Corinne Austin | Personal Training

Women’s Health & The Pelvic Floor

At Fit Fix, all four of our Personal Trainers and Fitness Specialists are Mums AND have completed qualifications in Pelvic Floor Education and post-natal Abdominal Rehab.  We promote exercises that are safe and effective for postnatal women, and understand how to apply pelvic floor safe exercises in our training sessions.  We thoroughly enjoy helping women re-establish strength in their abdominals and core region following pregnancy and into their new chapter as a mum.

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Fortunately, in Whangarei, we are lucky to have the expertise of two women’s health physiotherapist’s who specialise in the pelvic floor and women’s health.  Shelley Solomon at Freshstart Physiotherapy has extensive qualifications in women’s health; pelvic floor, continence and pelvic pain issues in men,women and children..  Shelley is an experienced physiotherapist who specialises in the treatment of:

    • bladder and bowel issues
    • pelvic organ prolapse
    • pelvic pain conditions
    • sexual pain and sexual dysfunction
    • pregnancy and postnatal musculoskeletal issues
    • breast, gynaecological, urological, colorectal and prostate pre and post-operative needs
    • Children/teenagers with bladder/bowel issues or pelvic pain.

    With a huge level of experience behind her, from her work in both New Zealand and in London, Shelley is available to work with clients in Northland at her clinics in Whangarei, Kerikeri and Mangawhai

    “I find it hugely satisfying helping my patients, both women and men. A lot of patients put up with an issue for a lot longer than they need to – often years. By coming to see me I can help them. Being able to prevent it happening again or making it more manageable, you can greatly improve their quality of life.”


How do you know if your Pelvic Floor needs attention? Image result for pelvic floor funny

These days, having ‘light bladder weakness’ is being normalised by the likes of Panty Liner advertisements. One in three women have some kind of incontinence issue, which derives from having weak Pelvic Floor muscles. Despite it being more common in women, men can get it too. Pelvic Floor muscles become stretched and weakened from pregnancy and birth, from hormonal changes pre-and post-menopause, or from being overweight or obese. Like all other muscles in our body, these muscles will not become stronger or more toned unless you exercise them.

In technical terms the ‘core’ is actually only four muscles – it is your Diaphragm, your Multifidus (a lower back muscle), your Transverse Abdominis (your deepest abdominal muscle), and your Pelvic Floor (a group of lots of little muscles). It is not (contrary to popular belief) all the other abdominal muscles used to do crunches etc.  Just like the core of the apple is hidden on the inside, so is the core of the human body. The latter three muscles are on the same neurological reflex loop, which means if one of them is weak or not functioning effectively, then the others won’t be either.

The good news – weak pelvic floor muscles can (and should) be fixed just by doing regular, daily, Pelvic Floor exercises. Failure to do pelvic floor exercises to fix light bladder weakness could possibly lead to a pelvic organ prolapse or other more extreme conditions requiring surgery or medical intervention.

The pelvic floor muscles typically have a couple of roles.  They support the bladder, uterus, and rectum; assist in bladder and bowel functioning; contribute to sexual arousal and function; and they help to stabilise the pelvis and lower parts of the spine.  The pelvic floor, therefore, is vital in pregnancy as it significantly contributes to the support of your baby.  If a weakness occurs, pregnancy or post-natal women will often experience a leakage of urine during downward pressure on the bladder – for example when you laugh, cough, sneeze or exercise.

Signs and Symptoms of Pelvic Floor weakness:

  • Leakage occurs at any sign of coughing, sneezing, or laughing
  • You may have issues controlling wind
  • You may experience decreased sexual sensation
  • There may be increased urgency to visit the toilet
  • It can feel as though you haven’t entirely emptied your bowel


Image result for pelvic floor funnyNever feel embarrassed about any pelvic floor problem you think you may have. If you feel you need to chat to somebody, then please do.

There are Woman’s Health Physiotherapist’s at many locations around the country – these folk are trained to assess and fix these types of issues. Make them one of your first ports of call.

The bottom line is that you cannot fix this problem by applying a band-aid.  It is a serious problem that requires self rehabilitation in it’s early stages, or consultation with a Women’s Health Professional like Shelley Solomon at Freshstart Physiotherapy. Contact Shelley HERE.