Pelvic floor for women
The floor of the pelvis is made up of layers of muscle and other tissues. These layers stretch like a hammock from the tailbone at the back, to the pubic bone in the front. The pelvic floor muscle supports and helps to control the bladder and bowel. It can also assist with sexual function and sensation.
The pelvic floor muscles can be weakened by:
- not keeping them active;
- pregnancy and childbirth;
- being overweight;
- heavy lifting;
- persistent coughing (such as smokers cough, bronchitis or asthma); and
- growing older.
Recent research has shown that with the help of a physiotherapist, an individual program of exercises can help bladder and bowel control. Proper pelvic floor muscle training will help a woman throughout her life, for example, during pregnancy, to help the body cope with baby's weight, and during menopause as the muscles change and possibly weaken.
It is very important for women to do Pelvic Floor Muscle Training daily to avoid bladder or bowel problems. The first thing to do is find out which muscles you need to train. When you feel the muscles working you can start pelvic floor muscles training.
What can I do?
For a step by step guide on how to train your pelvic floor muscles have a look at:
- Pelvic Floor Muscle Training for Women Brochure - Department of Health