The pelvic floor is made up of several layers of muscles, tissues, and ligaments that support the bladder, urethra, uterus, vagina and rectum. The pelvic floor muscles are attached to the front, back and sides of the pelvic bones to create a substructure, which supports the pelvic organs. In addition to supporting the body's vital pelvic organs, the pelvic floor muscles help control and maintain continence and they serve a key purpose during childbirth.
Pelvic Floor Muscle Failure: Causes and Damage
Pelvic floor muscles may fail for several reasons. Although the muscles' job is to protect the female reproductive organs during childbirth, childbirth is the most common cause of pelvic floor failure. During vaginal childbirth, the supporting structures of the pelvis may weaken. This may cause the pelvic organs or small intestine to collapse and jut out into the vagina. Damaged nerves during childbirth may also cause muscle weakness.
Other less common factors in pelvic floor weakness or failure include chronic coughing, obesity, injuries, heavy lifting, tumors, overexertion during bowel movements and aging.
Strengthening Your Pelvic Floor Muscles
For information about how to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles with Kegel exercises see: