What are the Basics of Pelvic Floor Health?

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Pelvic Floor Health

The pelvic floor is a group of muscles and connective tissues (ligaments and fascia) located at the base of the pelvis, forming a hammock-like structure that supports the pelvic organs. It spans the area between the pubic bone at the front and the tailbone (sacrum and coccyx) at the back. It also attaches side to side from one pelvic bone to the other (ischial spines). While it can be difficult or uncomfortable for some people to express problems related to the pelvic floor, or learning about the subject, pelvic floor dysfunction can significantly impact a person’s health and quality of life. Dr. Deryk Harting, a member of one of the highest ranked auto injury medical facilities in the Tampa Bay area, explains the magnitude of pelvic floor health.

The pelvic floor is important for several critical functions in the human body. The pelvic floor muscles act as a supportive muscular diaphragm for the pelvic organs keeping them in their proper places. These organs include the bladder, uterus/vagina (in females), prostate (in males), large intestine and rectum. Another significant role of the pelvic floor is maintaining urinary and fecal continence. They help control the release of urine and feces by contracting or relaxing to close or open the urethra and anal canal. Weak or dysfunctional pelvic floor muscles can lead to urinary and fecal incontinence. The pelvic floor muscles, in coordination with abdominal and back muscles, are also crucial for core stability as they attach the pelvis to the spine. These muscles provide resistance to increases of intra-abdominal/pelvic pressures during coughing, sneezing, or heavy lifting. A strong and well-coordinated core is essential for maintaining good posture, balance, and overall body movement. A strong pelvic floor can also help alleviate and prevent lower back and pelvic pain. It provides support to the lower spine and pelvis, reducing the strain on these areas.

Proper sexual function of both males and females involves optimal pelvic floor health. The pelvic floor muscles contract during sexual arousal in females while supporting erectile function in males. During childbirth, the pelvic floor muscles need to stretch significantly to allow the baby to pass through the birth canal. Having strong and flexible pelvic floor muscles can help shorten labor and prevent complications such as vaginal tearing. Childbirth can also weaken pelvic floor muscles and lead to pelvic organ prolapse, a condition in which the pelvic organs (uterus, bladder, rectum) descend and press against the vaginal walls and cause a protrusion. Properly functioning pelvic floor muscles can reduce this risk. Pelvic floor weakness can also be caused by certain pelvic surgeries such as prostate surgery in men or gynecological procedures in women. Maintaining a healthy pelvic floor can aid in a smoother and faster recovery.

Overall, the pelvic floor’s importance lies in its contribution to critical bodily functions and its role in maintaining overall health. Proper care and attention to the pelvic floor can help prevent problems and improve the quality of life for both men and women. There are several exercises that can help strengthen and improve pelvic floor health. One of the most well-known pelvic floor exercises is called Kegel exercises. Here is how to perform Kegel exercises:

  • Identify the pelvic floor muscles: The first step is to locate the pelvic floor muscles. The easiest way to do this is to stop the flow of urine midstream while using the bathroom. The muscles used to do this are the pelvic floor muscles.
  • Empty your bladder: After identifying the pelvic floor muscles, empty your bladder to ensure you are not performing Kegels with a full bladder, as this can lead to urinary tract issues.
  • Perform the Kegel exercise: Tighten the pelvic floor muscles as if you are trying to stop the flow of urine or prevent passing gas. The contraction should be felt around the anus, vagina (in females), and urethra. Try to avoid contracting the abdominal or gluteal (buttock) muscles during the exercise.
  • Hold and release: Hold the contraction for about 5 seconds, then release and relax the muscles for 5 seconds. Repeat this cycle 10 to 15 times in one session.
  • Frequency: Aim to do 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions of Kegel exercises each day.

In addition to Kegel exercises, there are other exercises that can complement and improve pelvic floor health:

  • Core bracing: While standing, place your thumbs on your sides with fingers pointed towards the belly button. Breathe into your stomach and abdomen until you feel your thumbs move outward. Imagine filling your abdomen with air in all 360 degrees; the belly button will also push out. Hold this position for 3-5 seconds, relax, and repeat. Bracing your core should be the starting position before any heavy lifting.
  • Bridge pose: Start with your core braced (as above). Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift your hips off the floor, engaging your glutes and pelvic floor muscles. Hold for a few seconds and lower your hips back down. Repeat several times.
  • Dead bug exercise: Start with your core braced (as above). Lie on your back with your arms extended towards the ceiling and your knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Slowly lower one arm and the opposite leg towards the floor while keeping your lower back pressed into the ground. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
  • Yoga: Certain yoga poses, like the cat-cow pose and child’s pose, can help improve pelvic floor strength and flexibility.

Lastly, remember to consult with a healthcare professional, especially a pelvic floor physical therapist or urologist, before starting any exercise regimen, particularly if you have specific pelvic floor issues or concerns. They can provide personalized recommendations and ensure you are performing the exercises correctly.

— This article is written by Deryk Harting, DC, one of the members of Chambers Medical Group’s team of car accident chiropractors who offer a variety of treatments and therapies ranging from diagnostic testing to various soft tissue therapies for car accidents and injuries in Florida.




















































Have you been in a car accident? If you or somebody you know has been in a car accident, be sure that you seek medical attention from a car accident doctor or car accident chiropractor to treat your injuries. Visit Chambers Medical Group  to receive world-class medical treatment for your injuries.

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