If you have any symptoms or concerns about your health, always seek the advice of a doctor or other health professional who is qualified to assess your specific situation.

Oops... laughing without leaking. Make it happen... defeat urinary stress incontinence
Home Resources All you need to know about your pelvic floor

Understanding the Anatomy and Function of your Pelvic Floor

The pelvic floor is made up of muscles and supportive tissues inside the lower abdomen. These muscles and tissues act as a hammock to support the organs and structures in the lower abdomen: the bladder, the uterus and the rectum. The pelvic floor not only supports these structures but also helps a woman to maintain control over urine flow when voiding her bladder and control over lower bowel function when voiding her rectum. 

normal-pelvic-floorThe pelvic floor includes many muscles that work together and are almost constantly active. This continuous activity is needed to help keep the pelvic structures supported. Other tissues, called fascia and ligaments, help the muscles support the organs and structures of the lower abdomen. The pelvic floor muscles and these tissues also provide structural support for the pelvic openings: the urethra, the vagina and the anus. These openings are attached to the pelvic floor so that the pelvic floor muscles can act on them.

The pelvic floor muscles are relaxed right before and during voiding. The tone of the pelvic floor muscles at rest for maintaining urinary continence (avoiding unwanted leaking of urine) may be more important than the strength exerted by the muscles when these are actively contracted.

The nerves of the pelvic floor and lower abdominal structures coordinate and control the structures through circuits in the brain and spinal cord. It is important to know that the muscles of the pelvic floor can be actively controlled or trained.

All these interconnected body structures act together to support the lower abdominal organs and structures and to preserve urinary and intestinal continence throughout a woman’s life.

Preserving your pelvic muscle tone is part of remaining in good physical shape.

For more information:

Last update: March 30, 2011