pelvic health, physical therapy, womens health

What the heck is a pelvic floor and do I have one?

The answer is, YES! You have a pelvic floor, or pelvic diaphragm, as some of the cool kids call it. Even you, men.

Here is a very cut and dry picture of the female pelvic floor and lower abdominal viscera.

Pelvic floor

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So what is the pelvic floor exactly?

It is a group of muscles that sit in your pelvis like a hammock and surround the openings of your urethra (where urine comes out), vagina and rectum. It attaches to bony structures like your pubic bone, coccyx (tailbone) and other structures of the pelvis, but let’s keep this as simple as we can. There are layers of pelvic floor musculature – superficial and deep (a.k.a the levator ani). Can we control these suckers as a whole? YEP! Just like we contract our bicep, we can contract the pelvic floor, although it can be a little more complicated than that, hence part of the reason I have a job.

What does it do?

  • Provides support to the pelvic viscera – the bladder, rectum and uterus (minus the uterus and add prostate if you’re a boy).
  • Helps to prevent the leakage of pee, poop and gas.
  • It is involved in sexual function
  • Plays a big role in stability of the back and pelvis

What happens if it isn’t working 100%?

You may experience symptoms of incontinence (leaking pee, poop, gas), pelvic organ prolapse (organs collapse into the vaginal wall to varying degrees), poor bowel and bladder control, sexual dysfunction, pelvic pain, low back pain, vaginal pain, difficulty with delivery of a babe, etc…

There you have it – the briefest overview of the pelvic floor I could give ya! Now, that you have an idea of what it is, hopefully my posts regarding issues involving it will make better sense. However, I have to tell you, most of the things I will cover are not solely due to pelvic floor muscle dysfunction – there can be major behavioral and dietary components as well which I will also address.

Wishing you and your pelvic floors a happy Friday!

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