Dr Helena C.

Dr Helena C. Frawley


Associate Professor, NHMRC Research Fellow

College of Science, Health and Engineering

School of Allied Health

Department of Rehabilitation, Nutrition and Sport

Health Sciences 3, Melbourne (Bundoora)

Research centres

La Trobe Sport and Exercise Medicine Research Centre


PhD, B.App.Sc.(Phty)., Grad.Cert.Phty.(PelvicFloor).



Membership of professional associations


Area of study


Brief profile

Dr Helena Frawley is a pelvic floor physiotherapist and researcher. Alongside her position at La Trobe University, she is the Head of Cabrini Centre for Alllied Health Research and Education, at Cabrini Health. Helena completed her PhD at The University of Melbourne in 2008, and gained Fellowship of the Australian College of Physiotherapists in 2011, as a Specialist Continence and Women’s Health Physiotherapist. Her research is focused on pelvic floor muscle measurement studies and conservative therapies to treat pelvic floor dysfunction: pelvic organ prolapse, pelvic pain, incontinence and pelvic floor problems following pelvic surgery, including for pelvic cancer.  Her other research interest is translational research, including implementation of clinical practice guidelines.

Helena is active internationally in this area of work, as a member of several international working groups and committees. She is committed to improving pelvic floor function.

Research interests


- rehabilitation of pelvic floor function

Women's Health

- pelvic floor muscle function and dysfunction

Recent publications

Papers in refereed journals:

Davidson, M. J., Bryant, A. L., Bower, W. F., & Frawley, H. C. Myotonometry reliably measures muscle stiffness in perineal and thenar muscles. Physiotherapy Canada (in press)

Lin KY, Frawley HC, Denehy L, Feil D, Granger CL,  Exercise interventions for patients with gynecological cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis Physiotherapy online 18.4.16: doi.org/10.1016/j.physio.2016.02.006

Ferreira, C. H., Dwyer, P. L., Davidson, M., De Souza, A., Ugarte, J. A., & Frawley, H. C. (2015). Does pelvic floor muscle training improve female sexual function? A systematic review. International Urogynecology Journal and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction, 26(12), 1735-1750 (doi: DOI 10.1007/s00192-015-2749-y)

Lin, K. Y., Granger, C. L., Denehy, L., & Frawley, H. C. (2015). Pelvic floor muscle training for bowel dysfunction following colorectal cancer surgery: A systematic review. Neurourology and Urodynamics, 34(8), 703-712. doi: 10.1002/nau.22654

McClurg D, Frawley H, Dean S, Hay-Smith J, Chen S-Y, Chiarelli P, et al. Scoping Review of Adherence Promotion Theories in Pelvic Floor Muscle Training - 2011 ICS State-of-the-Science Seminar Research Paper I of IV. Neurourol Urodyn 2015 (doi: DOI 10.1002/nau.22769)

Dumoulin C, Alewijnse D, Bo K, Hagen S, Stark D, Van Kampen M, Herbert J, Hay-Smith EJ, Frawley H, McClurg D. Pelvic Floor Muscle Training Adherence: tools, measurements and strategies - 2011 State-of-the-Science Seminar Research Paper II of IV. Neurourol Urodyn 2015 (doi: DOI 10.1002/nau.22794).

Hay-Smith EJ, Dean S, Burgio K, McClurg D, Frawley H, Dumoulin C. Pelvic Floor Muscle Training Adherence 'Modifiers': a review of primary qualitative studies - 2011 ICS State-of-the-Science Seminar Research Paper III of IV. Neurourol Urodyn 2015 (doi: DOI 10.1002/nau.22771).

Frawley H, McClurg D, Mahfooza A, Hay-Smith EJ, Dumoulin C. Health professionals' and patients’ perspectives on Pelvic Floor Muscle Training Adherence - 2011 State-of-the-Science Seminar Research Paper IV of IV. Neurourol Urodyn 2015 (doi: DOI 10.1002/nau.22774).

Dumoulin C, E.J. H-S, Frawley H, McClurg D. Consensus Statement on Improving Pelvic Floor Muscle Training Adherence: International Continence Society 2011 State-of-the-Science Seminar. Neurourol Urodyn 2015 (doi: DOI 10.1002/nau.22796)

McClurg D, Hagen S, Dickinson L, Frawley HC, Dolan L, Monga A, Hilton P (2014). Pelvic floor muscle training as an adjunct to prolapse surgery- a randomised feasibility study Int Urogyn J 25(7), 883-891.

Hagen, S., D. Stark, C. Glazener, S.Dickson, S. Barry, A. Elders, H. Frawley, M. Galea, J. Logan, A. McDonald, G. McPherson, K. Moore, J. Norrie, A. Walker, D. Wilson, (2014). "Individualised pelvic floor muscle training in women with pelvic organ prolapse (POPPY): a multicentre randomised controlled trial." Lancet 383(9919): 796-806.

Invited chapters in books:

Frawley HC. (2015). Pelvic pain. In: Bo K, Berghmans LC, Van Kampen M, Morkved S, editors. Evidence based physical therapy for the pelvic floor. 2nd ed. London: Elsevier, pp 333-353.

Bø K and Frawley HC. (2015). Pelvic floor muscle training for pelvic organ prolapse. In: Bo K, Berghmans LC, Van Kampen M, Morkved S, editors. Evidence based physical therapy for the pelvic floor. 2nd ed. London: Elsevier, pp 234-242.

Frawley HC (2014), Pelvic floor muscle pain. In Messelink EJ, Baranowski AP, Hughes J. IASP Chronic abdominal and pelvic pain syndromes: from definition through to best practice. Proceedings from the 1st World Abdominal and Pelvic Pain Meeting, Amsterdam. IASP Press pp 77-86

Invited commentaries:

Hay-Smith, E. J. C., McClurg, D., Frawley, H., & Dean, S. G. (2016). Exercise adherence: integrating theory, evidence and behaviour change techniques. Physiotherapy, 102(1), 7-9. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.physio.2015.08.006





Research projects

- NHMRC Early Career Fellowship Research Project: Pelvic Organ Prolapse: simple treatments work

- The prevalence of urinary incontinence in adult female netball players within a rural region of South Australia

- Physical Function in Patients Following Surgery for Colorectal Cancer

- A multidisciplinary rehabilitation program for patients following surgery for abdomino-pelvic cancer

- Better quality of life for cancer patients through early e-health program

- Implementation of stroke clinical practice guidelines

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