Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is a pelvic floor/pelvic health physiotherapist?
A pelvic health physiotherapist is a registered physiotherapist with post graduate training in the pelvic floor, which is a sling of muscles that connects pubic bone to tailbone and sits bone to sits bone, and is an integral part in the health and wellness of all women. A pelvic health physio can perform internal vaginal and/or anal examinations to determine if the muscles and connective tissues are too tight or too weak, and she can determine if your pelvic organs are positioned in the right place. Although a pelvic health physiotherapist is trained to assess and treat the pelvic floor, at Sherry Heenan Physiotherapy I will look at the pelvic as it relates to the rest of the body, and consider the emotional/mental components as well, thereby providing holistic care. I will then provide you with an individualized treatment plan, consisting of manual hands-on therapy, exercise or movement therapy, and education to assist you in achieving optimal movement and function.
2. What conditions does a pelvic health physiotherapist treat?
The conditions that a pelvic health physiotherapist can treat and prevent include:
incontinence (involuntary leakage of urine, gas, or stool)
overactive bladder (urinary frequency & urinary urgency)
diastasis recti (abdominal separation), "mummy tummy"
pelvic organ prolapse (feeling or seeing a vaginal bulge or a sense of pelvic pressure or heaviness)
pregnancy related pain
labour and birth preparation
low back/hip/pelvic pain
postpartum recovery (Vaginal and Cesarean births)
pain with intercourse, use of tampon or during PAP test
endometriosis, interstitial cystitis, bladder pain syndrome
exercise guidance and instruction during pregnancy, postpartum, or any other time
3. What is involved in a pelvic floor physiotherapy assessment and is an internal exam required?
When you attend your first appointment for pelvic health physiotherapy you will be required to fill out an intake from with your personal and medical health information. Your physiotherapist will review this information with you and ask you some additional questions before any objective or hands-on assessment is performed.
If an internal pelvic exam is recommended then your physiotherapist will explain the assessment process and obtain your consent before proceeding. An internal vaginal and/or anal examination is not mandatory, although it does give your physiotherapist the most accurate information and it can provide you with a more individualized and specific treatment plan. You can withdraw your consent at any time throughout your appointment.
Your physiotherapist will start with a posture/alignment examination followed by observing how well your body moves and functions. She will then perform a hands-on exam to determine what tissues are tight, sore, or weak, and if she received your consent she will proceed with an internal pelvic exam.
A privacy barrier will be placed across the room and you will be asked to undress from the waist down and lie on the treatment table between the sheets to ensure you are properly draped. Once you are ready, your physiotherapist will come to the side of the table and explain the process step by step. If you are comfortable, she will then examine the pelvic tissues externally before inserting a lubricated finger into your vagina and/or anus. No stirrups or speculum are used.
4. Is it going to hurt?
During any physiotherapy assessment there is the potential that pain is induced as she is trying to determine the cause of your concern. Your physiotherapist will never force your tissues and they will always make sure your pain or discomfort is tolerable. Pain often indicates muscle or tissue tightness or sensitivity and this is helpful to know when designing your individualized treatment plan.
5. How do I book an appointment?
You can book an appointment online through the link at the top of the page or you can call the clinic at 905-372-2369.
6. How long are appointments?
Your appointments are always one-on-one in a private treatment room, with the initial assessment being 60 minutes long. Follow up visits are typically 30 minutes in length but occasionally this will be adjusted depending on the treatment plan. If your appointment is for the prenatal birth partner session then this is 90 minutes long.
7. Can I bring my baby or children to my appointment?
You're welcome to bring your baby or children to your appointment if you cannot arrange alternate care for them, especially during covid-19. If you are seeing Sherry for breastfeeding concerns then bringing your baby is actually recommended. Should you need to bring your little one(s) to the appointment you're encouraged to bring in toys to help occupy your child(ren).
8. Do I need a referral to come see you?
You don't need a referral to see a physiotherapist in Ontario, unless your extended health insurance provider requires it. Check with your provider.
9. Do you offer direct billing?
Yes we do but it is important to check with your insurance provider as not all allow direct billing.
10. What if I'm on my period?
You are still able to attend if you are on your period. Your pelvic health physiotherapist can continue to assess and treat internally, and it may be helpful as your tissues can be affected by your hormones, but it is at your discretion. There are still plenty of other external treatment options available and your physiotherapist will discuss these with you should you choose not to have an internal that day.
11. What if I need to reschedule or cancel my appointment?
To reschedule or cancel your appointment you call the clinic phone line at 905-372-2369, with at least 24 hours notice. If 24 hours notice is not provided, including a missed appointment, the full appointment fee will be charged. Please note that extended health insurance does not cover missed or late cancelled appointments.