Even though there is more open talk about private things happening these days, many women still don’t understand the bottom of their cores. We’re so glad you’ve come here to learn about your pelvic floor, its role in your core strength, and how you can nourish it in safe, beneficial ways to prevent or even treat issues like incontinence, prolapse, and painful intercourse.
Why does your core’s floor matter?
The pelvic floor is a highly vascular group of muscles, ligaments, connective tissue, and nerves. It is not one muscle like many people think. It is actually a whole group of important structures that play some pretty important roles in the body.
This video has some tips for you about how the way you stand, sit, and exercise can affect your pelvic floor. Below the video, you’ll find more educational content.
- 1: Supports Spine & Pelvis
- 2: Continence
- 3: Respiration
- 4: Sex
- 5: Core Control/Stabilization
- 6: Holds Internal Organs in Place
Supports Your Spine and Pelvis
The pelvic floor attaches to the pubic joint in front, the tailbone in the back, and the two sitz bones. The muscles, ligaments, and connective tissue layer interconnect to provide support to the bony attachment points of the spine (at the tailbone) and the pelvis (at the sitz bones and the pubic joint). If the pelvic floor is injured, weak, or too tight, it can impair the ability to provide support. This can turn into back pain, tailbone pain, pubic joint pain, pelvic pain, and overall instability in our core.
A key role of the pelvic floor is to help us choose when to pee. When we get the urge to pee, the pelvic floor muscles help control whether or not we make it to a bathroom in time. This is a pretty important ability! The pelvic floor also prevents urine from leaking during exertion, such as a cough, sneeze, laugh or jump. If the pelvic floor is weak or tight, has any nerve damage, or is not properly aligned with its core function partners, then we lose the ability to make it to the bathroom in time and we leak during activities that cause an increase in intra-abdominal pressure.
The pelvic floor muscles work together with the breathing diaphragm for proper respiration. The pelvic floor lengthens (eccentrically contracts) during inspiration (breathing in) and shortens (concentrically contracts) during expiration (breathing out). If the pelvic floor is weak, too tight or not properly aligned, breathing is impaired and we become inefficient at taking air in and delivering it to the rest of our body.
The pelvic floor muscles are integral in sexual satisfaction. Too tight, and sex can be painful (dyspareunia), too lax (weak), and the woman may not feel any stimulation and the man may not be able to maintain an erection.
Proper alignment, optimal breathing patterns, pelvic floor physiotherapy and supportive pelvic floor exercise are key to the long term health and function of our pelvic floor. So the next time you are doing the ‘core’ portion of your workout, remember to throw in some core breathing to ensure you are truly training your core.
The pelvic floor is part of the core and is integral to our control and stability. The pelvic floor muscles are part of the deep inner system of core stabilization, and they work together with the abdominals and multifidus to control movement of the lumbopelvic unit during our activities. The pelvic floor is really the foundation of our core, and when it lacks the ability to control and stabilize, we become increasingly unstable, and therefore unable to manage the loads we place on ourselves such as picking up our children, holding a plank, running and bootcamp.
Holds The Internal Organs in Place
The pelvic floor muscles are key in keeping our internal organs in place. Our bladder, uterus and rectum are all supported by the pelvic floor. If the pelvic floor is, you guessed it, weak, too tight, or not well aligned it loses its ability to support the organs resulting in pelvic organ prolapse; when the organs descend into and eventually out of the vagina.
Bridge with Core Breath
Supine Thigh Press for Rectus Activation
If you want more from me, I’m happy to assist you in any way I can help. I’m a fitness doula and pelvic floor specialist who loves working with women who are ready to get stronger! Please contact me through Pelvienne Wellness and be sure to check out my new Ab Tank splinting system for core recovery at Bellies, Inc.