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Pelvic Floor 101

Discover your deep core

We've been ignoring our pelvic floors for way too long

Maybe you've seen articles about the pelvic floor in Vogue or The New York Times, or noticed celebrities like Ilana Glazer posting about pelvic floor PT on Instagram. Here at Origin, aka the epicenter of all things pelvic floor, we're excited that this amazing area of the body is finally getting attention.

Despite the buzz, many people are still fuzzy when it comes to the many symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction. Whether you pee a little when you sneeze, strain when you poop, or have pain with sex, your pelvic floor may be at the root of the problem.

These symptoms tend to worsen in pregnancy, postpartum, or menopause, but they can happen at any age. The 2024 Origin Pelvic Health Study found that pelvic floor symptoms are surprisingly common across generations — and Millennial women are even more likely to report a host of pelvic health symptoms than their Gen X counterparts.

Pelvic floor physical therapy is an evidence-based, first-line treatment for most pelvic health symptoms. We created Origin to spread the word about the power of the pelvic floor, and to make pelvic floor PT accessible to women and all people with vaginal anatomy, across the U.S., at every stage of life. Welcome to the pelvic health revolution. We so glad you're here!

Not sure if your pelvic symptoms are normal? Take our quiz.

The 5 Major Functions of the Pelvic Floor

Organ Support

A strong pelvic floor helps keep your vagina, uterus, bladder, and bowels in their proper places.

Core Stability

Your abdominals and pelvic floor work together to stabilize your low back, hips, and pelvis as you move.

Reproductive & Sexual Functioning

For comfortable intercourse and a strong, pleasurable orgasm, your pelvic floor needs to be able to both contract and relax. During pregnancy, these muscles support your growing baby and lengthen to allow for childbirth.

Bladder & Bowel Control

A strong, flexible, and coordinated pelvic floor prevents bladder and bowel leaks, aka incontinence.

Breathing & Circulation

Your pelvic floor works in conjunction with your diaphragm to facilitate deep breathing. It also acts like a pump for blood and lymph, moving fluid in and out of the abdomen and pelvis, which boosts circulation and decreases swelling and bloating.

What Is Pelvic Floor Dysfunction and Who Is at Risk?

Pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD) occurs when your pelvic floor is not performing one or more of its many duties: support, continence, stability, sexual wellness, and circulation. Most dysfunction occurs because the pelvic floor muscles are too tight, too weak, or a combination of both.

83% of U.S. women ages 18-59 report one or more pelvic symptom in the past year

67% of women who gave birth in the past 5 yrs report bladder leaks

20% of women in perimenopause or menopause report pain with sex

How to Tell If You Have PFD

With Pregnancy

The changing shape of your body combined with the weight of your baby puts incredible strain on your pelvic floor, which can lead to PFD. If your pelvic floor was weak or tight before you became pregnant, symptoms are likely to be worse.

After Vaginal Birth or C-Section

Especially if PFD wasn't addressed during pregnancy, the pelvic floor may be weak and injured from pushing, a perineal tear, or just growing a baby for the better part of a year.

In Perimenopause & Menopause

Aging combined with hormonal changes that weaken muscles can compromise your pelvic floor, leading to incontinence, prolapse, and painful sex.

Other Risk Factors

  • Chronic Constipation
  • Trauma & chronic stress or anxiety
  • Respiratory illnesses (like COPD) that cause chronic coughing
  • Overtraining, especially highimpact exercise (like running or CrossFit)
  • Injury to surrounding joints or body parts (like abdominal or hip surgery)
  • Smoking
  • Obesity

Common Symptoms

  • Leaking a little (or a lot of) pee when you sneeze, cough, or exercise
  • Regularly straining to poop
  • Having to pee frequently or urgently
  • Pain with sex or any kind of pelvic pain
  • A bulge or sensation of heaviness in your vagina

PFD Is Treatable & Preventable!

Restoring strength, flexibility, and coordination to the pelvic floor while managing symptoms and addressing issues like sexual pleasure and fertility is complex. Pelvic floor physical therapists are medical doctors with special training in all issues related to this area of the body, including changes brought on by pregnancy, postpartum, and menopause.

At Origin, we've made working with a pelvic floor PT as easy as possible, with streamlined booking, online visits, and digital exercise programs. We even take insurance.

Worried that treating pelvic floor issues will be awkward or embarrassing? Don't be! We're experts at making you comfortable.

Oh, and about kegels...

The only fix for PFD that you're likely to have heard of are Kegels, which are often described as "squeezing the muscles that stop pee, mid-flow." While Kegels help in some cases, they backfire in others by making overly-tight pelvic floor muscles even tighter. Doing Kegels correctly doesn't involve pausing your urine, which engages a limited number of muscles and may cause a UTI. A pelvic PT can guide you in learning safe and effective techniques.

You deserve to feel good in your body

We're here to make it happen. Book a visit today at an Origin clinic near you or start convenient & effective virtual care, from anywhere.

Pelvic Floor 101

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You might have pelvic floor dysfunction and not even know it.

Take our quiz to find out.