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Levator ani muscle

The levator ani muscle is comprised of the puborectalis, pubococcygeus, and iliococcygeus muscles. The levator ani muscles act as supporting structures in urinary control.

Along with the bladder, urethra, and prostate (in men), the levator ani muscle plays a vital role in supporting the pelvic organs, and also plays an important function in preventing urinary incontinence, which is the involuntary discharge of urine from the bladder. This health condition is common among postpartum women and elderly people.

One way the levator ani muscle can be damaged is through vaginal birth (for women). Often, this muscle loses strength and function after delivery, and is further magnified in women who have delivered three or more children.

Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
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In Depth: Levator ani muscle

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