Keeping the pelvic floor healthy

Climacteric. 2019 Jun;22(3):257-262. doi: 10.1080/13697137.2018.1552934. Epub 2019 Jan 17.


Female pelvic floor muscles form a diaphragm that spans the entire pelvic cavity. They consist of the fibers of the coccygeus and the levator ani muscles, the latter of which is composed of five parts. Together with their fascia, the pelvic floor muscles provide support for the urethra, the vagina, and the rectum and constrict the urethral, vaginal, and anal orifices. Alterations in the composition of the pelvic floor muscles at menopause appear to affect their properties and, thereby, their ability to function adequately. This can lead to an increased prevalence in urinary incontinence and other lower urinary tract dysfunction, pelvic organ prolapse, and genitourinary syndrome of menopause. This article aims to define the pelvic floor muscles and functions and to summarize the direct and indirect changes to women's pelvic floor muscles during and after menopause and through aging. A particular focus is also given to the evidence-based literature on how to keep pelvic floor muscles healthy during menopause and in postmenopause using conservative management therapy.

Keywords: Pelvic floor; aging; conservative management; exercises; lifestyle modification; physiotherapy; prevention.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology
  • Conservative Treatment / methods
  • Female
  • Healthy Aging / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Menopause / physiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscles* / physiopathology
  • Pelvic Floor* / physiopathology
  • Pelvic Organ Prolapse / physiopathology
  • Pelvic Organ Prolapse / therapy
  • Postmenopause / physiology
  • Rectum / physiopathology
  • Risk Factors
  • Urethra / physiopathology
  • Urinary Incontinence / physiopathology
  • Urinary Incontinence / therapy
  • Vagina / physiopathology