By | March 28, 2023
Where are the pelvic floor muscles?
The pelvic floor consists of a group of muscles that lie at the base of the pelvis. These muscles act like a hammock, attaching from your tail bone (coccyx) at the back, to the pubic bone at the front and to the sitting bones at the sides of your pelvis. Connective tissue, fascia and ligaments within the pelvis comprise the pelvic floor muscle system. All these tissues play an important role in supporting the pelvic organs above. The pelvic floor is also responsible for assisting closure of two sphincters, these being at the end of the urethra (urine tube) and rectum (bowel).
Therefore, the pelvic floor is important for:
- Preventing leakage of urine, stools or wind
- Supporting your pelvic organs
- Sexual function
- Optimal postural control
What causes pelvic floor muscle weakness?
There are many reasons for pelvic floor muscles to weaken at any time in a woman’s life. Vigorous high impact exercise, excessive lifting, hormonal changes in pregnancy and menopause, childbirth, aging, constipation, prolonged vomiting and chronic coughing all have the potential to strain, stretch and weaken the pelvic floor muscle system.
What are the common pelvic floor conditions?
Common presentations our physiotherapists treat at Physiotherapy for Women include:
- Stress incontinence – leakage of urine, wind or stools
- Urgency – strong bladder or bowel urge to go to the toilet
- Urge incontinence – bladder or bowel urgency
- Bladder frequency – many trips to the toilet day and/or night
- Prolapse of pelvic organs into the vagina or rectum
- Pelvic pain and/or discomfort with sexual intimacy, vaginal examinations or with tampon use
- Lack of sensation with sexual intercourse
- Lower back, buttock, hip pain associated with pelvic pain
What is involved in pelvic floor physiotherapy?
To be able to treat pelvic floor and pain conditions our physiotherapists at Physiotherapy for Women have the required postgraduate training in pelvic floor muscle rehabilitation and pelvic health. They will listen to your story and ask the appropriate questions before performing a skilled assessment to understand the reasons for your pelvic floor muscle and pelvic soft tissue presentation.
The assessment findings will be discussed with you and a management plan drawn up, taking into account your work/home schedule and goals you may have. The management plan will highlight the physiotherapists treatment approach that includes what you do at home/work to help yourself. Pelvic floor and pelvic health treatments are research based and shown to be very successful when you and the physio work as a team. This means you make a commitment to finding the time to do the exercises, specific training procedure, relaxation or whatever your plan prescribes for you.
Treatment may include pelvic floor muscle training, exercise, relaxation, postural adjustments, education and advice. Your physiotherapist will help you in understanding your pelvic floor, bladder, bowel or pain issue and the potential reasons for why you are experiencing what you present to us with.
Communication with your doctor, gynaecologist, obstetrician or other specialist on the physiotherapist’s assessment findings and treatment approach is important.
We will always work with you to help you recover and enjoy an active, healthy lifestyle.