The term "biofeedback" describes a treatment process that uses a computer to measure, record, and display (or feed back) information about body processes. The patient is first taught about a body response such as muscle tension, observes their own body's ability for muscles to contract and relax, and then learns to control these body processes on their own. The muscles measured will be those used for adequate urine flow and bladder emptying.
The purpose of learning biofeedback is to better understand how the body works and how to control it in healthier ways. Biofeedback is done with computer sensors attached to the skin. The computer provides information through different displays that the child can see and hear. Children choose the display methods or "feedback" they like and that are most helpful to them. The child practices the way he or she would learn to play a new video game and uses the biofeedback to learn how to control the muscles.
What is involved in the biofeedback training session?
Special stickers will be placed on the child's bottom to record muscle activity on a computer screen. The child is fully clothed and a reclining chair will help the child to relax. The child will be asked to urinate into a special machine called a uroflow. This computer measures how much and how fast urine is produced. Sticky patches are placed on the child's bottom to measure sphincter muscle activity while urinating. After urinating, an ultrasound probe is gently placed on the skin above the bladder to see how much urine is left after urinating.
How long does the biofeedback treatment process take?
Once children understand how their body works, teaching them to control it can be learned quickly. In most cases, the basic techniques can be learned in 2 to 5 sessions. However, just like learning any new skill, biofeedback techniques must be practiced often until they become automatic. The more and longer a person practices these skills, the better they will become at applying them easily and successfully.
How can parents help?
Parents are very important as coaches at home. Parents may help their track their progress on a chart and help their child with homework exercises. Giving your child encouragement is very important.