Pelvic Floor - we all have one!

But some work better than others.

What are the pelvic floor muscles?

The floor of the pelvis is made up of layers of muscle and other tissues. These layers stretch like a hammock from the tailbone at the back, to the pubic bone in front. A woman’s pelvic floor muscles support her bladder, womb (uterus) and bowel (colon). The urine tube (front passage), the vagina and the back passage all pass through the pelvic floor muscles. Your pelvic floor muscles help you to control your bladder and bowel. They also help sexual function. It is vital to keep your pelvic floor muscles strong.

Pelvic floor problems can occur when the pelvic floor muscles are stretched, weakened or too tight. 

Some people have weak pelvic floor muscles from an early age, whilst others notice problems after certain life stages such as pregnancy, childbirth or menopause.

Some people have pelvic floor muscles that are too tight and cannot relax. This can be made worse by doing squeezing exercises and overworking the muscles without learning how to relax.

Pelvic floor muscle fitness is affected by a number of things. These include:

  • not keeping them active or over working them being pregnant and having babies

  • a history of back pain

  • ongoing constipation and straining to empty the bowels

  • being overweight, obese or having a body mass index (BMI) over 25

  • heavy lifting (e.g. at work or the gym)

  • a chronic cough or sneeze, including those linked to asthma, smoking or hayfever

  • previous injury to the pelvic region (e.g. a fall, surgery or pelvic radiotherapy), and

  • growing older.

Although it is hidden from view, your pelvic floor muscles can be consciously controlled and therefore trained, much like your arm, leg or abdominal (tummy) muscles. Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles will help you to actively support your bladder and bowel. This improves bladder and bowel control and reduce the likelihood of accidentally leaking from your bladder or bowel   Like other muscles in your body, your pelvic floor muscles will become stronger with a regular exercise program. This is important for both men and women (http://www.pelvicfloorfirst.org.au).

you may find these videos from the Continence Foundation of Australia useful in visualising how the pelvic floor works (Female) and (Male).

If you are having difficulties with pelvic floor control, book an appointment with our lovely Dhvani, who is our pelvic floor specialist.

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