What Is a Pelvic Floor and Why Should You Take Care of it?
The pelvic floor is generally identified as a group of muscles that are situated in the lower abdominal region. It consists of four types of muscles- namely, the pubococcygeus, iliococcygeus, coccygeus, and puborectalis muscles. They form the base of the group of muscles generally referred to as the 'core.' These muscles are supported by the back muscles, the diaphragm (breathing muscle), and the lower abdominal (tummy) muscles that maintain pressure inside the abdomen and help support the spine.
What Does the Pelvic Floor Do?
The primary objective of the pelvic floor is to control the release of urine, flatus, and feces. This muscle is also crucial for controlling sexual functioning in both men and women. It plays an important role in erectile function and ejaculation in men, and for women, it contributes to voluntary contractions (squeezing) for sexual sensation and arousal. Another crucial function of the pelvic floor muscles in women is to provide support for the baby during pregnancy.
Some other functions of the pelvic floor include:
- Stabilization - Pelvic floor muscles stabilize the hips and trunk (torso), helping a person stand upright and walk. They work in unison with the hip muscles, lumbar spine, and diaphragm.
- Support - Pelvic floor muscles support the bladder, colon, rectum, vagina, cervix, and uterus.
Where Is It Located in Your Body?
The pelvic floor is located in between the tailbone or the coccyx and the pubic bone or the pelvis. It stretches to form a hammock-like structure, hence the name pelvic floor. It supports various organs and is vital for the proper functioning of those organs.
What Happens If Your Pelvic Floor Is Too Loose or Too Tight?
Now that you know where your pelvic floor is located, it is important to know what happens if it becomes too loose or tight. If the muscles are too tight or too tender, you might have pelvic or tailbone pain, problems with bowel or bladder, hips, or sexual dysfunction.
A loose pelvic floor can also cause problems, as it can lead to severe lower back pain. The pelvic floor muscles work in coordination with the back and abdominal muscles; if either of them malfunctions, the other group becomes overworked and sore.
Overly tightened pelvic floor muscles can also cause pain and soreness and are often caused by anxiety and stress.
How Often Should You Do Pelvic Floor Exercises?
Regularly exercising helps you stay fit, strengthens muscles, and keeps health issues at bay. Similarly, pelvic floor exercises are very important since they:
- Decrease the risk of prolapse (in women)
- Help in quicker recovery from childbirth and surgery (in women)
- Ensure better recovery after prostate surgery (in men)
- Increase sexual sensation
- Improve bladder and bowel control
It is recommended that you exercise your pelvic floor muscles every day and throughout your lifetime. Start slowly by exercising once daily, and then gradually build up pace over time to three to five times every day.
Now that you understand the importance of pelvic floor muscles, make sure you take care of this essential part of your lower body. By keeping your pelvic floor healthy and the muscles strong, you can keep the vital organs it supports healthy as well.
If you are facing problems with your hip or pelvic floor, do not hesitate to contact a healthcare professional near you and get treated for any irregularities in your pelvic floor. You can contact us for a consultation and advice at North Atlanta Women's Care for any pelvic floor-related issues.
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