Child & Family Development Child & Family Development

October 24, 2016

Physical Therapy Focus: Kids & Constipation by Gail Fennimore


October is National Physical Therapy Month and we are celebrating with the APTA #choosePT

Each physical therapist on our staff of 6 will share bit of expertise, including Gail Fennimore MPT PCS C/NDT!

Gail is one of the most experienced and tenured physical therapists at Child and Family Development. In addition to her pediatric clinical specialist (PCS) certification, Gail has specialized training in pelvic floor dysfunction training and offers evaluation and treatment for related conditions. There are specific treatment protocols for children with urinary and fecal incontinence with conditions including:

‚Ä¢   Daytime wetting

‚Ä¢   Urinary frequency

‚Ä¢   Withholding urine

‚Ä¢   Constipation

‚Ä¢   Nighttime wetting

‚Ä¢   Urinary urgency

‚Ä¢   Incomplete emptying

‚Ä¢   Fecal incontinence

Recently, Gail read an article about constipation and the benefits of physical therapy. 

It states that recent research shows that many children with constipation may have an easier time going to the bathroom when potty training is paired with exercises to improve posture and strengthen pelvic muscles.

Researchers focused on 53 school-age kids with what’s known as functional constipation, a common childhood problem that can be caused by psychological or neurological issues. This type of constipation isn’t due to physical or hormonal issues that make bowel movements difficult.  Children with functional constipation may have weak pelvic floor muscles from poor posture or sitting in an awkward, unstable position on an adult-size toilet seat. The pelvic floor muscles work closely with the diaphragm, lower back muscles and abdominal muscles to support the spine and stabilize the digestive system. When the pelvic muscles don’t work optimally, kids can struggle to control bowel movements. 

Kids receiving physical therapy practiced proper posture on the toilet and did exercises to teach awareness of sensations that indicate a need to defecate and effective muscle contracting and relaxing for easier bowel movements.

Read more about Pelvic Floor Dysfunction services here.

Learn more about our physical therapists on our website and our blog.