The Importance of Strong Pelvic Floor Muscles
Incontinence, prolapse, and other pelvic floor disorders are often shrouded in shame and embarrassment. Women (and men) suffering from these conditions often feel like they’re alone, and that they have to just deal with the complex symptoms and constant anxiety.
With a Lane Cove physio and an understanding of the pelvic floor muscles, you don’t have to.
Pelvic Floor Muscles in Women
The pelvic floor muscles play an important role in supporting the organs of the pelvis, including the bladder, bowel, and uterus. The pelvic floor muscles are also responsible for urinary continence (the ability to hold urine in the bladder) and faecal continence (the ability to hold stool in the rectum).
Pelvic Floor Muscles in Men
The pelvic floor muscles also play an important role in supporting the organs of the pelvis in men. These muscles are responsible for sexual function by providing support for the erectile tissue during sexual arousal and helping to maintain erection during intercourse. Pelvic floor muscle exercises can help to improve sexual function by increasing blood flow to the area and strengthening the muscles.
Pelvic Floor Muscle Anatomy
The pelvic floor muscles are a layer of muscle that extends from the pubic bone to the tailbone. There are two layers of muscle: the superficial layer and the deep layer. The superficial layer is made up of the bulbocavernosus muscle, ischiocavernosus muscle, and superficial transverse perineal muscle.
The deep layer is made up of the levator ani muscle, pubococcygeus muscle, iliococcygeus muscle, coccygeus muscle, and puborectalis muscle.
The levator ani muscle is made up of three parts: the iliococcygeus muscle, pubococcygeus muscle, and coccygeus muscle. These muscles support the pelvic organs and help to control urination and bowel movements. They also help to sexual function by providing support during sexual intercourse.
The pubococcygeus muscle is sometimes called the “love” or “PC” muscle because it is involved in sexual function. This muscle helps to control urination and ejaculation in men. In women, this muscle helps to contract during orgasm.”
Pelvic Floor Muscle Injuries
The most common type of pelvic floor muscle injury is a tear in the levator ani muscle. This type of injury can occur during childbirth or with heavy lifting. Other common injuries include strains and sprains in the pelvic floor muscles. These types of injuries can occur with sudden changes in direction or with overstretching.
Physiotherapy can help to treat levator ani and coccygeus injuries by:
- Reducing pain
- Improving muscle function
- Improving flexibility
- Improving strength
- Improving coordination
- Improving balance
- Improving posture
- Reducing stress and anxiety
- Teaching proper body mechanics
How Can Lane Cove Physiotherapy Help?
A trained physiotherapist that is knowledgeable in treating pelvic floor dysfunction can help you coordinate and strengthen key muscle groups in your core, including your pelvic floor muscles.
Physiotherapy for pelvic floor dysfunction typically includes a combination of exercises that strengthen the core muscle groups surrounding the pelvis as well as exercises that directly target the pelvic floor muscles themselves. Kegel exercises are one type of exercise that targets the pelvic floor muscles specifically.
A recent study published in The Journal of Urology found that two-thirds of women who underwent eight weeks of pelvic floor muscle training reported significant improvements in their symptoms. In addition, the study found that there were no adverse effects associated with the use of physical therapy for the treatment of pelvic floor disorders. These findings suggest that physical therapy is a safe and effective treatment option for women suffering from urinary incontinence, faecal incontinence, and pelvic organ prolapse.
If you are suffering from urinary incontinence, faecal incontinence, or pelvic organ prolapse, you should know that you are not alone. There are millions of other women out there who are also dealing with these conditions. You don’t have to suffer in silence.
Help is available in the form of physiotherapy. Physiotherapists are trained to treat the muscles, ligaments, and connective tissues that support the pelvis and can provide you with specific exercises and treatments to help relieve your symptoms.
By strengthening your pelvic floor muscles with physiotherapy exercises—both those that target the muscles directly and those that target other core muscle groups—you can improve your urinary continence, faecal continence, and reduce or eliminate pelvic pain. If you’re ready to take control of your life and get relief from your pelvic floor disorder symptoms, contact Lane Cove Physio today.
 Woodley SJ, Lawrenson P, Boyle R, Cody JD, Mørkved S, Kernohan A, Hay-Smith EJC. Pelvic floor muscle training for preventing and treating urinary and faecal incontinence in antenatal and postnatal women. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2020 May 6;5(5):CD007471. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD007471.pub4. PMID: 32378735; PMCID: PMC7203602.