| Caroline Knight
Sometimes people who are suffering from tight pelvic floor muscles are not even aware that a tight pelvic floor is the problem. There are many symptoms of tight pelvic floor muscles, but as is often the case, pain is one of the biggest red flags. When muscles get too tight, we call them hypertonic. Due to the location of these muscles, it can be difficult to pinpoint the origin of your aches and pains - especially if you’re not well versed with pelvic floor muscle groups and how they function.
Your pelvic floor muscles are the muscle group responsible for connecting the lower part of the pelvis and sacrum. The pelvic floor (also known as the pelvic diaphragm) looks something like a hammock; in women it supports the bladder, rectum and womb, and it wraps around the vagina, urethra and rectum. It makes sense that when the muscles constrict, this can get pretty uncomfortable and cause some degree of dysfunction.
This article aims to help you understand your symptoms so you can figure out if a hypertonic pelvic floor is to blame.
What are the symptoms of tight pelvic floor muscles?
If you have a hypertonic pelvic floor, you’re likely to experience the following symptoms:
- Muscle spasms and contractions in the pelvic area
- A frequent need to urinate
- Difficulty in starting and/or maintaining the flow of urine
- Feelings of urgency (bladder or bowel)
- Pain when urinating
- Inability to totally empty your bladder
- Straining when passing stools
- Pain when passing stools, or afterwards
- Lower back pain, especially in the pelvic area (including genitals, rectum and hips)
- Dyspareunia (pain during or after sexual activity)
- Pain upon internal examination
- Feelings of tightness in the muscles around the hips, glutes, lower back, groin and abdomen
There is a reason that your pelvic muscles need to be able to contract: this is how you stop yourself from urinating or defecating when it’s not convenient. Also (for women) the muscles need to be able to contract during sexual intercourse – which is essentially what happens during orgasm.
Why do I have symptoms of tight pelvic floor muscles?
There could be many reasons for tight pelvic floor muscles. Here are some of the most common:
- Too much time working out (especially the core region)
- Regularly holding on to urine on stools for too long because it’s inconvenient to go
- High stress levels, anxiety and fear (these can create tension in all muscles of the body)
- Endometriosis and other reproductive disorders might result in tension in this area because of inflammation and pain
- Irritable bowel syndrome and abdominal cramps
- Pelvic disorders like interstitial cystitis, pudendal neuralgia and vulvodynia
- Scar tissue from operations or birth trauma
If you are suffering from symptoms of tight pelvic floor muscles, don’t worry - there are lots of things you can do about it. In fact, we wrote an article about exactly that, so please do read it! We hope this advice brings you the relief you need. If you found this article helpful, don’t forget to check out the other articles in our blog… we do all that we can to openly address the often difficult-to-discuss topics around women’s health. So if we can lighten your load in any way, our work is done!