Your guide to pelvic-floor health: Getting to know your pelvic floor

Your pelvic floor is a thick layer of muscles that stretches like a hammock from your coccyx (tailbone) to your pubic bone, supporting your pelvic organs. It has muscular bands (sphincters) that wrap firmly around the urethra and anus to allow you to control the release of urine, faeces and flatus (wind).

The pelvic floor muscles work with the deep abdominal (stomach) and back muscles to stabilise your spine, to support your baby during pregnancy and to assist with the birthing process. They are also important for sexual function and in women, contracting (squeezing) the pelvic floor muscles can contribute to sexual arousal.

Common pelvic floor problems

If your pelvic floor muscles become stretched or weakened, your pelvic organs may no longer be fully supported and you may lose control of your bladder or bowel movements. For some women, the pelvic floor muscles can also become too tight. This condition is less common, but it can lead to pelvic pain and make it difficult for you to empty your bladder or bowel completely.

Symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction include:

Accidentally leaking small amounts of urine when you cough, sneeze, bend, lift, laugh, exercise or play sport. This is known as stress incontinence.

Losing urine for no apparent reason, feeling a sudden and urgent need to urinate or needing to urinate more frequently than you should (under normal circumstances, women who drink 2L of fluid a day should urinate between 5 and 7 times). These symptoms can indicate that you have an overactive bladder or a condition called urge incontinence. This occurs when the bladder holds less urine than it should (the normal capacity of an adult woman's bladder is 350–500ml).

Feeling an urgent need to defecate, leaking faeces, soiling yourself before you reach a toilet or accidentally passing wind. These symptoms describe a condition known as faecal incontinence.

Finding it difficult to empty your bladder or bowel, or experiencing pain during sexual intercourse. These symptoms can occur when your pelvic floor muscles are too tight.

Feeling a bulge or ache in your vagina, finding it difficult to keep a tampon in place, or sensing heaviness, discomfort, pulling, dragging or dropping in your pelvic region. These symptoms can indicate pelvic organ prolapse. This occurs when one or more of your pelvic organs (your bladder, bowel or uterus) become displaced and sag down into your vagina.

The Holistic Core Restore® programmes were created for Women who are ready to take charge of not only their Pelvic and Core Health but also their total wellbeing. No more "oops" moments!!