The human pelvic canal (true pelvis) functions to support the abdominopelvic organs and serves as a passageway for reproduction (females). Previous research suggests that these two functions work against each other with the expectation that the supportive role results in a narrower pelvic midplane, while fetal passage necessitates a larger opening. In this research, we examine how gut size relates to the size and shape of the true pelvis, which may have implications on how gut size can influence pelvic floor integrity. Pelves and in vivo gut volumes were measured from CT scans of 92 adults (48 female, 44 male). The true pelvis was measured at three obstetrical planes (inlet, midplane, outlet) using 11 3D landmarks. CT volumetry was used to obtain an individual’s gut size. Gut volume was compared to the pelvic planes using multiple regression to evaluate the relationship between gut size and the true pelvis. We find that, in males, larger gut sizes are associated with increased mediolateral canal dimensions at the inlet and midplane. In females, we find that larger gut sizes are associated with more medially-projecting ischial spines and an anteroposteriorly longer outlet. We hypothesize that the association of larger guts with increased canal width in males and increased outlet length in females are adaptations to create adequate space for the gut, while more medially projecting ischial spines reduce the risk of pelvic floor disorders in females, despite its possible spatial consequences for fetal passage.

Original Citation

Uy J, Laudicina NM (2021) Assessing the role of the pelvic canal in supporting the gut in humans. PLoS ONE 16(10): e0258341. https://doi. org/10.1371/journal.pone.0258341

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