Pediatric Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy

Common Pediatric Bowel Disorders Newsletter feature for children with urinary and bowel issues

Can Your Child Benefit?

  • Is your child over 4 years of age and still wearing pull ups?
  • Is your child on medication to regulate his/her bowel/bladder?

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If any of the below problems sound familiar, then PT can help!

  • Urinary incontinence (loss of urine)
  • Urinary urgency (constant/strong need to urinate)
  • Urinary frequency (urinating over 8 times in a 24 hour period)
  • Urinary retention (not fully emptying bladder)
  • Fecal urgency, frequency and/or retention
  • Bowel incontinence, pain with defecation, inability to empty bowels
  • Excessive gas, abdominal bloating
  • Constipation, diarrhea with/without soiling/staining

Your Child Is Not Alone…

  • 20% of pediatrician visits are for incontinence problems
  • 15% of visits to gastrointestional doctors are for lower bowel dysfunction
  • 3% of visits to pediatricians are for constipation
  • 5 million youngsters complain of nocturnal enuresis (nighttime bedwetting)

The physical therapists at Beyond Basics PT specialize in treating problems related to pelvic floor dysfunction.

The pelvic floor is made up of muscles and other tissues that form a sling from the pubic bone to the tailbone. They help to support the abdominal and pelvic organs and to control bladder and bowel activity.

Pelvic floor dysfunction refers to a wide range of problems that occur when these muscles are over active and in spasm, and often weak and too tight. The tissue surrounding the pelvic floor organs may have increased sensitivity and irritation or decreased sensitivity, causing the resulting dysfunction seen in children.

Although millions of children suffer from pelvic floor dysfunction, most don't get the help they need. Typically, children are toilet trained by age 4 with only very occasional accidents. After age 4 childhood bowel and bladder dysfunction is considered a major medical problem and greatly affects the quality of life for the whole family.

What to Expect: How Do We Treat?


We meet with each child and their parent/s or guardian initially to get a thorough knowledge of history and current problems. We then do a physical examination, looking at the muscles of the abdomen, legs, back and others we feel applicable to the specific problem. Then, if applicable, we perform an external exam of the pelvic floor muscles to assess their function. This exam is non -invasive and performed with an adult present. Finally, we consult with the referring physician to develop an individualized treatment plan.

Treatment is one-on-one, hands on, with the child dressed and lasts 1 hour—in comfortable, private treatment rooms.

We work with each child and family member very closely and modify our treatment according to what works best for each individual. We incorporate a holistic approach, looking at diet, sleep patterns, and other behavioral issues that could be contributing to the current problem..


What Exactly Do We Do?

Treatment includes:

  • Biofeedback
  • Behavorial and diet modification
  • Soft tissue mobilization, myofascial release and deep tissue massage if needed
  • Hot and cold therapy
  • Stretching and strengthening of pelvic floor and surrounding muscles as appropriate
  • Relaxation techniques

Read About Pediatric Orthopedic Physical Therapy.