August 2021 Most people have no idea where the pelvic floor is, much less what it does. I spend a lot of time explaining the role and function of the pelvic floor to my patients. The other day when I was talking to a patient, I had a brilliant insight into the role of the pelvic floor muscles (light bulb moment!!) and because I love a good word picture, I will share it with you!
Imagine the pelvis and its organs as an orchestra – several different sections with different purposes – and at the front and center of the pelvis (well, really the bottom) is the pelvic floor. This group of muscles can affect the function of all the organs and the organs rely on the pelvic floor to work well. If the muscles are too tight, the bladder and bowel are inhibited have difficulty emptying, while the vagina may have difficulty with penetration. If the pelvic floor is too weak, the bowel and bladder can function out of turn, emptying when not appropriate and letting organs slide into positions they don’t belong in. And if the pelvic floor is not talking well with the brain and the rest of your body, how can it properly coordinate all of these things? (Consider that the conductor might be in the shadows and cannot see nor be seen by the orchestra – everyone is just guessing at what they should be doing!)
Patients are often surprised that we ask about bowel, bladder and sexual activity when they come in for a pelvic assessment, but if we do not address the whole region, we may miss out on the opportunity to improve all of their pelvic functions. We often talk about fixing pelvic floor dysfunction (where the muscles are not doing their job properly) but I think I am going to start changing my tune and speaking more about creating pelvic harmony where the muscles are able to guide and support the function of the pelvic organs.
Restoring this balance would be music to my ears!