Bedwetting?  Daytime Wetting? Constipation?

Does your child have these or other bowel/bladder issues?  As a parent or child, all of these can be very frustrating and cause a great deal of anxiety and embarrassment.  Know that you and your child are not alone and that Physical Therapy (PT) can help reduce or eliminate these issues! 

Following are some commonly asked questions:
What types of childhood bowel/bladder issues does Physical Therapy address? The most common issues are daytime/nighttime wetting, constipation, bowel leakage, or inability to have normal frequency/amount of urine/bowel.  If your child tries to “hold back” from using the bathroom, it may be because of pain or other issues that can be addressed. Some children have difficulty completely   emptying their bladder/bowel—resulting in leakage later or possible infections.   By the time a child is 5 yrs old they should be able to fully control their bowel/bladder (both day and night).
*Won’t my child just outgrow these issues?  Unfortunately, maybe not.  John Hopkins University found 20% of children between age 6 and 13 wet at night.  When children continue to have bowel/bladder issues longer than their peers, it can affect them both socially and behaviorally.  They may avoid sports activities or sleepovers for fear their friends will notice.  Children can also develop poor bowel/bladder routines that continue to progress with age causing difficulties for a lifetime.
What types of treatment can PT provide to my child?  In addition to childhood bowel/bladder education, PT can provide a variety of proven behavioral strategies, exercises to increase strength/awareness of the pelvic floor muscles (the muscles involved in bowel/bladder control), and animated biofeedback.  Depending on the child’s age, treatment also focuses on the ability to perform specific recreational activities,  sports and functions of daily living without leakage.  The child is involved in their own program as much as possible.
What should I expect from my child’s first visit to the PT?  The PT will obtain the child’s medical history, description of present symptoms, bowel/bladder routines/habits, and diet information.  The goal of the evaluation is to get a clear picture of what the child is experiencing, discuss why this is occurring, and to develop an agreeable plan of care.  There is adequate time for questions, and the parent(s)/child will be sent home with immediate recommendations and exercises to begin.
How old does my child have to be to benefit from PT intervention?  Children need to be at least 3 yrs old to have the awareness and neurological development needed to be successful. (provided no other developmental issues are present)
How do I get my child in to see a Physical Therapist?  If you have concerns/questions regarding your child, you should first discuss these with your child’s physician.  This allows them to properly diagnose your child, rule out other issues beyond the scope of physical therapy practice, and to make an appropriate referral to a qualified Physical Therapist.  The PT will work closely with the Physician to insure that your child receives the best level of care, and has the greatest opportunity for success!

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