Pelvic Floor…Pelvic What?

Okay Aurora, you say you are a pelvic health specialist, but what is that?!?

I am an orthopedic physical therapist specializing in pelvic health. This means I went from only treating knees and shoulders to talking a lot about pee and poop. I treat men women and children with concerns including bladder, bowel, sexual dysfunction and assist persons through pregnancy and the postpartum period.

This is a lot of talk about your pelvic floor, what is it?

Your pelvic floor is a group of muscles that live in the bottom of your pelvis. They have a lot of roles and when they don’t function optimally we can experience incontinence (leakage of pee, poop or gas), pelvic heaviness (pelvic organ prolapse), urgency of urination (I gotta go and I gotta go NOW), incomplete evacuation (did I get it all out) frequency of urination (didn’t you just go pee?) and pelvic pain. The pelvic floors main jobs are to assist in postural stability and core function, breathing, supporting out organs, controlling and allowing for proper peeing and pooping and sexual function.

Your pelvic floor works with your deepest abdominal muscles called your transverse abdominis for postural stability. They work all day long to keep us upright and supported against gravity and control the loads we place on our spine and pelvis when we move.

When you breathe your diaphragm and your pelvic floor work together to help maintain the pressure inside your tummy. Coordination of your diaphragm and the ability to take a full breath in and out is important for posture and pelvic floor health.

The pelvic floor muscle have different layers. The layer closes to the skin is primarily made of sphincter muscles meaning they squeeze to open and close around the urethra, vaginal opening and rectum. The deeper layer lifts to help support our internal organs.

The pelvic floor is important for proper sexual function as well. When we become aroused the muscles in the pelvic floor contribute to elongation and ballooning of the vaginal vault to allow for accommodation. They contract around the veins that bring blood into the clitoris or penis so blood can enter, but not leave, contributing to erection. The pelvic floor muscles contribute to firm support behind the clitoris so we can have friction and stimulation and the pelvic floor muscles are an important part of orgasms as well.

Holly cow, they do a lot right?!?! When you are treated at Move RX your therapist will be able to fully assess the function and role your pelvic floor may have in your current symptoms. Whether that be leaking pee when you run or jump rope to not being able to fully get over that nagging hip or back pain.