Pediatric Bladder Physical Therapist Near Grand Rapids, Michigan

pediatric bladder physical therapy

You Have Found The Top Pediatric Bladder Physical Therapist in Grand Rapids, Michigan!

Pediatric bladder physical therapy is a specialty within the field of PT that helps kiddos learn how to control their bladder & bowels.

Many parents ask us what is pediatric bladder physical therapy?  Well, most moms have some awareness of pelvic floor dysfunction that can occur following pregnancy.  All people have these same pelvic floor muscles and some kids have trouble developing the proper mechanics of bladder and bowel control.  Pediatric bladder physical therapy is an effective treatment that helps kids learn how to control their bladder.   In contrast to adult-based treatment that often involves internal work to the pelvic floor, with children all treatment is external.  We commonly use biofeedback, exercises, body awareness training, practicing of toileting postures and techniques and play based education for your child and you to help recover control.  We also may have you and your child keep a bladder and bowel log so we and you can better track progress and habits.  The goal of bladder training is for your child to become aware of their bladder, to learn how to control their pelvic floor muscles and to be congnizant of their body’s urges to urinate.  When these things are accomplished, your child will demonstrate improved mastery of their bladder.  We use age-appropriate games, exercises, hands-on methods and education to teach your child how the bladder and bowel function and malfunction. We also encourage regular timed voiding and predictable habits so your child’s body and brain can learn to control their bladder.   Our pediatric bladder physical therapist here in Grand Rapids can help you and your child gain confidence and capacity to resolve incontinence.   The International Children’s Continence Society has developed a toilet training booklet that you may find a useful tool to help your child learn some of these skills.  Here is a link

My Child Has Occasional Bladder Leakage.  How Do I Know if It is a Problem?

Our founder, Dr. Maureen O’Keefe, DPT, has helped counsel many families and friends with regard to this very question.   We find it is helpful to point you in the direction of the diagnostic criteria for pediatric incontinence. After all, it takes kids some time to learn bladder and bowel control, so it may be normal upto a point.  In general, the cutoff age for being dry with your bladder, as defined by The International Children’s Continence Society (ICCS) is 5 years old.  The ICCS classifies childhood incontinence as either Intermittent (the more common form) or Continuous (often their is an anatomic or neurologic contributing factors with continuous loss of urine).   A 5 year old child who is still experiencing urinary incontinence from time to time would fall under the diagnostic category of Intermittent incontinence. as defined by the International Children’s Continence Society.  There are further classifiction of a child having either night time (enuresis) incontinence or daytime wetting.   Finally, kids are assessed for having Primary incontinence (meaning they have never been able to control urine at all times) or Secondary incontinence (meaning incontinence occurs after at least a 6 month period of dryness).

Purple Mountain Physical Therapy  offers full-spectrum pelvic health physical therapy services for adults and children.  Our pediatric bladder physical therapist, Dr. Katharine Cline, DPT, treats patients at our clinic in Grand Rapids and has advanced training and years of experience helping kids improve their bladder and bowel control.

Our pediatric bladder physical therapist, right here in Grand Rapids, will meet you and your child and immediately create a welcoming and uplifting environment for you to begin your treatment.

What Does A Typical Pediatric Bladder Physical Therapy in Grand Rapids Include?

We start with an evaluation of your child and your child’s development.  Parents and your child will be asked about their food preferences, exercise and activity levels, and bladder and bowel habits.  We will also learn about your child’s development and any challenges your child may be experiencing in a school or preschool setting, such as speech, motor or social challenges.  Dr. Cline works to gain your child’s trust and buy-in.  Her approach is firm, age-appropriate and also compassionate and fun.  Parents tell her that their child’s confidence improves and social anxiety eases when the bladder and bowel functions have been mastered.  We know that childhood incontinence is common.  In fact, a study in the UK found that 15.5% of kids who are 7 1/2 years old have nighttime bedwetting (enuresis).  As kids got older, these rates decreased but you may be surprised to learn that in adults the rates remained 0.5%-1%.  Daytime bladder leakage was found to be 15% of 4 1/2 year olds and 5% in 9 1/2 year old kids.

Does Your Child also have Behavioral or Emotional Problems?  Our Pediatric Bladder Physical Therapist Understands that Your Family Needs Support

While some kiddos may outgrow this problem on their own, not everyone does, so you shouldn’t delay getting expert care.   Children who have bladder control disorders also have been found to have emotional or behavioral disorders at a higher rate than those kids who do not have bladder control problems.  20-30% of kids with noctural enuresis (bedwetting) and 20-40% with daytime urinary leakage  have emotional or behavioral disorders.  The rates of emotional and behavioral disorders go higher if your child has fecal incontinence, with 30-50% of kids with fecal incontinence meeting the criteria for psychiatric disorders.  Parents we know you love your kids and you want them to be able to have fun, without anxiety, without emotional outbursts, without struggling with their bladder and bowel control.  We also know that you parents need support.  Our expert pediatric bladder physical therapist is here for you, too.  We support you and your child so that the worry and stress of bladder and bowel control is not solely on your shoulders.   If your child experiences bladder leakage and social anxiety, fear of going to a friend’s home and difficulty with going to school, we have found and parents have noted that these social anxiety symptoms improve as bladder and bowel mastery is achieved.  Our pediatric bladder physical therapist understands the psychological stresses that often accompany bladder control problems and you can rest assured that you and your child will receive compassionate, positive and uplifting care that renders  your child feeling empowered and more confident.

Constipation Must Be Addressed and Treated First and Throughout Incontinence Therapy

We find that many of our pediatric patients come to us with a longtime history of chronic constipation.  Quite often the kids just haven’t “tuned into” their body’s signals that tell them they should defecate or they may have dyssynergic defecation, a problem with coordinating their pelvic floor muscles properly to allow for defecation.  Even if your child’s primary problem is bladder related, you can expect we will first be addressing their bowel regularity.  Our experience and research has shown us that we must get the bowels regular if we want to optimize kids’ bladder control.

Dr. Katharine Cline, DPT, our pediatric bladder physical therapist, uses a combination of play based exercises and gentle, external hands-on treatments to help your child improve their bladder and bowel control.  We use biofeedback so that your child can learn how to better coordinate and listen to their body’s muscles.  Parents are included in all treatments so that you learn how to best support your child.

We are so fortunate to be able to provide pediatric bladder physical therapy right here in Grand Rapids.  Parents have told us that they have searched for a highly qualified pelvic physical therapist for their child, but couldn’t find anyone for whom this is their specialty.  With Purple Mountain PT, rest assured, you have found a pediatric bladder physical therapist who is laser focused on pelvic health care. Our doctors of physical therapy have advanced training in bladder developmental stages, optimal bowel function, dyssynergic defecation, chronic constipation, pelvic floor dysfunction, bedwetting and urinary urgency and frequency.  We know how to help your child learn to control their bladder and their bowels.  We begin pediatric bladder physical therapy in Grand Rapids at our Purple Mountain PT clinic, located in Cascade near the I-96 and Cascade Rd exit.  Our private and bright, sunny treatment rooms provide a welcoming and easy to find place for your child to receive care.  The first step is to schedule an evaluation with our pediatric bladder physical therapist, Dr. Katharine Cline.  You can call us here to get started.


Dr. Maureen O’Keefe, DPT & The Purple Mountain Team