What is Pelvic Floor and How Do I Activate it?
PregActive’s Women’s Health Physiotherapist Beth Scott discusses the pelvic floor and how to activate it. Beth explains what the pelvic floor is and how having strong pelvic floor muscles provides better control over the bladder and bowel.
What is a Woman’s Pelvic Floor?
Pelvic floor exercises are also known as Kegel exercises and are promoted as the starting point for building pelvic floor strength.
During pregnancy and after childbirth; your pelvic floor muscles are lengthened and weakened and as a result can cause incontinence. If you strengthen your pelvic floor, then you will be helping to prevent or reduce the severity of incontinence.
In other words; if you perform Kegel exercises correctly they can help to protect you from leaking urine during and also after your baby is born. Be sure to see how our PregActive Post-baby Recovery Program can help you to restore pelvic floor function.
Where are Your Pelvic Floor Muscles?
The pelvic floor muscles are between your pubic bone at the front and your tailbone at the back. The pelvic floor muscles support the bladder, bowl and uterus.
The openings from your bladder, your bowels and your womb all pass through your pelvic floor. They also maintain bladder and bowel control.
What Do Pelvic Floor Muscles Do?
Pelvic floor muscles provide support to the organs that lie on it. The sphincters give us conscious control over the bladder and bowel so that we can control the release of urine, faeces and flatus and allow us to delay emptying until it is convenient.
When the pelvic floor muscles are contracted, the internal organs are lifted and the sphincters tighten the openings of the vagina, anus and urethra. Relaxing the pelvic floor allows passage of urine and faeces.
Pelvic floor muscles are also important for sexual function in both men and women. In men, it is important for erectile function and ejaculation. In women, voluntary contractions (squeezing) of the pelvic floor contribute to sexual sensation and arousal.
The pelvic floor muscles in women also provide support for the baby during pregnancy and assist in the birthing process. The muscles of the pelvic floor work with the abdominal and back muscles to stabilise and support the spine.
Symptoms of Pelvic Floor Problems
• Accidentally losing control of their bowel.
• Accidentally leaking urine when you exercise, play sport, laugh, cough or sneeze.
• Accidentally leaking urine when you cough or sneeze.
• Accidentally leaking urine when you are being active or playing sport.
• Pain in the pelvic area.
• Constant urge to go to the toilet.
• Finding it difficult to empty their bladder or bowel.
• Accidentally passing wind.
• Painful sex.
• Poor sensation or leaking during sex.
• A prolapse.