Helping Children Gain Control

By Salha Mishaan


Incontinence is usually thought of as a condition strictly limited to the elderly, or at the very least those who are “older.” We rarely think of children having to deal with incontinence. But, in some cases of Spina Bifida, Traumatic Brain Injury and Neuromuscular Diseases, incontinence is part of daily life, part of growing up.
According to the Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus, children with these diseases can learn to control their bladder and bowel by working out a routine of evacuation.

Today’s medical technology has provided children as well as adults with assistance in bladder evacuation. These include the use of a Clean Intermittent Catheterization (CIC), which is a tube the child can use every three to four hours. An Indwelling Catheter continuously in the bladder and the urine simply drains into a bag.

Today there are also medicines and a variety of surgical procedures available to assist children in maintaining bladder continence. Surprisingly, the Kegel's exercises which women have been instructed to practice for urinary incontinence has also been shown to be effective in assisting young girls as well. Speak to your continence advisor about these exercises. To develop more control over bowel incontinence, a doctor can prescribe enemas. Speak with your doctor about how to provide the most effective enemas, and preventing or at least limiting unplanned evacuations. Medicines are also available as are surgical procedures.
To assist your child’s body in more easy and routine bowel evacuation, have your child drink lots of liquids. Stay clear of caffeine (including teas and sodas). Liquids help flush the system and soften the fecal matter. Cranberry juice is good for the bladder as well as easing the bowel evacuation.

Your child should also eat a lot of fresh fruits, vegetable, and cereals. Exercise will help the body as a while stay in better shape, but in terms of controlling continence, it will assist in more controlled bowel evacuations as well. Exercise helps to keep a bowel fit!

In creating a routine for your child to follow, and hopefully for your child’s body to adapt to, meals should be eaten at the same time each day. Bladder and bowel emptying should be regularly scheduled as well.

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