New Center offers relief from bedwetting for children
As children age, issues such as bedwetting or urinary leakage can be stressful for both parents and children. According to John Connor, MD, director of pediatric urology for Goryeb Children’s Hospital, urologic conditions impact at least 5 percent of children. He says signs to look for include “children who are toilet trained but suddenly start to wet day and night for no apparent reason, children who suddenly start going to the bathroom more than is normal for them, or children who become constipated for no reason.”
To address urologic issues in children, Atlantic Health System has opened the first Voiding Dysfunction Center in the state. “There are a lot of times when wetting or constipation can be symptoms of something else, so we have a multispecialty approach, which will include support from gastroenterologists,” says Dr. Connor. The new center has advanced technology for diagnosing and treating children, using methods such as urodynamics and biofeedback. Dr. Connor has welcomed a new partner, Michaella Prasad, MD, and two nurse practitioners who will be helping to care for these patients as well.
Dr. Connor says wetting occurs in children due to over activity of the sphincter muscle when learning to toilet train. “They’re not fully relaxing their control muscle and that causes the bladder muscle to thicken so it doesn’t store as well. That’s something that can be treated easily and noninvasively with biofeedback.”
To identify the cause of voiding issues, doctors conduct screening tests using a noninvasive technique called an electromyography (EMG) uroflow test to measure bladder pressure. “In 80 percent of kids, that is all they’ll need,” says Dr. Connor. “Biofeedback is also a way to retrain the bladder so it empties fully each time. We use a special child-friendly computer program that shows us with cartoon characters when they are relaxing their sphincter muscle properly.”
According to Dr. Connor, voiding dysfunction has “a huge social impact on their lives. They can’t do sleepovers. They are embarrassed among their peers. It’s a huge win for them to get full control and no longer wet in school or at night. From a self-esteem standpoint, correcting the voiding issue is a plus for children.”