Have you ever wondered what the pelvic floor actually is?
Have you been told by a doctor that you have an issue with your pelvic floor and were like, "What the hell is that?"
"The pelvic floor is just a group of muscles!"
I know that the “pelvic floor” can sound scary but guys, it’s just a group of muscles. They are definitely important muscles but they are just muscles.
These muscles create a sort of “sling”. The sling starts at your pubic bone and ends at your coccyx (tail bone)
<— Pubic bone
(The muscles connect these two points in your body.)
What does the pelvic floor do?
1. Supports our organs
One of the main function of this sling of muscles is to support our organs.
In women, the pelvic floor muscles support the bladder, uterus, and rectum.
In men, they support the bladder, prostate, and rectum. Yes, men you have a pelvic floor; don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!
2. Keeps the spine and pelvis stable
Another important function of these muscles is to help with stability of our spine and pelvis.
The pelvic floor muscles are part of the core. The pelvic floor works together with your transverse abdominis, which is a deep abdominal muscle that is super important in spinal stability.
3. Responsible for bladder, bowel, and sexual function
These muscles are super important for bladder, bowel, and sexual function.
In relationship to the bladder, these muscles allow you to hold your urine until you get to the bathroom. They also play a role in urinating and emptying the bladder.
Similar to the bladder, these muscles also control bowel movements in regards to holding stool in until you get to the bathroom and eliminating stool.
The muscles are also are important in sexual function. In women, these muscles need to be able to relax to allow for penetrative sex. For men, these muscles play a role in erection and ejaculation.
What kind of issues can happen in the pelvic floor?
Since the pelvic floor is a group of muscles, they can experience issues like any other muscle can such as being too weak or too tight.
When this occurs you may experience symptoms relating to urinary function, bowel function, sexual function or pain in the pelvic region.
A common symptom of the muscles being too weak could be incontinence (urinary or bowel). But just so you know, incontinence doesn’t always mean that the muscles are too weak. I go into more detail on this in another post which you can find by clicking here: Should everyone kegel?
When the muscles are too tight, common symptoms include pelvic pain, pain during sex, and urinary frequency or urgency.
Disclaimer: These examples are meant for educational purposes only, not for diagnosis. If you’re having symptoms such as pain or issues with bladder, bowel, or sexual function you should always see your doctor so they can examine you and make sure nothing serious is going on.
What to do next after being diagnosed with an issue related to the pelvic floor muscles
Assuming nothing is going on medically and it is the muscles causing your symptoms, your next step should be to see a pelvic floor physical therapist. Yes, there are physical therapists that specialize in this stuff!
Your physical therapist will be able to determine what is going on with the muscles. I know I gave you the most common scenarios of weakness/tightness but remember, everyone is different.
Your physical therapist will be able to treat your specific symptoms and will also be able to recommend things that you can do at home on your own!
I hope with this post I have answered your question so you have a general idea of what the pelvic floor is. Let’s keep those muscles healthy!
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