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The Importance of the Pelvic Floor

What is the Pelvic Floor?

The pelvic floor is a group of muscles that creates a layer stretching from the pubic bone to the tailbone. This layer or “floor” supports the pelvic organs that lie on top of it, including: the bladder, uterus, small bowel, vagina, and rectum.

What does the pelvic floor do?

Normally the pelvic floor muscles are firm and thick. Think of a trampoline- the pelvic floor is able to move up and down in a controlled way. Although you don’t consciously activate your pelvic floor, every time you urinate or allow bowel movement, you are relaxing the pelvic floor muscles. Inversely, every time you hold hold the passage of urine, feces, or gas, you or contracting the pelvic floor and lifting the pelvic organs to tighten to the openings of the vagina, anus, and urethra.

Aside from the activities in the loo, the pelvic floor plays an important role in activities in the bedroom- intercourse and sexual function. In men, it’s important for erectile function and ejaculation. In women, it’s vital for voluntary contractions of the pelvic floor, contributing to sexual sensation and arousal.

The pelvic muscles also provide support for the baby during pregnancy and help push the baby through the canal during the birthing process.

The pelvic floor is integral to core stability and activation, working with the abdomen and back muscles to support the spine and upper body.

Problems with the pelvic floor

Sometimes these muscles develop problems and lead to pelvic floor disorders including Pelvic Organ Prolapse in women, due to childbirth, as a woman ages, obesity, or constipation. In Pelvic Organ Prolapse the pelvic muscles loosen and the pelvic organs “prolapse” or droop. Although some women report no symptoms at all, others notice

  • pressure in pelvic area
  • pain in low back
  • painful intercourse
  • a feeling that something is falling out of the vagina
  • chronic urge to urinate or leaking of urine
  • constipation
  • spotting or bleeding from the vagina

Treatments

Pelvic floor disorders can be treated through exercise and lifestyle changes to avoid constipation, quit smoking, and practice pelvic floor muscle training e.g. kegels. The next step would be a non-surgical option, such as inserting a small plastic device called a pessary into the vagina to provide support for the drooping organs. Lastly are surgical treatments, either to repair the affected tissue or organ or to remove the organ (such as removal of the uterus by hysterectomy).

 

If you have a pelvic disorder, call us for a consultation so we can carefully walk you through the treatment options best for you.

If you have a pelvic disorder, call us for a consultation so we can carefully walk you through the treatment options best for you. Please see Our Services or call us at (916) 245-3043 to schedule an appointment!