When hearing the word incontinence, do you automatically think of a pregnant woman or the elderly? While these populations commonly suffer from this condition, did you know that children can also be susceptible to improper voiding due to muscular dysfunction, resulting in incontinence, UTIs, frustration, and embarrassment? If your child is suffering from this condition, there is hope. Read on to learn more about pediatric pelvic floor therapy, so you are equipped with the information necessary to get your child the treatment he or she needs. Don't go another day watching your child suffer from a completely treatable condition. Rather regain their confidence and freedom to enjoy life without fear of incontinence!
What Are the Symptoms of Pediatric Incontinence?
Symptoms of pediatric incontinence include recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs), urgency and frequency of urination, inability to recognize bladder fullness, failure to urinate a normal amount throughout the day, constipation, abdominal pain and/or discomfort, leaking urine while awake or bedwetting when asleep, and/or straining to urinate or defecate. It is also important to note that children who suffer from these symptoms may also experience emotional distress such as low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression as a result of the negative impacts these symptoms may have on their life.
What Causes Pediatric Incontinence?
The cause of pediatric incontinence is not always known but there are several contributing factors that can include: muscular dysfunction, birth trauma, constipation, low bladder capacity, neurological deficits, emotional issues, or stress. Regardless of the initial cause, pediatric incontinence is typically related to a dysfunction in the child's pelvic floor muscles. When these muscles are unable to function properly in correlation with the function of the bladder, abnormal voiding of the bladder or bowels is the result. Whenever this pattern becomes ingrained, the muscles become weakened and no longer allow for the bladder and/or bowels to fully empty, leading to a host of problems. It's important to remember that the underlying cause of the child's symptoms can differ from patient to patient, making it important for parents and caretakers to work closely with their child's physician to ensure that proper diagnosis and treatment is received.
What Is Pediatric Pelvic Floor Therapy and How Does It Work?
Pediatric pelvic floor therapy is a specialized type of physical therapy administered by trained pediatric physical therapists to help mitigate bladder or bowel incontinence, developmental issues, or injury in children. Through the use of these therapies, patients should expect increased movement, muscle strength, and flexibility. Ultimately, these highly educated and compassionate professionals work with children and their caregivers to properly diagnose the underlying cause of the symptoms and effectively treat them to achieve more than mere symptom reduction but rather lasting healing.
While each child will be treated as an individual and a specific treatment plan will be developed just for them, there are several commonly used treatments to address pediatric incontinence. These include rehabilitative ultrasound, a bladder schedule to form positive habits, neuromuscular re-education, pelvic floor muscle visual evaluation/treatment, therapeutic ultrasound, cold laser, at home exercise plan, and patient education. When tailored to your unique child and the causes behind their incontinence, pediatric pelvic floor therapy can help your child regain their confidence and quality of life!
Is Pediatric Pelvic Floor Therapy Invasive?
Pediatric pelvic floor therapy is a non-invasive, holistic approach to treating pediatric incontinence. During the diagnostic phase, the child will not be subjected to a vaginal or rectal exam. Instead, information will be gained by conducting a visual inspection of the perineum by the therapist with the presence of the parent. The therapist will observe if there is redness or irritation present from soiled undergarments, whether the child has a normal sensation/reflex of the anus when a gentle touch is applied, and whether the child is aware of how to properly contract the muscles of their pelvic floor. While the treatment plan will require diligence, it should not feel invasive or painful during the evaluation or the implementation of the treatment plan.
How Long Will My Child Have to Attend Pelvic Floor Therapy?
While every patient is an individual, generally speaking most children are able to attain daytime continence within 6-8 sessions. For those also suffering from overnight incontinence, the process may take longer.
How Often Will My Child Need to Attend Therapy Sessions?
As a rule of thumb, most pediatric therapy will last for approximately 60 minutes per session. Therapists typically want to see the patient every other week at the start of therapy and then increase the time between visits to every 3-4 weeks as the patient begins to show improvement. However, for the most accurate information, always check with your child's therapist to determine the treatment plan that is right for you.
What Are the Benefits of Pediatric Pelvic Floor Therapy?
Pediatric pelvic floor therapy can provide a number of important health benefits to children. Firstly, it can help to improve bladder and bowel control, lessen the chances of recurrent UTIs, and improve overall bladder capacity. Secondly, it can help to reduce constipation by strengthening abdominal muscles which are essential for healthy digestive functioning. Thirdly, it can help to improve muscle and joint flexibility and coordination, both of which are essential for healthy movement. Lastly, pediatric pelvic floor therapy can help to reduce anxiety, boost confidence, and improve the child's quality of life making it well-worth spending a few short weeks engaging in pediatric pelvic floor therapy for your child.
Does Insurance Cover Pediatric Pelvic Floor Therapy?
In most cases, insurance plans offer at least some coverage for pediatric pelvic floor therapy. However, these coverages will depend on the specific plan and policy of the insurer. Typically, most insurers cover physical therapy treatments for conditions that are considered medically necessary. Therefore, it is best to check with your insurer prior to beginning any pelvic floor therapy routine to ensure that your child's treatment is covered. It is also important to note that individual therapies may have different coverage levels, so it is best to discuss your options with your health care provider before beginning any therapy and contact your insurance company for questions regarding specific coverages.
In conclusion, issues of incontinence can be problematic to the health and well-being of those of all ages, including children. After learning more about pediatric physical therapy for incontinence, don't let your child suffer one more day. Get them the treatment they need for better health and a better life!