Many children suffer from bladder or bowel leakage as they age. Sometimes this is coming from weak pelvic floor and core muscles, sometimes from constipation putting too much pressure on the bladder, poor bladder habits or high intake of bladder irritants. A thorough evaluation from our pelvic health physical therapists who have had advanced training in pediatric dysfunctions, should help determine the underlying “driver” of the problem and work on developing a plan of care to eliminate this leakage.
Most children should be dry at nighttime by age 5. Research shows that bedwetting typically resolves by age 12, so many parents are told to just wait it out and that their child will more that likely grown out of it. We believe that bedwetting should be addressed at age 5 so that children do not develop self esteem and depressive symptoms from continuing to have nighttime leakage. As children get older, they are restricted from going to sleep overs, camping with their families or sleepover camp due to fear of bedwetting. We do see children up to age 17 still having nighttime leakage who are concerned about resolving these issues prior to leaving for college.
After parents stop helping their children wipe their bottoms after going to the bathroom, they no longer have daily knowledge on how well their children’s bowels are working. Depending on the child’s fiber and fluid intake,the amount of daily exercise and motion that they get, and any poor bowel habits (such as postponing having a bowel movement at school due to doors that don’t lock or older children in those bathrooms causing anxiety), children can develop constipation. This can cause a host of other problems in regards to how that child’s GI health and bladder function are effected. At physical therapy, we look at all these considerations and help the child and parents work together to resolve the problem.