When talking about your pelvic floor muscles what are the essentials you need to know?
These small and sometimes seemingly insignificant muscles do a whole lot that you probably don’t even know about and wouldn’t even realise.
Reality is you can thank these muscles for pleasure and avoiding embarrassment!These important muscles form a sling like support system at the base of your pelvis. They work on some level without you even knowing it which is why sometimes they stop working as well as they should. Hence we need as strengthening program to get the working well but also learn to switch them off when needed.
Here are some must know Pelvic Floor facts:
- The pelvic floor muscles are made up of Pubococcygeus, Iliococcygeus, Coccygeus & Puborectalis. They sound really long and complicated but make up our superficial and deep layers of the muscles.
- Pelvic floor exercises are the same as “doing your Kegels” ( kegels is just the American term. You have no idea how many times i’m asked this)
- When pelvic floor muscles are tightened or contracted you get a closing and a lifting sensation of the vaginal walls.
- They are important to us throughout our whole life especially as a woman. During pregnancy, the post partum period and onwards.
- The muscles play a role in starting and stopping the flow of urine based on a contraction of the detrusor muscles. For more see our bladder blog
- Men have pelvic floor muscles too. Surprise, surprise They are important for avoiding the post urinating drip. They can also have issues when the prostate becomes enlarged and presses on the nerves innovating the pelvic floor muscles.
- They provide support your pelvic organs from below. Vital for any kind of exercise especially jumping & running. Also anything that causes an increase in intra abdominal pressure Eg coughing, sneezing & laughing.
- They play a role with sexual sensation. The pelvic floor muscles help the clitoris become enlarged with contraction and can increase the sensation of an orgasm when contracted at the same time.
- Assist in baby delivery. The pelvic floor muscles help guide the baby’s head into the birthing canal when the time is ready.
- They are just like any other muscles in the body. They have blood flow, you can strengthen them, relax them and they can become tight and cause other issues.
- Slow twitch and fast twitch fibres. Which work like any other muscles, slow to perform endurance type activities and fast to stop the flow of urine quickly.
- Pain and swelling can inhibit your muscle control. The same as a lot of muscles in the body when we have pain and swelling it can interfere with the function of your muscles.
So many reasons to be thankful for these muscles! And if you don’t think you know how to activate them or wondering how strong you are? Take our Pelvic Floor Quiz below and find out.