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What is the Pelvic Floor?

What is the Pelvic Floor? Many people really have no idea that they have a pelvic floor and what it is for. So today is a little bit more of an anatomy lesson and some education as to why you should care about your pelvic floor.

Our pelvic floor is the bowl of muscles on the bottom of the pelvis. Both females and males have pelvic floor muscles. The muscles surround our urethra, vagina and anus and they span from the pubic bone in the front to the tailbone at the back and across between the two sit bones.

So, what do the pelvic floor muscles do for us? Just like muscles anywhere else in our body, the pelvic floor muscles need to contract, relax, stretch, and coordinate with other muscles.

  • CONTRACTION: A contraction of the pelvic floor is commonly known as a Kegel exercise. It should feel like a closing off around the vagina and/or anus as well as lifting up and in. Contraction of the pelvic floor muscles helps keep the pee and poop inside until we are in the restroom.
  • RELAXATION: Pelvic floor muscles also need to relax and let go especially when you are going to pee or poop. No muscle is meant to be contracted all the time.
  • STRETCH: Pelvic floor muscles streatch to allow bowel movement to pass. They streatch an amazing amount in women having a vaginal delivery.
  • COORDINATION: The pelvic floor muscles also need to coordinate together with other muscles in and around the pelvic area. No muscle in our body works in isolation and the pelvic floor muscles especially are part of our deep course support system. They work together with our diaphragm, deep back muscles, and abdominal muscles to help regulate pressure in the abdominal cavity and give us core support.

The pelvic floor muscles are important part of the support for our pelvic organs: bladder, uterus, and rectum. The pelvic floor create this supportive bowl underneath the organs that to help keep the organs where they need to be. When we have support issue, we might end up dealing with something called a pelvic organ prolapse, where some of our pelvic organs start to sag down.

The pelvic floor also provide support for the bony pelvis itself. The pelvis is a ring and the pelvic floor muscles attach all the way around the bottom of it. So, they help to stabilize and support this bony ring and provide some rigidity to the structure there.

Last but not least, pelvic floor muscles are involved in sexual function. These muscles help with arousal, orgasm, and sexual pleasure. If a patient is dealing with pain with intercourse, we often find that they may be having a problem with their pelvic floor muscles.

So, there you have it…

You’ve learn that the pelvic floor is involved with lots of different bodily functions. . So, just as a quick review, our pelvic floor muscles need to contract, relax, stretch, coordinate with other muscles. They’re involved as the support system for our pelvic organs. They help to create support for our bony pelvis. They are involved in normal ball and bladder function and they’re involved in normal sexual health.

If you are having any issue in any of these areas, there might be a pelvic floor component to it. And this is a great time to potentially partner with a pelvic physical therapist to get evaluated and see what’s going on.

AUTHOR

Brooke Kalisiak

Legacy Physical Therapy

"We help women who are tired of leaking, dealing with pelvic pain, and wanting to get their body back in shape after baby (even if it’s been 30 years) all without relying on medications or surgery."
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