Last week I met the wonderful Lulu Becker – a Specialist Pediatric and Women’s Health Physio based in Wandsworth Town. As I’m about to enter the world of potty training we started to talk about the best ways to do this, how to instill good toilet habits and what to do when things don’t go to plan. Lulu was so passionate about this area and I was fascinated to learn about the connection between bedwetting, constipation and pelvic floor. Here’s a summary of our chat together.
Why did Lulu become interested in this area?
Lulu comes from a bed wetting family and has experienced firsthand the negative emotional effects that it can have upon a child and so is understandably passionate about helping children to achieve ‘dryness’ as soon as possible.
Toilet training is a big deal as is encouraging good toilet habits – I was totally unaware of the size of the problem. On average, bedwetting is an issue for one in six 5 year olds, one in seven 7 year olds, one in eleven 9 year olds and one in fifty teenagers. Between 10 and 25% of children who wet the bed are also wet during the day.
But while it is relatively common, it remains a rather unspoken and taboo topic at school drop offs and Mummy coffee dates. This is often down to the parents themselves having had a history of bedwetting, and the shame and awkwardness that they felt with regards to it. If you were a bed wetter, there is a 40% chance that your child may wet the bed, and if both parents were bed wetters; there is a 77% chance that the child may wet the bed.
Historically, Pediatricians advised that children would ‘grow out of it’. And they do. But only at a rate of 15% of the bed wetting population per year. The research with regards to bed wetting and the psychological implications it can have upon a child – states (unsurprisingly) that it isn’t great for a child’s psychological or emotional well being.
Traditional medical treatment has involved the restriction of fluid intakes before bed time and the prescription of anti diuretics (to make the kidneys produce less urine) and bed wetting alarms. None of these have had consistently overwhelmingly positive results for the bed wetting population as they ‘wait it out’ to be in the lucky 15% who become dry spontaneously each year.
What Lulu Does
Lulu was trained with the true source of information Dawn Sadalcidi from the USA, who has a special interest in children’s incontinence and bed wetting. Lulu uses Dawn’s approach to really understand the child’s bladder and bowel habits, diet and lifestyle and then helps to retrain the pelvic floor muscles. There are often dietary bladder and bowel irritants that can be identified, She works with the family to educate them about the importance of toileting positions and the ability to completely relax the pelvic floor muscles when they are on the toilet.
Almost every single child who bed wets has associated constipation, so dealing with this is a very important part of the treatment program.
Once full daytime ‘dryness’ has been achieved, a bespoke plan is made for the child to help to retrain the bladder at night time. This protocol has excellent results, if closely adhered to, and helps many children in becoming ‘dry’ faster.
If you’re interested to find out more then Lulu and I are hosting a joint workshop on this at the end of November in Wandsworth – tickets are on sale now.