What is the pelvic floor?
The pelvic floor is one of the most crucial support systems you have in your body. Think of it as a strong security system that helps your body know who to keep in and who to kick out. In more scientifically defined terms, the “Pelvic floor muscles are the layer of muscles that support the pelvic organs and span the bottom of the pelvis. The pelvic organs are the bladder and bowel in men, and bladder, bowel and uterus in women.” Because of the pelvic floor, the most vital functions of an individual’s body can be properly performed.
Why is the pelvic floor important?
One of the most vital functions of the pelvic floor is to support the pelvic organs. The strength of muscle determines the strength in the facilitation of the pelvic organs in their functions. Furthermore, if the muscle is weak, it is more difficult for the organs to perform properly.
In order to better illustrate the importance of the pelvic floor, one must understand the organs that these muscles support. Below are the functions of the pelvic organs in relation to the pelvic floor.
The Sexual Function
The sexual function of both men and women demands a proper relationship between the pelvic organs and the pelvic floor. The Continence Foundation of Australia defines the importance of this relationship in the following way, “Pelvic floor muscles are…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.” This defined relationship, furthermore, illustrates the vitality of the strength in the pelvic floor. It is more difficult and more painful for an individual’s body to properly perform these sexual functions with a weak pelvic floor.
Releasing Waste In The Body
Passing waste through the bladder and bowels requires proper shifts between contracting and relaxing, similar to the sexual function. Contraction in the pelvic floor secures the organs in their place. This prevents the passage of waste from being released constantly. Relaxation, on the other hand, provides a release of urine and bowels. If the pelvic floor is strong, there will be a proper balance between the processes of contraction and relaxation. If the pelvic floor is weak, however, there will be less contraction and more release. This will result in irregular leaks from the bladder and bowels.
What weakens the pelvic floor?
In general, an individual’s age and weight can affect the strength of their pelvic floor. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) statistics concerning women, “Underweight and normal weight women were less likely to have a pelvic floor disorder (15.1 percent) than were overweight women (26.3 percent) and obese women (30.4 percent).” It has also been proven that pelvic floor disorders are more prevalent as an individual gets older, particularly for women. This can be due to how pregnancy and childbirth affect the women throughout their life. Lifting heavier when exercising, for men and women, has also been shown to loosen pelvic floor muscles. Click here for more causes of weakness within the pelvic floor.
How to strengthen the pelvic floor?
An individual can always strengthen their pelvic floor through particular exercises. In fact, it is highly recommended to continue to strengthen the pelvic floor throughout one’s life in order to prevent an imbalance of the contraction and relaxation processes in the body. These exercises will vary between men and women. Click here for the proper exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor. These exercises include illustrations and videos on how to perform them properly.
The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.