Penny Hanlon – Physiotherapist

Physiotherapist - Special Interest: Women's Health 

What do women's health physiotherapists do?

We treat a range of conditions including: 

  • Urinary incontinence - leaking with sport, exercise, coughing, laughing and sneezing
  • Sudden urgent needs to go to the toilet
  • Urinary frequency - feeling like you must go all the time
  • Pelvic organ prolapse
  • Pelvic pain
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal Separation 
  • Pre and post-natal care
  • Issues arising from menopause


What is involved in a consultation?

We start by taking a detailed history of your problem and asking you a lot of questions (some very personal) to get to the root of why things are happening. In some cases, after our first appointment we might get you to complete a diary looking at bladder/bowel function to further identify issues. 

A physical exam is then performed which involves an internal examination – this can be declined but is recommended to fully understand what is happening within the pelvis. A lot of issues within the pelvis can arise from areas above and below, including how we breath, walk and move, so don’t be surprised if we look at your thoracic, lumbar spine or hip movements. Ultrasound technology may also be used to assess muscle activation patterns as well as taking some measurements. Allow about 1 hour for initial appointments. 


What treatment options are available?

Physiotherapy should be the first port of call for treatment with incontinence with its high success rate* – up to 84% of women with stress urinary incontinence become dry with physiotherapy in 3 months of treatment. 

Treatment is very personalized to each individual depending on the dysfunction, but a few options include:

  • Pelvic floor strength and relaxation programs
  • Core stability programs
  • Bladder drills and deferral programs

We will also from time to time recommend products you can purchase to assist in your treatment. 

*Continence Foundation of Australia

A bit about me:

Pelvic floor physiotherapy has always been an interest of mine. It was my elective at university and during my first-year graduate placement at Royal North Shore Hospital, I was lucky enough to have more exposure and consolidate my love for helping women. 

More recently I’ve started to more work with children and pelvic floor issues having 2 children of my own, Olive (nearly 5 years old) and Mitch (2.5 years old), curiosity got the better of me seeing just how early problems can start and realizing the impact they can have in the future. 

Matt, Olive, Mitch and I (plus our 2 dogs) are local to the Northern beaches and love being outdoors and active!

My births were c-sections, but I went into labour both times and both were born at Mona Vale Hospital. 

I am very big on education prior to labour and delivery so that you can be as prepared as possible post-natal – the thing I least like hearing at an appointment is “I wish I’d known….”