Anatomy of Female Continence

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Various muscle, connective tissue, and neurologic structures within the pelvic floor play critical roles in the maintenance of both urinary and fecal continence. Recent advances in technology, combined with greater precision during anatomic study, have expanded our understanding of the role played by the pelvic floor in maintaining continence. The goal of this article is to summarize recent research on female pelvic anatomy, with a particular emphasis on the evidence base related to urinary incontinence. The content is organized to accomplish three aims: (1) Identify, within the context of pelvic floor anatomy, the structures that comprise the urinary continence system, (2) Describe the functional dynamics of urinary continence, including factors in resting urethral pressure and pressure transmission, and (3) Present the rationale, technique, and interpretation of various methods of measuring pelvic floor function.

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