(03) 977 5977
249 Papanui Road, Level 1, Milford Chambers,St Georges Hospital site,Christchurch, 8014 [See map]

Women's Pelvic Health Conditions

Bladder Issues

Urinary incontinence: (there are two main types)

Stress Urinary Incontinence:
Symptoms; leaking urine with coughing, sneezing, laughing, exercise or any sudden movement. Increased mobility of the urethra (bladder outlet) and weak pelvic floor muscles are the most common causes. Maree will assess your pelvic floor and determine whether a specific pelvic floor muscle strength training programme is right for you.

Urge Incontinence:
Symptoms; a sudden strong urge to pass urine and leaking urine before you reach the toilet. This can be a symptom that follows on from urgency and frequency type symptoms. Urgency, frequency, nocturia (getting up at night), increased sensation to pass urine. These symptoms can be extremely bothersome even if leakage does not occur. They can lead to increased anxiety about where toilets are and fatigue from broken sleep. The reasons for these symptoms can be more varied. Common causes can be too much caffeine, hypertonic (tight) or hypotonic (weak) pelvic floor muscles or increased anxiety. Maree will assess you to determine the right management plan for you. This may include urge suppression techniques, fluid modification, behavioural changes or manual 'hands on' physiotherapy treatments to help your bladder to be calm.

Difficulty passing urine:
This is less common in women but can cause increasing anxiety and distress. It can often be managed through physiotherapy techniques which ensure muscles of the pelvic floor and abdomen are relaxed. Maree will assess you and determine whether physiotherapy first is right for you. In some cases a referral to a urologist may be required.

Bowel Issues

Faecal Incontinence:
Symptoms; Leakage of faeces or uncontrolled flatus (wind). The causes of faecal incontinence can be complex and requires a careful assessment. Maree will assess you and determine the correct management programme which is likely to include pelvic floor muscle exercises. In many cases physiotherapy techniques are all that are required but if necessary, Maree will be able to refer you to a colorectal surgeon for further management.

Obstructed defaecation:
Symptoms; Difficulty passing a bowel motion. Causes of this can be a result of damaged pelvic floor muscles and ligaments supporting the rectum and pelvic floor or from muscles that are too tight or hyperactive. Affects associated with obstructed defaecation may be constipation or pelvic organ prolapse. Maree will assess you and prescribe a management programme that may involve pelvic floor muscle exercises, manual techniques to relax pelvic floor muscles, techniques to improve bowel emptying and advice on lifestyle changes.

Pelvic Organ Prolapse:

Symptoms of a prolapse may be a bulge protruding through the vagina or a heavy feeling in the pelvic floor which is relieved when lying down. Damage to supporting ligaments and weakness of the pelvic floor muscles may cause the bladder, uterus or rectum to bulge downward into the vagina. A rectal prolapse is when the lining of the rectum bulges down towards the anal canal and sometimes will protrude through the anus. Maree will assess you to determine if you have a prolapse and to what degree. Physiotherapy is often the only management required with pelvic floor muscle exercises, prevention measures, changing toileting techniques, postural correction and lifestyle changes.

Pelvic Pain Issues

The causes of Pelvic Pain can be complex and require careful assessment in order to manage correctly. Physiotherapy is fast becoming recognised as having an integral part to play in the management and treatment of pelvic pain. In some pain conditions a medical review may be required to eliminate any underlying pathology. Maree will advise you if this is necessary.

Symptoms of pelvic pain in women may include;

  • Discomfort in the bladder
  • Pain passing urine
  • Dyspareunia (pain with sexual intercourse)
  • Pain in the pelvic floor when sitting
  • Pain passing a bowel motion
  • Pain in the rectum
  • Pain in the buttock area or pelvic joints
  • Pain in the lower abdomen

Common conditions of pelvic pain that physiotherapy can assist in managing are;

  • Bladder Pain Syndrome (Painful Bladder Syndrome, Interstitial Cystitis) This is a group of symptoms that include bladder pain, urgency and frequency to urinate.
  • Vulvodynia (pain in the vulvar)
  • Vaginismus (tight pelvic floor muscles)
  • Pudendal Neuralgia (This is when the Pudendal Nerve to the pelvic floor becomes irritated causing wide ranging pain symptoms in the pelvic floor and genitals. Some triggers may include cycling, excessive squatting exercises, hypertonic pelvic floor muscles, pelvic joint dysfunction )
  • Endometriosis
  • Over-activity in muscles of the pelvis including the hips and abdomen.
  • Pelvic Joint dysfunction (Sacroiliac Joints, Pubic Symphysis Joint)

Maree will assess and advise you on a management programme. In some cases this may involve other health professionals as a multi-team approach is often required. Physiotherapy techniques that Maree may use to help you overcome your pain symptoms include myofascial techniques to the pelvic floor and abdomen, postural correction, specific exercises and stretches, breathing pattern correction and EMG biofeedback.

Surgical (urological, gynaecological, colorectal)

Physiotherapy is recommended before any surgery that is to correct urinary or faecal incontinence or prolapse. Research shows that pelvic floor muscles that are strong and function correctly decrease the risk of reoccurring symptoms. In many cases surgery is not required as physiotherapy alone can resolve symptoms. If you know you do need to have surgery, Maree will assess your pelvic floor muscle function and get you started on an exercise programme. She will also give you advice on post surgery recovery.

Physiotherapy following surgery is recommended to ensure a full rehabilitation and successful outcome. Maree will give you guidelines on a safe return to daily activity and general exercise as well as progress your pelvic floor muscle exercise programme.


Common post-partum issues are as follows;

  • Back pain, upper or lower
  • Pelvic joint pain
  • Abdominal muscle separation (rectus diastasis)
  • Abdominal and pelvic floor muscle weakness
  • Perineal pain (pelvic floor pain)
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Faecal incontinence including uncontrollable flatus (wind)
  • Vaginal prolapse
  • Obstructed defaecation (difficulty passing a bowel motion)
  • Dyspareunia (painful intercourse)

Maree will assess you and give an appropriate management plan to assist your recovery. This will include education and advice on �pelvic floor safe' exercise to prevent or lessen incontinence, vaginal prolapse or pelvic joint pain. Treatment may include physiotherapy techniques to reduce pain, scar release (caesarean section scar, episiotomy scar), a support belt, tailored exercise programme, postural correction and education on correct toileting position and lifestyle advice.

Maree Frost Physiotherapy

For more information about conditions treated, please see:

Women’s Pelvic Health
Men’s Pelvic Health.

Womens Pelvic Health
Womens Health
Maree specialises in assessing and treating womens health problems, for example, bladder issues, antenatal, postnatal, surgical and many more.
Mens Pelvic Health
Mens Health
Maree is also an expert at treating mens health problems including issues affecting; the bladder, the bowel and pelvic pain.

Pelvic Pain
Pelvic Pain
Maree treats a range of conditions causing pain around the pelvis. Find out more...

Bladder Issues
Bladder Issues
'Two common types of bladder complaint are Stress Urinary Incontinence and Urge Incontinence.

Bowel Issues
Bowel Issues
'Common complaints can be Faecal Incontinence or Obstructed Defaecation (difficulty passing a bowel motion).