What is a pelvic floor? - Houston Colon – Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery

What is a pelvic floor?

February 9, 2011

The pelvic floor comprises of the pelvic floor muscles that form the core foundation of the body. It is basically a web of muscles, tendons and ligaments that collectively form a supportive hammock at the bottom of the pelvic bowl.

The pelvic floor helps stabilize the pelvis and provides support to the lower abdominal cavity organs like bladder and uterus and helps maintain the continence of the urinary and anal sphincters.

The pelvic floor also helps with the birth process by providing resistance in the descent of the presenting part and making the fetus rotate forwards through the pelvic girdle. These muscles, along with the deep back and abdomen muscles of the body form the muscle group that is focused upon while developing core strength in the body.

One of the muscles in the pelvic floor, the pubococcygeus, which is called the PC muscle, surrounds the urethra, vagina and anal openings. This is why when the pelvic floor and its muscles get weak or damaged, there is a compromise on the integrity of these openings.

Weak pelvic floor

It is mostly women who suffer from a weak pelvic floor because besides chronic coughing, inactivity and aging, childbirth is another cause that leads to weak or damaged pelvic floor muscles.

Once a person’s pelvic floor gets weak, problems like incontinence, reduced sexual pleasure and organs dropping into the pelvic floor because of problems like prolapsed uterus or bladder start. Moreover, weak pelvic muscles that do not work with the abdominal or back muscles tend to lead to structural imbalances.

This in turn leads to abdominal and back pain, and perhaps patterns of compensation in the body. All this proves that it is important, and that one always has to maintain and strengthen their pelvic floor muscles. Weak pelvic muscles and a pelvic floor can lead to dire health and structural complications.

There is respite for those with a weak pelvic floor in the form of pelvic floor exercises. They are called Kegels, and are very specific to the pelvic floor. Doing these exercises is easy. All that has to be done is to squeeze one’s pelvic floor as one would do to stop the urine flow while urinating. Practicing Kegels exercise regularly helps strengthen the pelvic floor and reduces all the complications that arise with a weak pelvic floor.