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Women’s Health

Women’s health has become a specialty in physiotherapy.  Main areas include:
  • Continence
  • Pelvic muscle strengthening for pain and bladder weakness.
  • Pregnancy
  • Strengthening and exercise advice especially while you are pregnant
  • Therapeutic ultrasound treatment for mastitis, engorgement or blocked milk duct

Continence and Pelvic Floor

Are you having difficulties with your bladder? bladder weakness and in continence is common amongst women especial before or after pregnancy or in the elderly. Your physiotherapist can help you with your weak pelvic muscles or overactive pelvic muscles that can cause pain. Please see your physio or doctor to ask if this treatment can help you.

How Physiotherapy Can Help While You Are Pregnant

Amongst other injuries the most common complaint is lower back and pelvis pain.  The main two factors contributing to this are the increased lumbar lordosis and ligament laxity that occur during pregnancy.  Your physiotherapist can assist you with the treatment of these and give you strengthening to help reduce the load on your joints that are creating pain. We can help with getting you braces/supports if needed that and can help with lumbar and pelvis pain.

Exercise During Pregnancy

Exercise can be safe while you are pregnant if you follow the guidelines that have been given, your physiotherapist can teach you these guidelines and give you safe exercises to do, including showing you water aerobics.  Exercise done in the water have other benefits including having advantageous effects on oedema, thermal regulation, and buoyancy, thus minimising the risk of joint injuries.  No adverse effect on fetus has been reported during water exercise. Keeping strong and fit will help you reduce your injuries and pain you experience while constantly lifting and carrying your children.  Exercising can be made easy and can be done while sitting or lying down, we know mums are busy.

Clearing The Way For Effective Breast Feeding

Treatment Of Mastitis And Engorgement With Ultrasound

Your physiotherapist can assist you with the treatment of mastitis, engorgement of the breast. Using ultrasound has been shown to be effective in the treatment of a blocked milk duct,
engorgement and mastitis.  If you have woken up feeling unwell and/or have a fever we ask you see your doctor and start antibiotics before we start ultrasound treatment.  This can be on the same day if you haven’t got a fever yet.  From experience most women will need only 1-2 treatments using ultrasound for mastitis.

Breast Engorgement

Breast engorgement is the overfilling of the breast milk that’s causes discomfort and pain to the mother. It occurs if the baby removes less milk from the breast when feeding than the
amount that the mother produces.  Inadequate emptying of breasts can also result in problems such as plugged milk ducts, breast infection and insufficient milk supply.  If the blockage is not cleared it can lead to mastitis, abscess, and breast feeding cessation.


Mastitis is inflammation of the breast due to milk duct blockage, causing an infection in the breast.

  • Symptoms- A hot, tender spot or lumb, localised to one of the lobes within the breast, indicating a blocked duct. Fever, chills, body aches, flu-like symptoms. Involved breast area is extremely painful, pink, hot and swollen.
  • Signs- redness appearing as a flare on the surface of the breast, often in a triangular shape pointing towards the nipple. Enlargement or swelling of part of the breast may be observed.
  • If there is signs of infection (fever, body aches, flu like symptoms, very hot, inflamed breast) then refer to doctor first as antibiotics are used early in the infection and research shows it should be used for 10-14 days.
  • Breast feeding should continue throughout episodes of mastitis as stopping breastfeeding can cause engorgement, which may contribute to abscess formation.
  • Risk factors:
    • Blocked milk duct/milk stasis; lumpy area indicating the breast is not being emptied well
    • Oversupply in the early weeks, while the milk supply is adjusting to baby’s needs.
    • Mother being stressed or fatigued
    • Attachment difficulties; mothers who find difficulty latching baby comfortable to both breasts.
    • Previous episode of mastitis
    • Cracked/painful nipples
    • Restriction to the flow of breast milk due to tight bra, ineffective emptying of the breast using a breast pump, or holding the breast with pressure over the underlying ducts.
    • Hurried feeds, or sudden changes in feeding pattern/missed feeds.
    Our goal of treatment is to:

    1. Clear the duct before it progresses to mastitis.

    2. Educate the patient to minimise and clear future blockages.

    Home program and advice
    • We suggest you empty the breast regularly.
    • Please do not stop breast feeding, good drainage of the breast is essential. The baby’s suckling is the most effective method of milk removal.
    • Keep breast feeding from the affected side, and you can start from feeding from the affected breast.
    • Drain the affected area completely (baby’s chin pointing toward blockage)
    • You can apply gentle heat prior to feeds to help with flow and pain.
    • You can manually apply compression or massage the area before and during the feed to help.
    • Increase your rest
    • Drink plenty of water
    • With help with breast feeding and other concurrent issues consult a lactation consultant.