Pelvic floor rehabilitation in children with functional LUTD: does it improve outcome?

Anka J. Nieuwhof-Leppink*, Frank Jan van Geen, Elise M. van de Putte, Marja A.G.C. Schoenmakers, Tom P.V.M. de Jong, Renske Schappin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


INTRODUCTION: If children do not experience satisfactory relief of lower urinary tract dysfunction (LUTD) complaints after standard urotherapy is provided, other treatment options need to be explored. To date, little is known about the clinical value of pelvic floor rehabilitation in the treatment of functional voiding disorders.

OBJECTIVE: Therefore, we compared pelvic floor rehabilitation by biofeedback with anal balloon expulsion (BABE) to intensive urotherapy in the treatment of children with inadequate pelvic floor control and functional LUTD.

STUDY DESIGN: A retrospective chart study was conducted on children with functional incontinence and inadequate pelvic floor control. All children referred for both intensive inpatient urotherapy and pelvic floor rehabilitation between 2010 and 2018 were considered for inclusion. A total of 52 patients were eligible with 25 children in the group who received BABE before inpatient urotherapy, and 27 children in the group who received BABE subsequently to urotherapy. Main outcome measurement was treatment success according to International Children's Continence Society criteria measured after treatment rounds and follow-up.

RESULTS: Baseline characteristics demonstrate no major differences between the BABE and control group. There was a significant difference in improvement between BABE and inpatient urotherapy after the first and second round of treatment (round 1: BABE vs urotherapy; 12% vs 70%, respectively, round 2: urotherapy vs BABE; 92% vs 34%, respectively, both P < .001). In both cases, the urotherapy group obtained greater results (Fig. 1). When the additional effect of BABE on urotherapy treatment is assessed, no significant difference is found (P = .355) in the children who received BABE; 30 (58%) showed improvement on pelvic floor control.

DISCUSSION: Our findings imply that training pelvic floor control in combination with inpatient urotherapy does not influence treatment effectiveness on incontinence. Intensive urotherapy contains biofeedback by real-time uroflowmetry; children receive direct feedback on their voiding behaviour. Attention offered to the child and achieving cognitive maturity with corresponding behaviour is of paramount importance. It is known that combining several kinds of biofeedback does not enhance the outcome. However, our results do not provide a conclusive answer to the effectiveness of pelvic floor physical therapy in the treatment of children with LUTD because we specifically investigated BABE.

CONCLUSION: In this study, we could not prove that pelvic floor rehabilitation by BABE has an additional effect on inpatient urotherapy on incontinence outcomes. Considering the invasive nature of BABE, the use of BABE to obtain continence should therefore be discouraged.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)530.e1-530.e8
JournalJournal of Pediatric Urology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019


  • Biofeedback
  • LUTD
  • Paediatric
  • Pelvic floor rehabilitation
  • Urinary incontinence


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