Mary ODwyer's blog

Female athlete risk evaluation

I have developed a questionnaire for health and fitness professionals working with female athletes to use as a risk evaluation regarding pelvic muscle function, pain and competence.

To access the form, download it and use it to improve the short and long term pelvic health of female athletes simply go to

Painful pelvic floor muscles & common gynae conditions

Levator myalgia (LM) or painful pelvic floor muscles (PFMs) are caused by a variety of issues: musculo-skeletal or postural issues, PFM injury or inflammatory conditions such as endometriosis and irritable bowel syndrome.

Can pelvic floor muscles be too tight to give birth?

Women should be encouraged to do regular PFM exercises during pregnancy to prevent urinary incontinence1.

Natural Solutions: UTI, Bladder Pain & Vaginal Infections

In my October 2013 newsletter I discuss effective ‘natural’ solutions for treating urinary tract infections (UTIs), bladder pain and vaginal infections. Researchers are looking at a bacterial based vaccine and also a natural sugar to treat the distressing symptoms of burning urinary pain and frequency. Others have developed a probiotic solution for vaginal infections.

What's going to happen to my pelvic floor next time I give birth?

What’s going to happen to my pelvic floor next time I give birth?

This article’s in reply to a reader who developed prolapse after her first baby and now has “many concerns about how my already damaged pelvic floor would cope with another pregnancy and labour”.

Benefits of pelvic floor muscle training

Guidelines from expert committees advise health professionals to prescribe pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT) as a first line treatment option for bladder and bowel dysfunction and pelvic organ prolapse.

Do these recommendations apply to all women?

The Potential of Pessaries

Mentioning the word ‘pessary’ as a treatment option for pelvic organ prolapse (POP) usually brings about the inevitable ‘what’s a pessary?’ query. The use of pessaries to treat female POP dates back to before Hippocrates when honey, hot oil and fumes were used along with various sizes of pomegranates to stem organ descent.

Great Pessary Workshop

Last week I attended a long awaited workshop in Adelaide on fitting pessaries for pelvic organ prolapse. Under the combined efforts of the University of South Australia, the International Centre for Allied Health Excellence and the Australian Continence Foundation, this is the first Australian evidenced based workshop on pessaries.

Prolapse and Pelvic Floor Muscles

When clients are asked what they hope to achieve with treatment, they invariably say, “I want to learn how to do pelvic floor exercises”. They understand that pelvic floor muscle (PFM) strengthening is an important strategy in resolving and preventing incontinence and vaginal prolapse.

What is a 'relaxed vaginal outlet'?

Recently a 32-year-old mother asked me this question after her obstetrician mentioned the term during her six weeks post baby visit. I explained that damage to the perineal musculature from childbirth (or surgery) is a common cause of the relaxed vaginal outlet (not all women have symptoms).