In this 3-part blog series, we will get to know our pelvic floor structure and what it does, learn about different pelvic floor dysfunctions and their symptoms, when to seek treatment and practices we can do on our own or after/while working with a specialist.
Part One: Getting to Know your Pelvic Floor
Or as I like to say, Getting Familiar with Your Down-Town
Our Pelvic Floor is made up of a group of pretty impressive muscles. Very basically put, they include 3 muscle tissue layers that are interdigitated. Think of the threads of fabric woven together, and that is how the “layers” of the pelvic floor mesh. The most superficial layer is the bulbospongiosus, the second layer is the superficial transverse perineal and the third is the levator ani (which is actually three muscles.)
If you want to see the complexity of the pelvic floor (it’s awesome!) and get a more in depth explanation of the different layers, check out this cool 10 minute video on pelvic floor anatomy
Our pelvic floor muscles help regulate our intraabdominal pressure, provide support to our bladder, uterus and bowels as well as contribute significantly to our sexual responses.
Properly working muscles allow for pleasurable sex and the ability to reach orgasm, they hold a full bladder, stop us from passing gas (and that unfortunate noise we ladies sometimes make) and tighten to stop the leakage of urine when we sneeze, laugh, cough or move suddenly.
They also work with the muscles surrounding our hip structure including the glutes, adductors, abductors (inner and outer thighs). and quadriceps with the intention of supporting each other.
Improperly working muscles lead to what known as Pelvic Floor Dysfunction which is grouped into two categories: Hypertonic (tight, gripping, constantly contracted) and Hypotonic (loose and lax.) We will look at them in the next post and a myriad of symptoms they create.
Pelvic Floor 101: Part 2 – Pelvic Floor Dysfunction