Pelvic Floor Exercises / Biofeedback

The bladder is a hollow organ in the lower abdomen that stores urine. When the bladder is full and needs to empty, it will contract or squeeze. The sphincter muscle, or the “bladder door,” will relax and open. Urine will then flow smoothly out of the bladder. This is how the bladder empties.  

When a child is unable to relax the sphincter muscle, the urine stream will be very weak. As a result, the bladder will not empty completely and the child will develop dysfunctional voiding. Symptoms of dysfunctional voiding include urinary tract infections, urinary frequency, urgency and wetting accidents. 

Dysfunctional voiding or urinating is a learned behavior. Pelvic floor exercises can help your child to be more aware of the sphincter muscle in the pelvic area. This therapy trains your child to relax the sphincter muscle when urinating so that the bladder will empty better.

Pelvic floor exercises are safe and have no side effects. The exercises do not hurt, and there are no needles involved.

  • A urologist or nurse practitioner can recommend pelvic floor exercises for your child.
  • A trained nurse or nurse practitioner teaches pelvic floor exercises.
  • The pelvic floor exercise sessions are done in an outpatient clinic.
  • Usually your child will need to come to four to five appointments. These appointments are about two hours long.

What can my child expect during pelvic floor exercises?

During the sessions, your child will learn special exercises. Small sticker pads are placed on your child's buttocks. These pads record muscle activity on a computer during the exercises. Your child will be able to see the results (feedback) of the exercises on the computer screen. He or she will perform the exercise while playing games on the computer.

Your child will also need to urinate in a special toilet. This is called a uroflow test. This special toilet can record how well the urine stream is flowing

Your child should always wear loose, comfortable clothing when coming for the sessions. Also it is very important for the child to come with a full bladder. One hour prior to the visit it is recommended that your child drink:

    • 3-6 years old: One 8-ounce glass of liquid; no milk or soda pop 
    • 6-12 years old: Two 8-ounce glasses of liquid; no milk or soda pop 
    • Adolescents: Three 8-ounce glasses of liquid; no milk or soda pop 

What is the parent’s role with pelvic floor exercises?

Children doing pelvic floor exercises need their parents to help and support them. The more a child can practice the exercises, the quicker he or she will learn to relax the muscles correctly.

  1. Your child will be taught special exercises to do at home. Parents will need to allow time at home for their child to do these exercises.
  2. Tracking the exercises on a chart is very helpful.
  3. Your child should urinate every two hours.
  4. It is also very important for your child to have a soft bowel movement every day. It may be necessary for your child to be on a stool softener.  You will need to keep a daily bowel diary.
  5. For your child to succeed with pelvic floor exercises, it is important to follow these instructions. 

Last Updated 02/2014