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The Pelvic Floor

The Role of the Pelvic Floor

The Pelvic Floor (See Fig A) is a unique broad sling of muscle which attaches from your coccyx bone at the base of your spine to your pubic bone at the front of your pelvis. Three outlets pass through the muscle; the rectum, the vagina and the urethra. There are only two outlets (the rectum and urethra) in a man. This muscle is not only unique in terms of its structure but because of its multi-functional role which is to:

  • Maintain continence (by keeping the bladder and bowel outlets closed)

  • Allow voiding of urine/faeces (by allowing the bladder and bowel outlets to relax and open)

  • Support the pelvic organs from dropping (bladder, rectum, vagina and uterus)

  • Stabilise the spine

  • Stabilise the pelvic girdle (sacro-iliac joint, symphysis pubic joint and coccyx).

  • Maintain and promote good sexual satisfaction

  • Guide the delivery of the fetus in childbirth

Risk factors that damage the Pelvic Floor

Pelvic Floor Dysfunction is very common simply because there are many common risk factors that damage the muscle such as:

  • Pregnancy

  • Childbirth (Including Caesareans)

  • Heavy lifting

  • Constipation (Straining on the toilet)

  • Chronic cough

  • Gynaecological, Urological & Colorectal Surgery

  • Menopause

  • Double leg lifts & full sit ups

  • Hypermobility

  • Ageing

Symptoms of a Dysfunctional Pelvic Floor

The following symptoms can present when the Pelvic Floor is not working properly:

  • Stress urinary incontinence

  • Urge incontinence

  • Urine urgency

  • Decreased sensation to pass urine and hesitancy

  • Faecal incontinence

  • Faecal urgency

  • Flatal incontinence (inability to control wind)

  • Constipation

  • Perineal tears during childbirth (pain, sensitivity)

  • Pelvic organ prolapse (uterine, bladder, rectum)

  • Vaginismus

  • Vulvodynia

  • Piles/haemorrhoids

  • Pelvic Pain


  • Pelvic-Floor Pilates

  • Antenatal specific aerobics & Pilates

  • Postnatal specific aerobics & Pilates


Physio for Women – Specialist Physiotherapy & Pilates

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