Abnormal daytime potty habits, also known as “dysfunctional elimination syndrome,” can appear at any age and in a variety of ways. It comes in two forms now known as bladder voiding and bowel voiding dysfunctions which are treated with therapy for pediatric pelvic floor. It is very common for children to feel the need to use the restroom frequently shortly after potty training. Urinary frequency is the most common urinary complaint among children aged three to four. These children may also have episodes of urgency and frequency, as well as intermittent periods of not using the restroom for long periods. Children with these issues not only use the restroom frequently, but they also go quickly. Urgency and frequency episodes can be extremely frustrating for parents. Urinary accidents, whether during the day or at night, are also directly related to abnormal potty habits. Daytime accidents are frequently caused by a child holding for so long that she is unable to use the restroom quickly enough. Daytime incontinence can occur without any obvious notice, warning, or urge to urinate. In other words, your child may have been holding her urine without even realizing it. Children who have not “learned to stop and go” frequently experience abdominal pains, urinary tract infections, constipation, blood in the urine, and genital discomforts. When your child has these toileting issues it is best to seek the support and expertise of physical therapists who have been able to successfully treat children with the same problems. The practice of physical therapy has now broadened into certain areas that were not available before. This would also mean that the traditional treatment of incontinence with medication and alarms and a lot of accidents in between can be avoided. The approach provided by therapy for pediatric pelvic floor makes more sense and lessens the stress and anxiety in confronting the problem.
Warning Signs that Your Child Needs Therapy for Pediatric Pelvic Floor
Urinary frequency issues are usually intermittent and occur more frequently during times of excitement and distress. Urinary frequency is also referred to as having a “nervous bladder” or an “overactive bladder” by some. Children who are unwilling to relax, take their time and empty their bladder. Children are so preoccupied with other activities like playing, reading, socializing, watching TV, or playing computer games that they try to hold their urine for as long as possible by tightening their pelvic muscles and sphincters. To avoid using the restroom, they will frequently wiggle, dance, and squat. When they do go, it is usually in a hurry, and they do not take their time relaxing and letting all of the urine out. Their bladder may appear to be empty, but it is not. When a child is distracted and unable to relax their sphincter muscles, they may only urinate a small amount and leave a large amount behind. A bladder ultrasound performed after the child has urinated is the best way to convince a parent that their child’s bladder is not emptying. Even if the parents notice that there is something wrong with the urinating behavior of their child, the most common response is to shrug it off and hope that it goes away on its own. But in most instances, it does not and it can lead to a more serious condition. Thus, if you observe urinary frequency in your child, that is already an indication that they need therapy for pediatric pelvic floor.
Moreover, urinating urgently can occur at inconvenient times, such as while driving, shopping, or engaging in another activity where quick access to a restroom is not always available. Previously, parents were encouraged to tell their children to hold their urine and avoid frequent restroom visits. This was thought to stretch the bladder and give them more time before they needed to use the restroom. Pediatric urologists have recently advised against having children try to avoid using the restroom. Having a child delay using the restroom forces them to tighten their pelvic muscles, which strengthens them. When the child needs to use the restroom, he is less likely to be able to relax the strengthened pelvic muscles and empty all of the urine. Furthermore, tightening these pelvic muscles when the bladder is full will only cause spasms and contractions. If the bladder tries to empty against a tight sphincter, it will thicken and become stronger. As a result, it will try to empty more forcefully and quickly, creating urgency. Once a routine is established, a thickened bladder may become normal and thinner because it no longer has to fight against a tightened sphincter muscle. When children experience urinary urgency, they have usually waited too long and should have used the restroom sooner rather than later. Devising a pattern of when to urinate and following it can help in regulating urinary urgency but if you would like to have immediate results that will lessen the burden on you and your child, then therapy for pediatric pelvic floor is needed.
Why Does Therapy for Pediatric Pelvic Floor Work?
Therapy for pediatric pelvic floor is a new technique developed by specialists in physical therapy that have found success in the same procedure with adults. Since it is not only adults who suffer from incontinence and it is more common among very young children, the procedure is now the most recommended treatment for those with incontinence that has no underlying medical issue. The procedure also means that the child will not have to take medication of any sort and the condition can be treated with behavior modification techniques. The child with incontinence can be hooked into a biofeedback machine, wherein the child’s responses to the therapist’s instructions will be recorded. A preset standard or metric is used to identify whether the child is following the instructions or not. In the process, the child will be asked to tighten, lengthen, and then protrude the pelvic floor muscles. This exercise will help the child learn how to work his or her bladder so that it completely empties. There will be a series of sessions and each session will last for an hour. This would also help the child focus on his/her pelvic floor muscles and make them stronger.