscles and difficulty urinating.
Recognizing a dysfunction means asking specific questions to parents:
- Does the child use the restroom less than 4x or more than 8x per day?
- Does he/she wet the bed at night and is over the age of 5?
- Does he/she ever have to cross legs or do a little “pee dance” to avoid urine loss on the way to the bathroom?
- Do you see him/her having difficulty or pain defecating?
These could be signs that this child needs a visit to a Pediatric trained Physical Therapist.
What You May Expect During Your Physical Therapy Session:
A pelvic floor physical therapy evaluation is very different from the evaluation you receive from your doctor. Physical therapists are experts in assessing muscular tone, strength, flexibility, and endurance, as well as the general health of the musculoskeletal system.
Our evaluation of your pelvic floor is very detailed and comprehensive, and the exam often includes an assessment of your back, hips, and any other region of your body that may be involved.
Why Choose Cornerstone Physical Therapy:
- Skilled services in a safe, comfortable and private treatment environment
- Excellent communication with your health care providers
- Sound and knowledgeable advice and education about your condition
- A comprehensive assessment and an individualized rehabilitation program