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Demystifying the Pelvic Floor - What IS the pelvic floor?

Welcome to our 4 part series about the pelvic floor! By demystifying the pelvic floor, we can empower individuals to seek help and reclaim control over their pelvic health. Remember, you're not alone!

There is a group of muscles we often forget about, and we are even encouraged to ignore or not talk about, but they are silently supporting you in numerous ways. That's your pelvic floor! This network of muscles plays a crucial role in various bodily functions, impacting your well-being more than you might realize. So, let's shine a light on this often-overlooked powerhouse…

What is the Pelvic Floor?

Physical Therapist explaining pelvic floor muscles

The pelvic floor muscles are at the bottom of your pelvis. There are multiple layers to the pelvic floor muscles. The ones closer to the surface are responsible for continence - if you are going to the bathroom or not. When they contract, you will not be going to the bathroom, when they relax, you can. To think about the deeper layer of muscles, you can imagine a hammock cradling your bladder, uterus/prostate, and rectum. These deeper muscles act like a sling, supporting these organs and enabling their proper function. 

The layers of the pelvic floor are vital for:

  • Bladder and Bowel Control: These muscles control the release of urine and stool, preventing accidental leakage and promoting continence. When they are contracted, we are not going to the bathroom, when they relax, we can go to the bathroom.

  • Sexual Function: Strong and coordinated pelvic floor muscles enhance sexual pleasure and erectile function in both men and women.

  • Core Stability: They work alongside your abdominal and back muscles to support your spine and improve posture.

  • Childbirth: During pregnancy and delivery, a healthy pelvic floor plays a crucial role in supporting the baby's weight and facilitating a smooth delivery.

What makes a “healthy” pelvic floor?

The pelvic floor muscles need to be able to contract AND relax, and do so at the right times. When we cough or sneeze, the pelvic floor needs to contract. When we sit down to have a bowel movement, the pelvic floor needs to relax. If you are contracting when you should be relaxing, or vice versa, that can cause issues!

Throughout our series, we will cover how to know if you have a pelvic floor dysfunction, and what you can do about it!

Disclaimer: This blog post is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with a qualified healthcare professional for personalized guidance.

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