ANATOMY LESSON #1 – What is your pelvic floor? (Yes men AND women have a pelvic floor!)
What is your Pelvic Floor?
Pelvic floor refers to the muscles supporting the pelvis, inferiorly. These muscles are rarely discussed, but perform very important duties in terms of bladder/bowel function and health, as well as support all internal organs. Pelvic floor muscles work in concert with the diaphragm during breathing.
So what are the muscles of the pelvic floor? There are 3 layers of the pelvic floor starting from the most superficial and working our way deep. (Refer to first image below.)
-Bulbocavernosus (bulbospongiosus in men)
-Superficial transverse perineal
-External anal sphincter
Layer Two - Urogenital Diaphragm
-Urethral sphincter (sphincter urethrae)
-Sphincter urethral vaginalis
-Deep transverse perineal
Layer Three - Pelvic Diaphragm
-Levator ani (pubococcygeus, pubovaginalis, puborectalis, iliococcygeus)
Perineal Body – “central tendon of the pelvis” many pelvic floor structures connect with the perineum at this structure.
As you can see there are many small but mighty muscles that play a role in the functioning of your pelvic floor! Lets further break down the function of each muscular layer! (Refer to second image below)
-Superficial transverse perineal: stabilizes the perineal body
-Isciocavernosus, bulbospongiosus/bulbocavernosus: move blood within the pelvic floor to support clitoris and erect penis
-External Anal Sphincter: closes anal canal, important for bowel continence
-External urethral spincter: responsible for urinary continence, must relax for urination to occur
-Deep transverse perineal: stabilizes perineal body
-Compressor Urethra (women only): accessory sphincter of urethra for urinary incontinence
-Sphincter Urethrovaginalis (women only): accessory spincter of urethra for urinary incontinence, may also help close vagina
-Levator Ani: all function to support pelvic organs
-Pubococcygeus: pulls coccyx toward pubic bone
-Pubovaginalis: closes and lifts vagina
-Puborectalis: elevate and constrict anal canal
-Iliococcygeus: pull rectum and vagina forward (closing)
-Coccygeus: support pelvic organs, flexes coccyx, stabilizes sacroiliac joint
-Obturator Internus & Piriformis: External rotators of the hip, abductors of hip when flexed
If you believe you are having an issue with your pelvic floor, we can help! Both Dr. Lauren and Dr. Sarah are trained in pelvic floor rehabilitation.
Schedule your appointment today!