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The Pelvic Floor

The “pelvic floor” refers to a group of muscles that attach to the front, back and sides of the pelvic bone and sacrum (the large fused bone at the base of the spine, just above the tailbone). Like a sling or hammock, these muscles support the organs in the pelvis, including the bladder, uterus or prostate and rectum. They also wrap around the urethra, rectum, and vagina (in women).

Coordinated contracting and relaxing of these muscles controls bowel and bladder functions—the pelvic floor must relax to allow for urination, bowel movements and in women, sexual intercourse. It is estimated that one in four women experience women’s health problems during their lifetime. This includes problems with their pelvic floor.

Pelvic floor weakness can be caused by various issues including childbirth, aging, chronic cough, hormonal changes such as menopause, excessive straining due to constipation, constant lifting of heavy objects, obesity and pregnancy.

A Physiotherapist will design a treatment program specifically for you, based on your functional ability levels, aims and goals. Progress is regularly reviewed and treatment programs are modified to help you achieve the best outcome possible.
* Regularly exercise the pelvic floor muscles, including exercises called “Pelvic Clocks” and “Kegels” to strengthen the muscles in the pelvic region. By carrying out a regular exercise program you can train your pelvic floor back to good health.
* Electrotherapeutic modalities such as ultrasound.
* Soft tissue manipulation.
* Advice on relaxing the muscles before strengthening the pelvic floor area is important.
* Maintaining good posture to keep pressure off your bladder and pelvic organs and using stretching or other techniques such as Pilates to
avoid tightening and spasms in the other pelvic muscles.
* Avoid pushing or straining when urinating.
* Training in home exercise and therapy.
* Patient education.

There is good evidence to show that strengthening the pelvic floor muscles and making some lifestyle changes can reduce or resolve symptoms of a pelvic floor weakness.


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