Women can avoid the need for controversial mesh surgery if they stop going so hard in the gym, says a physiotherapist.

Pelvic-floor physiotherapist Michelle Kenway said high-impact gym routines were contributing to women as young as 15 experiencing incontinence and prolapsed pelvic-floor muscles, a health issue that is costing taxpayers more than $8 billion a year.

Low squats with heavy weights, jumping, crunches and even running could damage the pelvic floor and create issues, which could lead to surgery.

Her claim comes after a Herald on Sunday investigation into surgical mesh used to secure prolapsed pelvic-floor muscles and organs. The synthetic mesh has caused complications for hundreds of people.


Kenway called for gyms to examine members before letting them join. But personal trainer Keri Ropati said a screening was not necessary. Instead, trainers should offer low-impact options.