The pelvic floor muscles have been found to be dysfunctional in 77.2 % of patients presenting for urinary, gastrointestinal and sexual symptoms. The pelvic floor is a hammock-like web of muscle and connective tissue that attaches to the pelvic bones and supports the rectum, bladder and vagina (and the prostrate in men). A normal functioning pelvic floor is integral to managing increases in intra-abdominal pressure, provides rectal support during defecation, has in inhibitory effect of bladder activity, helps support pelvic organs, and assists in lumbopelvic stability. Coordinated release of the sphincters within a supporting extensible levator ani allows complete and effortless emptying. This anatomical and functional link is thought to be why dysfunction in a single organ leads to concomitant pelvic floor muscle dysfunction in neighboring organs. The pelvic floor muscles also contribute to one’s sexual appreciation or lack of.
The pictures below highlight the anatomy of the pelvic floor and the corresponding organs.
Should I do kegels?
Kegels are not for everyone. The research tells us that 51% of women actually do kegels incorrectly and 25% of women who do kegels for incontinence are performing a kegel in a manner that may make their incontinence worse. If you have a pain condition or a non-relaxing pelvic floor, kegels can actually make your condition worse.