To discuss the functions of the vaginal muscles, it’s important to realize that what is often referred to as “vaginal muscles” is actually a complex and a highly integrated array of musculature that affects several other anatomical parts of the body besides the vagina. This significant component of the female body anatomy is known as the pelvic floor (or pelvic diaphragm).
What is the pelvic floor?
The pelvic floor consists of a thin layer of muscle fibers and connective tissue enclosing the pelvic cavity at its lower portion and the sacrum. The pelvic floor muscles encompass the urethra, vagina, and anus, and they are arranged in such a way that these anatomical parts never work independently from each other. As such, its functions go far beyond what the term “functions of the vaginal muscles” might lead one to believe.
What are the functions of the vaginal muscles?
The main functions of these muscles is to support the pelvic organs such as the uterus, ovaries, and bladder, helping to prevent involuntary loss of urine when you cough, sneeze or do some physical activity requiring strength. These muscles also help to protect the pelvic organs from external injuries, to protect the abdomen organs–especially when you’re standing–and they play an obvious role during intercourse and the usual physiological acts of evacuation. These muscles basically control the opening and closing, and the pressure of the lower body openings in the body.
An important component of feminine health
There are several risk factors that can debilitate these muscles: the baby’s weight during pregnancy; the birth itself, by the passage of the baby through the vagina; postpartum, due to the early exercise of the abdominal; the practice of high impact sports or lifting weights; and even the use of high-heeled shoes.
Hormonal changes caused by menopause, obesity, chronic cough, stress, or some daily habits like excessive retention of urine or even wearing very tight clothes can also cause weakness in the pelvic floor.
In addition to the aforementioned causes, dysfunction of the pelvic diaphragm may occur as a result of some imbalance in some other parts of the body. For example, a dysfunction in the region of the pelvis or spine may require the pelvic floor to work harder, generating excessive wear and fatigue.
Pelvic floor weakness leads to problems such as urinary incontinence, prolapse, back pain, sexual dysfunction, and many other things.
Strengthening the pelvic floor
Thus, the importance of the pelvic muscles makes it fundamental to always keep this region of the body in good shape. This is done either by practicing exercises or through physical activity in general. No one is free from the causative factors of pelvic floor weakness, but everyone can minimize them through specific exercises. Kegel exercises, pilates, swimming and yoga help to exercise this important region of the female (and male) body. A healthy lifestyle and diet are naturally a valuable help to guarantee that the functions of the vaginal muscles (or as noted before, pelvic floor) do not become excessively compromised with aging.
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