Urinary Biofeedback

Also known as: pelvic floor retraining.

What is Urinary Biofeedback or Pelvic Floor Retraining?

Biofeedback is a technique children are taught to identify and properly relax their urinary sphincter muscle when urinating, as well as to contract the muscle effectively to maintain normal urinary control.

Biofeedback is effective in many children who:

  • Do not empty their bladders completely

  • Strain to urinate

  • Have recurrent urinary tract infections

  • Experience periods of urgency to urinate

  • Continue to wet despite other therapies


How is the Urinary Biofeedback procedure performed?

A set of sensors (sticky patches) that detect muscle activity are placed on your child's buttocks near the sphincter area. The sensors are attached to a small computer that records the signals from the sensors and presents them on the computer screen for you and your child to see.

The signals change as your child contracts and relaxes the sphincter muscle. This begins the process of isolating the sphincter muscle and understanding how to properly relax the muscle. The placement of the sensors and the recordings into the computer are not painful.

No electric pulses are felt by the patient.

Other Tests during Biofeedback

In order to better assess the way your child empties his or her bladder, an ultrasound scan of the bladder is performed to measure the volume of urine at the beginning of the session and the amount left inside after urination. Also, an uroflowmetry test (voiding into a special commode) is performed to evaluate urine flow and pelvic floor activity.

It is important that your child arrives for the biofeedback session with a full bladder. To do this, have the child drink clear liquid for one hour prior to the session. Children under 7 years of age should drink at least two cups of water (16 oz). Children over 7 years of age should drink at least four to five cups of water (32-40 oz).

Food and Drinks to Avoid Before the Procedure

Your child should avoid:

  • Drinks with Caffeine (iced tea, soda, coffee)

  • Carbonated drinks (soda, seltzer)

  • Citric juices (orange, lemonade) and fruits

  • Chocolate

  • Dairy products (milk, cheese, ice cream)

Bowel Habits

Constipation affects relaxation of the pelvic floor muscles. Even if your child has a daily bowel movement, they may be holding large amounts of stool in the colon, which can affect pelvic relaxation. Encourage your child to have a bowel movement prior to the biofeedback session.

Reviewed by: Mariarita Salvitti, MD

This page was last updated on: January 21, 2022 10:42 AM