Pelvic floor dysfunction, also known as PFD, is caused by weak or tight pelvic floor muscles. The pelvis also called the pelvic ring, is a roughly cylindrical shape composed of several articulating or fused bones plus associated muscles (e.g. those making up the “pelvic floor”) and ligaments. It receives the weight of the upper body and passes this weight on to the lower limbs via its articulations with the femurs. The stress in activities, such as walking or jumping, is absorbed by the pelvic floor muscles.

Pelvic floor diagram for display

Pelvic diagram

Who Is At Risk for Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?

Both men and women are at risk, however, women are more likely to have pelvic floor dysfunction than men. There are a few symptoms that are being discussed by doctors and physical therapists and their patients who are being treated for pelvic floor dysfunction:

  • Post labor or post-pregnancy
  • Overweight, extra weight can put a strain on the pelvic floor
  • Overworked, heavy lifting or strain to the lower back will put a strain on the pelvic floor muscles
  • Age
  • Pain during, or after intercourse, orgasm or sexual stimulation

* All symptoms should be discussed with your doctor or healthcare provider.

How can Pilates help?

Pilates exercises can strengthen pelvic floor muscles. The pelvic floor becomes stronger since every abdominal muscle is engaged in every exercise.

The core muscle includes the rectus abdominis, external oblique, internal oblique, and the transverse abdominis. The fibers of the transverse abdominis (TA) run almost horizontal. In addition to the TA, the external and internal obliques assist movement.  Therefore, focusing on pulling the deep abdominal wall inward toward the spine can help activate this muscle to maintain the desired neutral position of the pelvis. Commonly known as the “imprinted spine” function maintained during certain Pilates exercises.

Doing the exercise correctly and consistently will increase the strength of the pelvic floor muscles and will decrease the risk of pelvic floor dysfunction. The pelvic curl is one of the best exercises to keep the pelvic floor strong.

If you would like to find out more about Pilates and your health,  please contact us to learn more.

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The Pilates Room

We work with the Seacoast and beyond in areas surrounding Portsmouth, Rye, Newcastle, Dover, Kittery, Greenland, Stratham, Exeter, Newmarket, Lee.  Also southern Maine in areas surrounding Kittery, Eliot, and York.

The Pilates Room Portsmouth