The Pelvic Floor Muscles are a group of muscles in the base of the pelvis that stretch out like a hammock, from the pubic bone at the front, to the coccyx or tail bone at the back, and out to both sides. They provide support to the pelvic organs, help maintain bladder and bowel control, and play an important role in sexual function.
Your pelvic floor muscles should be able to contract correctly and relax fully. Problems can occur when the pelvic floor muscles are either stretched, weakened or too tight.
Research has shown that up to 50% of women using written instructions to do pelvic floor exercises do them incorrectly, which may make the problem worse.
Symptoms of a pelvic floor problem include:
Leaking urine when you cough, sneeze, exercise, lift or when getting out of a chair or bed
Difficulty reaching the toilet on time or needing to rush to get to the toilet
Needing to go the toilet frequently
Difficulty emptying your bladder or bowel
Difficulty controlling wind
A feeling of vaginal heaviness, dragging or bulge
Pain with sexual intercourse
Pain in the pelvic area
Common causes of pelvic floor muscle problems include:
Pregnancy and childbirth
Constipation and straining
Menopause and ageing
High impact sports
Constant bracing or over-training of 'core' muscles
Holding tension in the pelvic floor muscles due to stress
Pelvic floor muscle training under the guidance of a Continence and Women's Health Physiotherapist has been shown to be effective in treating these problems.
Virginia has completed postgraduate training in Continence and Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation and can help women and men of all ages to improve their bladder, bowel and pelvic floor muscle health.