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The Importance of the Pelvic Floor

The Importance of the Pelvic Floor

Sexual and digestive health are vital to your overall well-being, and they’re connected in more ways than you might think.

Your pelvic region contains your bladder, genitals, urethra, and anus, all held in place by a group of muscles that make up the pelvic floor (or perineum). If something goes wrong with these muscles, it can lead to complications that affect your ability to perform basic bodily functions.

Women in and around Boston, Massachusetts, who are experiencing problems with their pelvic floor muscles can turn to Dr. Neeraj Kohli and the team at BostonUrogyn. Our state-of-the-art facility is designed to provide patients with the best and most personalized treatment and care.

Let’s examine how your pelvic floor works, and what can happen if something goes wrong with the muscles in that area.

What your pelvic floor does

Here are the main muscles in your pelvic floor:

Levator ani

The dominant muscle in your pelvic floor, it helps with pushing during childbirth and defecation.

Transverse perineal muscle

This muscle stretches laterally across the vagina and ensures the stability of the central tendon of the perineum.

Bulbocavernosus muscle

This vaginal muscle connects to the external anal sphincter, helps with clitoris erection, and contracts during orgasm.

Ischiocavernosus muscle

This muscle tenses the vagina and helps to flex the anal muscles.

These muscles provide a bowl-shaped support for all the organs and tissue in your pelvic region. During childbirth, they wrap around your child’s head as it moves through the birth canal.

When these muscles are damaged or weakened, they can cause major problems.

Understanding pelvic floor dysfunction

Pelvic floor dysfunction has a variety of causes, including:

Overusing the pelvic floor muscles can also cause problems, for example, pushing too hard when you’re using the bathroom or going too often.

If the pelvic floor muscles become weak or too tense, it can create problems with your bladder, uterus, vagina, and anus. 

Symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction include:

Pelvic floor dysfunction can also lead to painful sex and increase your risk of conditions like interstitial cystitis.

Treating pelvic floor dysfunction

Generally, pelvic floor problems are treated nonsurgically with exercises, relaxation techniques, biofeedback, and medications.

Biofeedback, a way to retrain muscles, is a common treatment that helps over 75% of people with pelvic floor problems. Physical therapy, often done alongside biofeedback, includes Kegel exercises and can help reestablish muscle coordination. 

Relaxation techniques like baths, acupuncture, and yoga may also be recommended to ease tense muscles. Stool-softening medications (including over-the-counter brands like Senna, MiraLAX® and Colace®) can ease discomfort.

Don’t let pelvic floor dysfunction disrupt your life. To get expert help from Dr. Kohli and BostonUrogyn, call one of our Boston area locations, including Wellesley and South Weymouth, or book your appointment online today.

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