Open Accessibility Menu

How to Find Your Pelvic Floor

How to Find Your Pelvic Floor

Now that you have an idea of what your pelvic floor is and what you may be experiencing “down there,” what can you do about it? Luckily, in Louisiana you can see a pelvic floor physical therapist directly, meaning you don’t need a doctor’s order to see a PT! Physical therapists are trained to recognize signs and symptoms that may indicate that you need to see a doctor, so if your issues are more serious, a PT will let you know that you should follow up with your doctor.

Let’s start with a recap: your pelvic floor is the group of muscles that span between your sit bones (the lower part of your pelvis) and from the pubic bone to the tail bone. These muscles hold in all of your pelvic organs, control bowel and bladder function, have a huge role to play in sex, and also in childbirth.

When these muscles squeeze, you should feel an upward, inward movement. Imagine you have a marble at the opening of your vagina, and as you squeeze your pelvic floor, you’re gently lifting the marble. Similarly, when you relax the pelvic floor, you should feel a release and downward movement of the muscles, like you’re setting the marble down. Movement in both directions is very important.

Another easy way to identify the pelvic floor is to look with a hand mirror. When looking at your vulva (the external part of the female genitals), you should see the perineum (the area between vagina and anus) tuck up and in when you squeeze the pelvic floor, and then come back down when you relax the pelvic floor. You should be able to create this movement without holding your breath, sucking in your belly, or squeezing your inner thighs or butt cheeks.

You can also try finding your pelvic floor while sitting on an exercise ball or rolled towel. While sitting up straight, try to identify the borders of your pelvic floor -- pubic bone in the front, sit bones on the sides, and tail bone in the back -- like a diamond shape. Then, try to lift the middle of the diamond up from the ball or towel without using your belly, legs or butt cheeks, then drop the middle of the diamond back down onto the ball. Again, both of these movements are necessary for good pelvic floor function.

Finally, I’ll leave you with a few of the most common pelvic floor blunders:

  1. Don’t power pee! Try relaxing your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles by taking some deep breaths to fully empty your bladder versus bearing down and forcing urine out.
  2. Don’t start and stop the flow! While this can be a way to identify your pelvic floor, it’s not a good way to exercise. This can actually mess with the way your bladder empties and set you up for bladder infections.
  3. Don’t restrict fluids! If you’re struggling with bladder leakage, urgency or frequency, you may think drinking less water is the answer. Actually, this can make your urine more concentrated and increase your bladder issues. So keep drinking water, aiming for 50-80 oz. per day.
Now you know a few ways to find your pelvic floor, but if you’re still struggling, fear not! There are excellent pelvic floor physical therapists in the greater Baton Rouge area who are specially trained to assess your pelvic floor, address your impairments, and help you meet your goals.