Pediatric Bowel Management Program

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The UF Health Pediatric Bowel Management Program is the only comprehensive multidisciplinary established program in North Central Florida that is designed to provide care and treatment options for all children born with congenital anomalies that make it difficult to anticipate or control their bowel activity. In addition, children who have difficulty with severe constipation or difficulty with bowel movements can be helped.

While treatment options vary, our UF Health board-certified and fellowship-trained pediatric surgeons and specialized nurse practitioners are proud to offer a comprehensive array of therapies that are individualized for patients based on their unique needs. Treatments start with a comprehensive assessment of the patient and the issues, followed by evaluation of dietary habits. Appropriate radiologic and functional testing is used. Individualized treatment plans include enema-based programs, antegrade continence enemas, pelvic floor physical therapy and sacral nerve stimulation, or SNS, for patients suffering from fecal incontinence.

Children face bowel management issues from a variety of causes, such as:

  • Anorectal malformations/imperforate anus
  • Cloacal exstrophy
  • Connective tissue disorders
  • Fetal incontinence
  • Fistula-in-ano
  • Hirschsprung's disease
  • Idiopathic constipation
  • Neural tube defects (spina bifida)
  • Neurogenic bowel
  • Slow transit motility

The key to successful bowel management is dedication, timing and teamwork between the patient, families and medical team. Each child's outcome will depend on the severity of their condition. Through the utilization of dietary modifications, laxatives and/or enemas, bowel control can be achieved in most children.

Sacral Nerve Stimulation

UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital is one of a select number of children’s hospitals in the nation to offer SNS for lower gastrointestinal motility issues, as well as fecal and urinary incontinence. With SNS, our pediatric surgeons implant a device that sends a low-voltage electrical current to the sacral nerve, which affects the bladder, bowel and pelvic floor. The implant stimulates the sacral nerve to manage incontinence. However, it does not cure it.

At UF Health, the bowel management team includes pediatric surgeons Saleem Islam, MD, MPH and Robin Petroze, MD, MPH, along with nurse practitioner Erin Murray, APRN.

Meet Dr. Saleem Islam, Chief of Pediatric Surgery

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