Dr Irmina Nahon has more than 15 years of experience in assessing and treating pelvic floor dysfunction. She has a PhD in the assessment and management of male urinary dysfunction, and extensive experience in working with women and children.
Irmina is Assistant Professor, Clinical Education Coordination at the University of Canberra and is now working privately as a pelvic floor specialist physiotherapist.
Irmina is currently the President of the ACT branch of the Continence Foundation of Australia (CFA), and also a passionate member of the Australian Physiotherapy Association’s Continence and Women’s Health group. She is an active member of the International Continence Society (ICS), the International Children’s Continence Society (ICCS) and the International Pelvic Pain Society (IPPS).
Irmina is very passionate about continence promotion, as well as research into the assessment and management of incontinence and pelvic pain.
Questions & Answers
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.