My pelvic what? Welcome to the world of your pelvic floor – an important group of muscles, fascia and ligaments residing in the base of your pelvis.
First things first – everyone has a pelvic floor (yes men and women both have them), and pelvic floor dysfunction can affect anyone in the population.
Here are 5 facts and myth-busters about your pelvic floor:
- So what are they and what do they do?
The pelvic floor is a sling of muscles that run from front to back through the base of your pelvis. Fascia and ligaments are also involved to add support, giving your body its own “trampoline”. These muscles have both a “squeeze” and a “lift” action.
The pelvic floor functions to control urinary and anal sphincters, provide support to pelvic organs (bladder, intestines, uterus in women), contract and relax as an essential component of sexual function, and work with other muscle groups to form the “core”.
2. I’ve never had a baby, why do I care about my pelvic floor?
Pelvic floor dysfunction, weakness or over-activity can affect both men and women of all ages, sizes and activity levels.
Looking at incontinence alone, 1 in 3 women are affected, as well as 1 in 10 men around the world.
3. Aren’t the core muscles your 6pack?
Your pelvic floor muscles, linked up with the deep abdominals make up the “core muscle group” – essential for stabilising and transferring forces through the pelvis and abdomen. These are not muscles you work by doing a sit-up, but in fact, activate to stabilize and control the load moving through your body with everything from running to throwing.
4. I read a pamphlet once about them – my pelvic floor is great!
Unfortunately that may not be the case… Studies show that up to 50% of people exercising their pelvic floor after minimal instruction, can be contracting and relaxing the muscle incorrectly.
5. I’m not sure about my pelvic floor? How do I see if it works?
To correctly assess your pelvic floor function and exercise form, Real Time Ultrasound Imaging (RTUI or RTUS) can be used. This is a fantastic tool used to provide yourself and your physiotherapist with feedback on the strength, endurance and quality of contraction of your pelvic floor (and other important muscles, which we will get to).
By Rhiannon Mouritz
Rhiannon is one of the pelvic floor gurus at Happy Physio North Perth. If you want to investigate further to see whether your pelvic floor is as strong as it could be – give us a call on 9444 8729.