Pelvic Floor Health

Like many parts of our body, the pelvic floor is something that most people don’t think about until it starts presenting problems. Unbeknownst to most, the pelvic floor is one of the most important groups of muscles in our body. They work in conjunction with other muscle groups to assist with bladder and bowel control, support posture, and is important for sexual function and intimacy.

As one of Calgary’s leading pelvic health physiotherapy clinics, we experience first-hand the impacts that stressed, weak, and injured pelvic floor muscles can have on our bodies.

What Is Your “Pelvic Floor”?

Your pelvic floor is an interwoven series of muscle fibres, tissue, and ligaments that are connected to your pelvic and tailbone. It acts as a support system for the organs located in your pelvic area, including your bladder, small intestine, rectum, and in women, the uterus and vagina.

Functions of the Pelvic Floor

One of the essential functions of the pelvic floor is the monitoring and control of your bladder and bowel. The pelvic floor is responsible for contracting the sphincters – bands of muscle that wrap around the urethra and anus – and regulating our bladder/bowel function.

Injuries that damage the pelvic floor, such as lower back disc herniations, can cause a loss of bladder or bowel control.

The pelvic floor is also part of proper sexual function, with a strong pelvic floor contributing to sexual sensation, arousal, and function.

Health Conditions Your Pelvic Floor Plays a Role In

  • Incontinence: difficulty controlling bladder or bowels
  • Pelvic organ prolapse such as the uterus, bladder or rectum
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Constipation
  • ladder function (overactive bladder) or difficulties urinating or regulating urine flow

Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

The loss of proper control of the pelvic floor muscles is called pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD). This can result in challenging, painful, and often embarrassing symptoms, from minor incontinence to persistent constipation aspenroseestates.

Causes of Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

There are a myriad of causes for PFD, from sports-related injuries to childbirth.

Childbirth is a common cause of PFD. Throughout pregnancy the baby has placed significant pressure on the pelvic floor, and the body has compensated by causing the pelvic floor to become softer and more relaxed. During childbirth, the body releases hormones that cause the pelvic floor muscles to allow the baby to descend through the birth canal.

The act of delivery takes a toll on the pelvic floor, as the pelvic floor expands and compresses, pulls and pushes, while the baby makes its way through.

Other risk factors for PFD include:

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Chronic, long-term constipation
  • Stress and extreme exertion when attempting to urinate or defecate
  • Heavy lifting
  • Physical stress in the midsection, particularly when laughing or coughing
  • Damage from prior surgeries, such as prostate surgery or surgery that repaired internal sphincter damage.

Maintaining a Healthy Pelvic Floor & Recovering From PFD

As you now know, the pelvic floor is an important part of our health and is something that we should safeguard. Physiotherapy is an effective mechanism that is suitable for both injury recovery and proactive health- we’d love to be your partners on your pelvic health journey.