What is Pelvic Floor Biofeedback?

Having a condition that affects the bladder or bowels can be a stressful and emotional situation for anyone, let alone a child. Issues such as daytime wetting or chronic urinary tract infections can make child feel ashamed or embarrassed, sometimes leading to changes in behavior or self-esteem.

When these conditions are caused by pelvic floor dysfunction, pelvic floor biofeedback therapy is a non-invasive treatment that can teach your child how to strengthen or relax their pelvic floor muscles. Biofeedback helps patients bring awareness and control to this group of muscles. Many patients find the therapy reduces their symptoms and improves several conditions that affect bowel or bladder function. Unlike medication used to treat bladder or bowel issues, pelvic floor biofeedback typically causes no side effects.

Pelvic floor biofeedback uses external sensors to record activity of the pelvic floor muscles and produces a visual representation of the muscle activity. When your child is able to visualize their muscle activity with assistance from a therapist, it can help them identify and change how those muscles are used.

Who Benefits from Pelvic Floor Biofeedback?

Conditions that affect bladder or bowel function can make social situations, from play dates to sleepovers, stressful. Children ages 5 to 13 may benefit from pelvic floor biofeedback, not only by improving overall control of their bladder or bowel, but also by improving their confidence and quality of life.

At Gillette, pelvic floor biofeedback can help children ages 5 to 13 who have conditions such as:

  • Daytime wetting and other associated conditions.
  • Chronic urinary tract Infections (UTIs).
  • Pre- and post-surgical vesicoureteral reflux (VUR).
  • Constipation and bowel/bladder dysfunction.

What to Expect During Pelvic Floor Biofeedback

During pelvic floor biofeedback, a pediatric pelvic floor therapist will work directly with your child. A pediatric pelvic floor therapist has been trained to treat conditions that affect the bladder or bowel using biofeedback, behavioral modifications and patient education.

First, patients will have a 60-minute evaluation to determine if pelvic floor biofeedback is an appropriate treatment for them. The evaluation includes a review of your child’s current bladder/bowel function, daily habits and pertinent medical history. We might also perform a non-invasive physical exam. During the evaluation, the therapist will help you and your child learn about the pelvic floor’s role in maintaining continence, daily bowel and bladder habits, and how nutrition plays a role in your child’s overall health. If further treatment is deemed appropriate, sessions will typically take place over six to 12 one-hour visits.

During the treatment sessions, the therapist will help your child bring awareness to and isolate their pelvic floor muscles. The pelvic floor therapist might do this by using several different therapy techniques.

In addition to pelvic floor biofeedback, as part of your child’s treatment plan, your therapist might also recommend:

  • Muscle strengthening or stretching.
  • Muscle relaxation techniques.
  • Behavioral modifications.
  • Diet modifications.
  • Home exercises.

Because treatment might include exercises to be done at home and modifications to diet or behavior, you and your child should be present at the initial evaluation and at each treatment session to ensure progress and success.

Contact Us to Learn More

Many kids who have conditions that affect the bladder or bowel can improve their function and independence with the help of rehab services at Gillette. Our specialists see more children who have complex conditions than any other facility in the region.

Contact Natalie Peters or Jane McMillan to learn more about pelvic floor biofeedback at Gillette.

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