Women's Health

Lesley Coffey is our physiotherapist with a special interest in Women’s Health. She lives in Ashburton and is originally from Northern Ireland. She has worked in private practice for eight years, and has a passion for biomechanical injuries and Pilates rehabilitation. Lesley has trained in Pregnancy Pilates, as well as physiotherapy pre and post pregnancy. She has developed a very special interest in Women’s Health Physiotherapy and how she can help women with their ‘down below’ issues.

The pelvic floor is one of the most important muscles in the body; it is the foundation of your core stabilizers. Many people have no idea where it is or how to use it. We hear everyday that ‘engaging your core’ or ‘bracing you tummy muscles’ is good exercises and sore backs but does anyone actually do it right??

A weakness in the pelvic floor can lead to back and pelvic pain, pelvic organ prolapses, bowl and bladder incontinence. At least 1.1 million New Zealanders and 1 in 3 women after having babies will have some form of bladder incontinence. An estimated 50% of women who have given birth will have some degree of a prolapsed (the bladder, uterus or rectum drops from its normal position). This can be uncomfortable and even lead to incontinence. BUT many people do not seek help for these problems as they are too embarrassed and believe nothing can be done to help.

Signs of a pelvic floor dysfunction

  •          Leaking urine when you laugh, cough, sneeze or exercise
  •          Rushing to the toilet and possibly not making it in time
  •          Needing the toilet during the middle of the night
  •          Difficultly completely emptying the bladder
  •        Feeling like you have not completely emptied the bladder
  •          A feeling of heaviness, or a dragging sensation in the pelvis or vagina
  •          Pain in the lower abdomen, groin or pelvic area
  •          Constipation and difficulty emptying the bowls

What about during pregnancy?

The body goes through a lot of changes with pregnancy. The added weight of a baby will put strain on your body, especially your back, pelvic and abdominal muscles. During childbirth the pelvic floor is stretched and placed under a lot of strain, and you may even suffer from tears in the tissue and muscles that need stitches. Physiotherapy can help when you are pregnant, and also after birth to manage pain, strengthen muscles and get the pelvic floor working again correctly.

With her knowledge of Women’s Health Physiotherapy, Pilates and Sports Physiotherapy, Lesley can assess your symptoms, get an accurate diagnosis and get a treatment plan in place to help manage your pelvic floor dysfunction. Whatever you plan on getting back to from walking to running to cycling or just have relief from your symptoms, Lesley is here to help.