Your Pelvic Floor: The FAQ’s

Your Pelvic Floor: The FAQ’s

Just like abdominal muscles and calves, everyone has a pelvic floor. Yep – even though the pelvic floor is talked about a lot when it comes to women’s health in physiotherapy, men you have one too – and it’s just as important.

As we get a lot of questions around the pelvic floor – which are occasionally met with hesitation due to the sensitive nature of problems associated with the pelvic floor – we thought we’d share with you our pelvic floor FAQ’s in the hope that these will cover some of the questions you’ve been wanting to ask!

Which parts or muscles make up my pelvic floor?

Men, your pelvic floor includes the muscles, ligaments, connective tissues and nerves that support your bladder, rectum and other pelvic organs.

Ladies, your pelvic floor is the muscles, ligaments, connective tissues and nerves that support your bladder, uterus, vagina and rectum in doing their job.

Think of your pelvic floor as a group of firm and thick muscles that extend from the tailbone to the pubic bone, and from side to side, to make a trampoline-like structure. There are passages through the pelvic floor for normal body function, and you can consciously control your pelvic floor muscles, contracting and relaxing them, much like any other muscles in your body.

What are the biggest problems affecting the pelvic floor?

If you’re worried about your pelvic floor – we promise you that you’re not alone! Pelvic floor disorders are more common than people realise – they’re just not often talked about publicly. Incontinence – both with the urinary tract and the bowels – is definitely one of the biggest problems that we help with. Pelvic organ prolapse is another, this is where the pelvic organs drop into, or out of the vagina or anus. We also see general pelvic floor dysfunction, where pelvic pain, a frequent need to urinate and painful intercourse may present. Other problems include haemorrhoids, pain, pressure or heavy/bulging in the pelvic floor, muscle spasms and difficulty with bowel movements.

What causes pelvic floor problems?

The most common cause in women is childbirth, though other causal or contributing factors in both genders include heavy lifting, straining, connective tissue weakness, previous injury or surgery in the area, and menopause and hormonal changes in women. Like any muscle, when there is some weakness or the muscles are overloaded, injury can occur.

Can I expect to get pelvic floor problems with age?

While pelvic floor problems become more common in age, they are still never ‘normal’, should never just be ‘put up with’, and should always be treated.

Will my pelvic floor ever return back to normal?

This is why we’re here! Just like other muscles that can rehabilitate with the right care, your pelvic floor can too. So, yes, you can definitely strengthen and improve the function of your pelvic floor – and if you stay mindful of it and actively look after your pelvic floor in the long-term, you can definitely keep any problems under control.

Do pelvic floor exercises really work?

Yes! We know they can be inconvenient, and repetitive, but there’s a good reason we prescribe them – they carry proven scientific backing. The evidence shows that pelvic floor muscle exercises are effective when the exercises are done correctly, meaning they’re carefully and knowledgeably taught by an experienced physiotherapist in Toowoomba. We have seen many people who have tried exercises from a pamphlet use incorrect techniques and repetitions which has given them substandard results.

Am I too old to start working on my pelvic floor?

Absolutely not! Research shows that older adults are just as likely to benefit from pelvic floor muscle exercises for incontinence as younger people.

How can physiotherapy help the pelvic floor?

As physiotherapists, we have a strong focus on rehabilitating and strengthening dysfunctional muscles and tissues – and this is exactly what’s happening when you have pelvic floor problems. It’s not just incontinence, but incontinence caused by muscle weakness, so if we can treat the cause of the problem, we can help your uncomfortable symptoms.

We create physical therapy programs that are uniquely tailored to your problems, symptoms and pains. This program will advance as we start seeing results, which is why it’s important to attend your regular physio appointments to get the best results in the shortest timeframe. We’ll talk through behavioural changes, how to help engage and relax your pelvic floor, and extra home care tips so you can get the best results.

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