Functional Anatomy of the Female Pelvic Floor


The female pelvic floor is an understudied region of the body from a biomechanical perspective. On a daily basis, its anatomic structures must prevent incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse during the elevations in abdominal pressure and motions associated with daily physical activities. Yet they must also permit waste to be eliminated through urination, and defecation. But unlike the male, they must also allow childbirth. Pregnancy and birth are remarkable times in a woman’s life in many positive ways. Unfortunately, as we will see later in this article, for certain women changes that occur as a result of vaginal delivery during the reproductive years can lead to increased problems later in their life span that result in prolapse of the pelvic organs and urinary incontinence; problems referred to as pelvic floor dysfunction.

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Written by:
James A. Ashton-Miller and John O. L. DeLancey

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