Kids and constipation… it’s more common than you think!
Did you know that constipation effects from 1%-30% of children worldwide? An estimated $3.9 billion dollars per year go toward health resources for children who have constipation. Constipation can be an underlying cause of day time and nighttime wetting in children.
Functional constipation is constipation that does not have a physical or physiological cause and is often related to pelvic floor muscle dysfunction. Sometimes a child may have a painful bowel movement that may result in posturing or various holding techniques that result in further constipation. Standard medical care for children with functional constipation includes: education, dietary advice, prescription of laxatives, and behavioral interventions. However, research has shown that 50% of children who receive standard medical care for functional constipation still have concerns with constipation 5 years after treatment.
Recent research revealed successful treatment of functional constipation when adding pelvic floor physical therapy to the standard medical care for children. Pediatric pelvic floor physical therapy focuses on educating your child and you on the pelvic floor muscles, how those muscles work, increase your child’s body awareness to the need to have a bowel movement, and how to properly coordinate the muscles during bowel movements. In addition to helping your child and you understand the muscles involved in controlling constipation, therapy will also review things such as proper potty posture to allow full relaxation of pelvic floor muscle and prevent increased pain during bowel movements as well as a review of diet changes that allow your child to be more mindful of choices in the future to help reduce constipation.
Pediatric pelvic floor therapy also assists with addressing daytime and nighttime wetting (bedwetting) that maybe associated with constipation or other causes. Search your local area for physical therapist’s who specialize in pediatric pelvic floor dysfunction. Then speak to your child’s pediatrician regarding his or her bowel and bladder function and ask for a physical therapy evaluation and treatment for pelvic floor dysfunction in relation to constipation or urinary incontinence.