From mainstream media to kegel TikTok, the pelvic floor is finally getting loads of attention and we couldn’t be happier to see it. The more people learn about their pelvic floor, the less likely they are to “just deal” with the common-but-not-normal symptoms that arise when it isn’t working properly — symptoms like bladder and bowel leaks, pain with sex, and that heavy feeling that can signal pelvic organ prolapse.
If you’ve been reading up on this incredible part of the body, you’ve probably developed a decent understanding of what your pelvic floor does. But do you know where exactly it’s located in your body and what it looks like? That’s what we were curious to find out when we asked some people with vaginal anatomy to quickly sketch a portrait of their pelvic floor.
The results were both funny and fascinating. Check them out below, along with some comments from Origin physical therapist Ashley Rawlins, PT, DPT.
IT'S A Tangled Web
Ashley's take: “I love that this pelvic floor is drawn to look like a spider web or net, because that's basically what a pelvic floor is — a complex network of elements (muscles, nerves, blood vessels, tissues) that come together to support your pelvic organs and overall pelvic. health. And yes, the artist's notes are correct, the pelvic floor does extend side-to-side between the sit bones and front to back between the tailbone and pubic bone.”
MEET The Minimalist
Ashley's take: “With simple lines and geometric shapes, this is pelvic floor minimalism at its best. It’s also a pretty accurate lineup of the pelvic contents from the front looking in: the pelvic floor forms a hammock of support surrounding the vagina, which leads up to the uterus and ovaries. Also in the front view is the bladder. Well done!”
LAID OUT FLAT
Ashley's take: “This reminds me of how the pelvic floor can look if it's been pulled away from the vagina during childbirth. As shown here, the pelvic floor sits below the pelvic organs, which include the bladder (points for adding that in), as well as the uterus, ovaries, and rectum. It also continues on up around the vagina and urethra, attaching to the pubic bone up near where the bladder rests, before looping back around to the tailbone. However, it can absolutely be pulled away and injured in childbirth, and without physical support from the muscles, pelvic organs are vulnerable to slipping out of place in what is commonly known as pelvic organ prolapse. “
Connecting the Dots
Ashley's take: “This drawing captures the hammock-like support that the pelvic floor muscles provides, perfectly! Though it looks like the pelvic floor line is attached to little ovaries, which would be incorrect. While the pelvic floor does provide support to the internal reproductive organs from below, it does not attach to them.”
Down to the Bone
Ashley's take: “Wow, the 3D pelvic floor is tricky to draw in 2D, but this skech does a great job with considerable accuracy! As drawn here, the pelvic floor sits inside of the pelvic bones, supporting the bladder, uterus, and rectum (which yes, is in the back!). What you can’t quite tell from this pic is how the pelvic floor not only supports the organs and pelvic bones from the left and right, but also from the front to the back, creating a network of support in all directions.”
Ashley's take: “If Spanx made shape wear to support the pelvic floor, this is what I imagine they would look like! Although not in the shape of underwear, the pelvic floor muscles do sit just above where your underwear does, supporting front to back and from the sides. They contract up and inward as shown by the arrows, to close the pelvic openings, and support the pelvic organs. But seriously, Sara Blakely, call me because this is a great idea!”
BEHOLD THE Orb of Power
Ashley's take: “Add a glowing effect, and this pelvic floor would look a lot like powerful mystical orb — which is fitting, because the pelvic floor is absolutely where the power of your core comes from. Alas, it’s shaped more like a supportive basket or hammock at the bottom of the pelvis, than a floating mass at the center of the body. Points for the magical vibes though!”
SEE The Hole Picture
Ashley's take: “The vagina looks to be holding a menstrual cup in this drawing, which is a great point to bring up: Without the support from your pelvic floor, menstrual cups have the tendency to slip out. This pelvic floor is drawn nice and thick (meaning this is a very strong pelvic floor) between the vagina and anus. In reality, it extends further forward and back to create loops of muscle around the urethra, vagina, and anus.”
Can you draw your pelvic floor without googling a diagram first? Give it a try, then check out what it really looks like here.