Everything You Never Knew About Your Pelvis

Hey, Congrats! You Have a Pelvis!

If you are a living, breathing human, you have a pelvis.  But not many of us know what our Pelvis is.  

We don’t know what it’s made out of, what’s inside of it, and how it works. 

Allow me to step in 🙂 My name is Dr. Kelly Sadauckas, one of a handful of Doctors of Physical Therapy IN THE WORLD who are double board certified in Pelvic Health and Orthopedics.  Today, as a starting point in solving your pee, poop or seggsy-time problems (or just to satisfy your curiosity!), I’m going to demystify your pelvis! 

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

Dr. Kelly, what do we mean when we say Pelvis?

Good Question: What do we mean?  

When we say Pelvis, we could mean 3 things:

1. The Bony Parts

Image showing the various bones that make up the bony part of the pelvis. The pelvis is made up of your sacrum & coccyx (triangular bones at bottom of low back), and a ring of hip bones. The pelvis is connected by the sacroiliac joint in back, and the pubic symphysis in front.

The “bony pelvis” (as we pelvic pros refer to it) is made up of your hip bones and your sacrum. Your sacrum is the triangle-shaped bone at the bottom of your back, and it ends in your coccyx, our leftover tails.

Your “hip bones” are actually three bones fused together. Those three bones are the ilium (the big wingy parts), ischium (sit bones) and pubic bones (front crotch bones)…but “hip bones” generally means the big-round-wingy ones, and sit bones are the nubbins that protrude out the bottom.      

2. The Pelvic Organs (Peritoneal Cavity)

The “peritoneal cavity” is a fancy way of saying “stuff inside your belly and pelvis.”  If the bones of the pelvis make a bowl, the Pelvic Organs are the organs that live inside of that bowl. The “Pelvic Viscera” is a fancy term used to describe the organs that live in the pelvic bowl. 

This sideview image shows the three primary pelvic organs in a person with a vagina. The organs sit in a "hammock" of the pelvic floor muscles, resting between the pubic bone and sacrum. The bladder is in front, uterus in middle, and rectum in the back.

Most living humans started out with at least some small intestines, large intestines, and bladders.  

If you have a penis, you also have a prostate gland in here.  

If you have a vagina, you have one uterus and two fallopian tubes and ovaries. But here’s a fun fact, sometimes you can have more than one vagina or uterus, and sometimes you are born with BOTH sex organs!  More on that another time… 

3. The Pelvic Muscles and Ligaments

The third thing we could mean when we talk about the pelvis, is our connective tissue! The stuff that holds the bones together, the organs in place, and that moves the stuff around!

The pelvic ligaments provide passive stability (like braces) to the bony pelvis, and provide a stable base for the muscles to move from. In the pelvis, the ligaments also often carry nerves and blood vessels. 

The Pelvic Floor Muscles are awesome.  They make this pelvis a three-dimensional bowl, and hold all or our organs in, as well as control what we put in, or let out, of our body. This fun post from Instagram teaches you more about them.  Without the pelvis muscles, our insides would fall out. Frown Face.  

Did you know there is more than one Pelvic Floor Muscle?

Just like you have a left leg and a right leg, and they each have unique muscle control and strength, your pelvic floor muscles have left groups, and right groups–more than 6 per side, actually! 

And these muscles all have different functions!

Some of these muscles work to constrict (close) the urethra (pee hole), some to constrict (close) the poop hole (anus), some pull the tailbone toward your pubic bone, and others scoop and lift the whole shebang of pelvic floor, like tightening up a trampoline or a hammock. This blog post goes over their function in depth (link to me explaining PFM various roles)

And these muscles work together to control 2-3 very delicate openings, as well as affect our overall digestion, stress and athletic prowess.  

Changes in how the pelvic muscles function can lead to pee, poop and seggsy time problems! 

Dysfunction in the pelvic floor muscles themselves, and in how we coordinate (or use) the pelvic muscles along with other muscle groups in our day to day lives, leads to pee, poop or seggsy time problems.  

Pelvic Floor & Deep Core Retraining Can Help!

This blog post is the tip of the iceberg, and introduces you to your pelvis, potentially for the first time.  If you’re new here, and struggling, go ahead and give your pelvis (or vag, or rectum, or whatever is bothering you), a name, so we can talk to them directly as we proceed.

The most important thing for you to know is that whatever your pee, poop or seggsy time problem is, you are not alone, and you are not permanently broken.  There are real muscles involved here, just like muscles are involved in low back pain, and it is worth investing your time and energy to reconnecting those muscles to your brain.  YOU DESERVE THE PELVIS OF YOUR DREAMS, AND YOU CAN HAVE IT. 

Xoxo -Dr. Kelly

Dr. Kelly, double board certified specialist, with greenish tint to picture, pointing to pelvis.

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An Image of Dr. Kelly, holding two pelvis models. Dr. Kelly is one of a handful of Doctors of Physical Therapy IN THE WORLD, who are double board certified in pelvic health & orthopedics. She's here to teach you everything you never knew about your pelvis.

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