In today’s episode, Dr. Toni talks with pelvic health physiotherapists Jenna Dobberthien and Helen Lo about some embarrassing, yet common, pelvic floor issues that your kids can experience. They discuss bedwetting, constipation, giggle incontinence and overactive bladder issues, and how specially trained physiotherapists can help parents and kids figure it all out.
Jenna Dobberthien and Helen Lo both graduated with Master’s of Science in Physical Therapy from the University of Alberta, then went on to complete advanced training in pelvic health for women and men and children. Helen is a certified pelvic health physiotherapist. Both Jenna and Helen provide treatment for kids and their parents at Peak Health Kids physiotherapy clinic in Calgary.
In this episode, we cover:
How everyone has pelvic floor muscles to help with core stability, as well as bowel and bladder habits
The development of bladder and bowel control in your kids and what to expect with different age ranges for daytime and nighttime
The importance of using language to eliminate the negativity your kids might feel around bladder and bowel control
You can use the words “leakage” and “wetness” instead of “accidents”
How constipation and genetics can play a role with urinary issues in kids
What a physiotherapy assessment can look like for your kids, depending on the consent of you and your kids
The different types of fun and easy exercises that physiotherapists can give your kids to guide them to use their pelvic floor muscles and diaphragm
How to support your kids to relax and not strain on the toilet
Helen and Jenna (and Dr. Toni) are big fans of the Squatty Potty, or whatever DIY version (stool? garbage can? shoebox?) helps you and your kids to relax and get knees above hips when sitting on the toilet.
Dr. Toni loves the podcast We Can Do Hard Things with Untamed author Glennon Doyle, her wife Abby and sister Amanda, especially 2 recent episodes with author and life coach Martha Beck, and Yale professor Dr. Laurie Santos on happiness.
Thank you for joining us today!
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Stay safe and healthy everyone!
Disclaimer: The information provided in this presentation is not meant to replace treatment with a licensed health care practitioner. It is for informational purposes only. Consult with a Naturopathic Doctor or other licensed health care professional to determine which treatments are safe for you.
In this episode, Dr. Lisa and Dr. Toni talk about the causes and therapies for constipation in you and your kids. They discuss what is expected or ideal with respect to your bowel movements, the causes of constipation, and some tests and treatments to consider if you or your kids are experiencing constipation.
What is constipation?
Generally considered when you have less than 3 bowel movements a week, or discomfort, even you have a daily bowel movement.
As naturopathic doctors, we consider at least 1 bowel movement daily with a Type 4 rating on the Bristol stool chart to be ideal. You want your stool to sink without mucus, blood or undigested food (with the exception of corn).
What are some causes of constipation?
Not enough water
Not enough fibre from veggies and fruit
Lack of movement and proper circulation
Stress, especially in the case of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Travel or another break in your routine
High intake of constipating foods: rice, toast, cooked carrots,unripe bananas
Hypothyroidism or sluggish thyroid function – see Episode 42 for more info
Reduced stomach acid, digestive enzyme and bile flow, often caused by stress and stimulation of sympathetic nervous system response
Gut bacterial imbalance
NSAIDs like ibuprofen and opioid pain killers like Tylenol 3
Hormone imbalance or PMS – constipation then possibly loose stools when your period comes is a common pattern in Traditional Chinese Medicine called Liver Overacting on Spleen
Harmful effects of constipation can include:
Discomfort, bloating, just feeling crappy
Reabsorbing toxins and hormones in your circulation
Megacolon or the abnormal dilation of the colon
Encopresis in kids, which is the uncontrollable leakage of stool
Stool testing through specialized labs, like Comprehensive Stool Analysis or GI-MAP
Small Intestinal Bowel Overgrowth (SIBO) breath test
Common treatments for constipation include:
Restoralax or Miralax, also known as Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) 3350
Adverse effects can include abdominal cramps, diarrhea, bloating, gas, nausea
Potential link to development of tremors, tics and obsessive compulsive behaviour
Contamination with small amounts of ethylene glycol and diethylene glycol
Not meant to be used daily and over the long term
The safety and efficacy of Restoralax for use in children under 18 years of age have not been established
Laxative herbs like senna
Side effects can include developing a dependence causing further constipation and other digestive disturbance, electrolyte imbalance, darkening of your intestinal tract called melanosis coli, finger clubbing, kidney inflammation
What else can you do about constipation?
You can try one or more of the following:
Increase fluid, especially pure water
8 oz (250ml) of water multiplied by age (number of years) up to 2 litres daily
Aim for 19g daily for kids 1-3 years, 25g daily for kids 4-6 years, at least 26 g and up to 31g daily for kids 9-13 years and up to 38g daily for kids over 14 years
Beans or legumes – ½ cup = 6 g fibre
Broccoli and other cooked veggies – ½ cup = 4 g fibre
Apples, pears, berries – ½ cup
Prunes or dates – see Episode 45 for more info on sugar balance
Chia seed pudding
Support stomach acid and digestive enzyme production
Bitter foods and herbs like arugula, dandelion root/greens, artichoke, gentian
Start your kids young with small amounts!
Support gut bacteria with fermented foods or probiotic supplement and prebiotic fibre
Magnesium citrate and vitamin C provides osmotic laxative effect
Start with small amount and use only to bowel tolerance
Support proper anatomical positioning with something like Squatty Potty
Slippery elm found in powder, capsules, lozenges and teas, taken away from medications and other supplements
Other herbs and homeopathy for relaxation
Clockwise on belly
I Love You massage
Can use castor oil for extra relief from discomfort
Pelvic floor physiotherapy for kids with constipation