How did you get involved in pelvic floor and continence issues and not for instance in shoulder problems?
I wanted to do some more study and a post graduate certificate in Continence and Pelvic floor rehabilitation came up. I had been working in the Obstetrics/gynaecology ward and thus seemed interesting as well as relevant.
After completing it, I had caught the study bug and did a Master of Physiotherapy focused on bladder and bowel function. The next step of a PhD came naturally. There was a huge gap in the research about male continence issues, which I felt I could start to fill.
What is your audience? All women over 50?
I treat Women, Men and Children. Kids with day or night wetting or constipation issues, incomplete toilet training or children with a disability can all be helped by a continence physiotherapist.
Adults both male and female can have overactive bladders (needing to go to the toilet frequently, urgently and sometimes not making it) that respond well do management. Of course I see many women after they have had babies for pelvic floor exercises. Many women are too busy with their children, that they don’t seek help until they are over 50. However if identified early, continence can be improved significantly at any age.
I also see many men before and after they have prostate cancer treatment. The leakage that occurs after surgery or the bowel problems that occur after radiation therapy can be treated and managed for many men.
Finally, I see women and men who have pain in the pelvic floor region. Pain can be related to an issue such as endometriosis (for women) or prostatitis (for men) or an injury such as fractured pelvis or overstretched muscles (by a bicycle seat) or may spontaneously occur for unknown reasons.
This pain can really affect life as well as intimacy and relationships. It is a pain people don’t like talking about but carefully tailored treatment can be really effective in reducing pain and improving life.
Tell me about you experiences abroad concerning your education around the subject of continence. What is you big achievement overseas? And in Australia?
I am involved with several international groups and organisations that exchange ideas and information and research in this field. The International Continence Society, The International Children’s Continence Society, the International Pelvic Pain Society to name a few.
I have spoken at conferences and am heavily involved in these groups in learning about new ideas and treatments.
What are the latest trends in women’s health and continence?
PELVIC FLOOR FIRST. If you are doing any fitness program, whether at the gym, boot camp, Pilates, or independently, please remember to start your exercise with the pelvic floor. This will help to reduce the effects of increased pressure in the tummy and prevent a weak pelvic floor from being pushed down.
Do I need a referral?
No you do not need a referral, but Irmina will send a copy of your report to your GP.
I have seen a continence nurse or physiotherapist but the distance to see them again is too large. Can I see Irmina via Skype?
YES. I am more than happy to work with whomever you have seen in the past, if it means a better outcome for you and your bladder/bowel/pelvic floor.
If you need to have a physical examination at any point in your treatment program, I will liaise with you and appropriate health professionals or doctors to get it done.
What are the computer requirements for remote consultations ?
You need an internet connection and a webcam. Costs associated with the internet connection are not included in the consultation fee. Skype can be downloaded for free using the following link.