But do you ever think about it? Have you noticed, asked or heard your daughter or son say they pee often or pee when laughing too hard or jumping or during any activity? Have you noticed your child has desk or computer posture or is your child exposed to repetitive strain from a specific sport or activity?
I recently worked with a few teens that wanted stronger abdominals. I asked if they ever leak, they said yes, and so do many of their peers. When I mentioned that was not normal and should be addressed they seemed surprised. They thought it was perfectly normal and just what happens.
My little girl at the age of 4/5 got into the habit of having to go every 5-10 minutes. It got so bad that it ended up running her life – to the point where her teacher mentioned she was not spending much time in class because she was running off to the washroom every few minutes.
I also noticed a sense of anxiety before bedtime with numerous trips to the washroom before she finally settled down. The same anxiety occurred each time we got ready to leave the house. We made many trips to the washroom before we could finally walk out the door.
I took her to the doctor as I thought perhaps she had a UTI or maybe there was something else going on medically. But nope, she was healthy. She had a case of overactive bladder. A tricky one as it involves a big emotional component- anxiety. I used the information I gave my clients on her, and it worked. We untrained the emotional and physical habit in under 3 weeks.
If we set our kids up with better movement, breath and posture patterns and awareness from a young age it will benefit them later in life. I feel very passionate about girls and their view of their bodies and pelvic area. If I can play one small part in helping my daughter and other girls understand their bodies better and appreciate them for all their amazing complexities, I will feel like a winner.
Seeing a physiotherapist that specializes in children is very valuable and so is taking action as a parent. It is not about having perfect kids but rather about giving them the tools that potentially will help prevent pelvic floor dysfunction and make them aware of what to look for and how to deal with it. This lets them know that there are ways to prevent and recondition pelvic floor and core dysfunction.
Kids today spend an average of 8.5 hours a day sitting. This is not ideal at all, apart from all the potential diseases that can be attributed to prolonged sitting, core function is compromised.
Kids often excel in a specific sport or activity and this is great but their young bodies end up performing the same actions repeatedly which can lead to compromised movement patterns and core function. The number of young gymnasts, dancers and soccer players who leak is higher than you would think. The good thing is that we can change this for our kids. I have so often stood by as I watched well intended coaches make kids do crunches and 2 minute planks and bicycle abs with the idea of creating rock hard abdominals, but from the form I see and the bulging bellies I know that hip flexors are being worked and lower lumber spines are being compressed instead, and unwanted pressure is for sure pushing down on their organs and pelvic floors.
We can make them core, breath and movement literate. We can teach our girls and boys what healthy toilet habits are, what good core function feel and look like and why posture is important and what it looks like. We can and should do this to help them preserve their bodies and longevity so our kids can spend less time in pain as they age, and please let’s not raise another generation of girls and women who need to visit the leak proof panty liner aisle.
Leaking is never OK for anyone, and that includes our young girls.
Here are 4 resources available to kids and parents:
1) The Align Method Tween & Teen workshop this summer Click here for details.
2) Kids Physio Group with clinics on Fraser Street, North Vancouver and Surrey. Click here for details
3) Below Your Belt – a great website and app for moms and girls. Click here for details.
4) Julie Wiebe – The Young Athlete. Click here for details.