Pelvic Floor 101

Do you know where your pelvic floor is on your body? Do you know which muscles are connected to it? Do you know how to activate it? Fact: Everyone has a pelvic floor. However, when we think of retraining or rehabilitating a pelvic floor…

Do you know where your pelvic floor is on your body?

Do you know which muscles are connected to it?

Do you know how to activate it?

Fact:  Everyone has a pelvic floor.  

However, when we think of retraining or rehabilitating a pelvic floor, most of us think specifically about women who lose control of their bladder when coughing, sneezing, laughing, jumping, or anything fun for that matter.

Women most often seek out pelvic floor rehab after having children or later in life.

Men, on the other hand, are rarely steered towards pelvic rehab which has the potential to reduce frequent urination that is often blamed solely on prostate dysfunction.

Let’s step back for a moment and I encourage you to think of your core as a bowl.

When addressing the entirety of the core we have to include all of the active participants. The abdominal and back muscles are the corset portion and the bottom of the bowl is your pelvic floor). Without strengthening the bottom of the bowl, we lose the contents of the bowl – i.e. bowel, bladder, and organ prolapse.

Pelvic floor dysfunction can present as bladder and bowel incontinence or weakness, overactive bladder, pelvic organ prolapse, unwanted orgasms during exercise/exertion, and painful sexual intercourse.

Your pelvic floor functions in endurance and quick burst strength. Endurance is the static hold our pelvic floor maintains to keep the contents of our abdomen inside during walking, sitting, and laying down. The quick burst strength is necessary for coughing, sneezing, laughing, running, jumping, etc. Our pelvic floor is operating ideally when it can increase the steady-tension-state contraction automatically.

Traditional pelvic floor exercises, like Kegels, miss the incorporation of other muscles that are attached to help activate the pelvic floor efficiently. Connections between the muscles of the thigh (adductors, deep hip internal rotators, and gluteal muscles) to the pelvic floor allow strengthening to become more dynamic.

The Core + Pelvic Floor Method additionally incorporates the breath in the form of a hard ‘HAH’ sound during specific exercises further activating the pelvic floor—especially for the quick burst type of contraction. Think about aggressively fogging up a mirror when incorporating this breath. 

Imagine your pelvic floor as the bottom of your ‘core bowl’.   Fascia connections allow other muscles in your body to help activate and coordinate the muscles of your pelvic floor.

The diagrams above show the musculature, the boney attachments, and the fascia/ligaments that all support and help keep your pelvic floor stable.  

When any muscle is not doing its job, another structure is going to suffer.

When a ligament or segment of fascia is not the supportive partner it was designed to be, another structure is going to hurt.

Tight muscles are dysfunctional muscles.

Often the pelvic floor is hypertonic – meaning it’s in a constant state of some degree of contraction.  Could you imagine keeping your bicep constantly flexed?  If that were the case, not only will your bicep start screaming at you, but the other muscles and structures in the vicinity will join in on the cacophony.

The traditional thought is that internal manual therapy by a specialized physical therapist or surgery is the only route to restoring the pelvic floor.

Not true.

After becoming completing several continuing education courses in physical therapy which focus on pelvic floor rehabilitation and becoming a certified Pfilates instructor, I felt as though something was still missing.

I proceeded to develop the Core + Pelvic Floor Method (initially on accident, but ultimately refined) which addresses the fitness and coordination components that other programs are lacking.  

If you are experiencing any of the following, addressing your pelvic floor may be a part of the solution:

  • Bladder incontinence, urgency, or weakness 

  • Bowel incontinence, urgency, or weakness

  • Overactive bladder 

  • Pelvic organ prolapse 

  • Unwanted orgasms during exercise/exertion 

  • Painful sexual intercourse

  • Unresolved back pain

  • Unresolved hip pain

There is help available, from the privacy of your own home!