The pelvic floor is the base of the group of muscles referred to as your ‘core’. These muscles are located in your pelvis and stretch like a hammock from the pubic bone (at the front) to the coccyx or tail-bone (at the back) and from side to side (diagram 1).
The pelvic floor muscles work with your deep abdominal (tummy) and deep back muscles and diaphragm to stabilise and support your spine. They also help control the pressure inside your abdomen to deal with the pushing down force when you lift or strain – such as during exercise.
Diagram 1. The pelvic floor as part of the core
Pelvic floor muscles support the bladder and bowel in men, and the bladder, bowel and uterus in women. They also help maintain bladder and bowel control and play an important role in sexual sensation and function.
Pelvic floor muscles can be strengthened by doing pelvic floor muscle exercises (also known as ‘kegels’ or ‘kegel exercises’).
Female pelvic floor muscle – 3D animation
Male pelvic floor muscle – 3D animation