Dr. Dugan shares what experts mean when they refer to the pelvic floor.
So the pelvic floor is a kind of a trampoline upon which rests your organs, and this trampoline is made of muscles, and just like muscles in other part of the body, they originate from one part of a bone and they might insert to another part of the bone. So it’s very well described that we call the origin and the insertion.
We also know what job the particular part of the pelvic floor that that muscle group has to do. So there are some muscles that are more related to what’s happening with your urethra, which would be in the front of your pelvic floor, and then there’s muscles that have more to do with what’s happening with your rectum, which would be in the back of the pelvic floor.
So this large group back here is called the levator ani because its main job is to keep the anus and the colon elevated. So levator ani. They also have to maintain the position of your organs. So the way your bladder and your uterus sit inside, and we know that after, let’s say, several pregnancies where you have this large head, a bowling ball, coming out between this small sort of teacup size area that they do stretch and they can be injured.
So women that have had several children may have a different amount of tension in their pelvic floor. Sometimes it has low tension and things can fall down or prolapse, and sometimes if there is pain in these muscles, they shorten and they cause pain and they don’t relax well. So you might have trouble emptying your bladder or emptying your bowels.
About Dr. Dugan, M.D.:
Dr. Sheila A. Dugan, M.D., is Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the Rush Medical College, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois. She is a faculty member of the Department of Neurosurgery and the Department of Preventive Medicine. She is co-medical director of the Rush Program for Abdominal and Pelvic Health.
Dr. Dugan is multi board-certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation, electrodiagnostic medicine and pain medicine. She is highly skilled in neurological and sports-related rehabilitation. Prior to medical school, she received her physical therapy degree from Northwestern University in 1986. She's currently pursuing development of a program focused on women's musculoskeletal care, including both their medical and rehabilitation needs.