Pelvic floor anatomy and applied physiology

Gastroenterol Clin North Am. 2008 Sep;37(3):493-509, vii. doi: 10.1016/j.gtc.2008.06.003.


Pelvic floor muscles have two major functions: they provide support or act as a floor for the abdominal viscera including the rectum; and they provide a constrictor or continence mechanism to the urethral, anal, and vaginal orifices (in females). This article discusses the relevance of pelvic floor to the anal opening and closure function, and discusses new findings with regards to the role of these muscles in the vaginal and urethra closure mechanisms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anal Canal / pathology
  • Anal Canal / physiopathology
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pelvic Floor / pathology*
  • Pelvic Floor / physiopathology*
  • Rectal Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Rectal Diseases / etiology
  • Rectal Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Vagina / pathology
  • Vagina / physiopathology