Updated: Feb 14, 2022
Those "Punny" pelvic floor muscles are like any other in the body they are just internal, so nobody really talks about them! They are located at the base of your pelvis and support/surround your openings (vagina, urethra, anus). Because these muscles don’t “move a limb in space” or provide “external feedback” (i.e. you don’t see or feel them) during their use throughout the day, dysfunction can go “unchecked.” One dysfunction that commonly appears for my female identified pelvic floor owners is too much tension!
Below are 5 signs that your pelvic floor muscles may be too tense!
This can include pain internally (aka inside the vag), externally (i.e. on vulva), tailbone pain, rectal pain, lower abdominal pain, or any of the above combined! See also #4 that discusses pain during sex or OB/GYN exam.
2. Difficulty with peeing or pooping
As mentioned above, the pelvic floor muscles surround your “poop and pee holes” (as well as “baby/intercourse hole”). These muscles need appropriate resting tension as well as ability to contract AND lengthen to allow for poop, pee, or baby to exit the body.
3. Strong or frequent peeing
I see this ALL. THE. TIME. clinically but I feel this connection is often missed by clinicians! Abnormally strong urge to urinate or peeing too frequent is often a sign of too much tension/poor mobility. Picture this: I give you a 50 lb. dumbbell and tell you to hold it in your right hand but with your elbow straight and arm raise above your head. I then tell you to hold if there for 20 hours. Eventually your shoulder and arm muscles will signal an “overwhelming URGE” to let go or set the weight down. Now think of that scenario as it applies to your pelvic floor and a sustained squeeze or muscle tension----eventually your body will signal an “overwhelming URGE” to pee and can often lead to frequent peeing.
4. Difficulty (or Pain) during Penetration/Intercourse or OB/GYN exam
As mentioned above, the pelvic floor muscles surround your vaginal/anal openings and provide support to your pelvis. If these muscles are too tense you can have difficulty with penetration (or intercourse) as well as pain during an OB/GYN exam (especially with inserting the speculum). If your more “superficial muscles” are too tense, it is common to have difficulty with INITIAL penetration/intercourse. If your “deep muscles” are too tense, it is common to have difficulty or pain during DEEP penetration (as well as with certain positions where there is more contact or irritation with these muscles).
Hot take—This one may seem a little counterintuitive but let me blow your mind with this knowledge BOMB! Most people assume that having leakage equates to “weak or loose” pelvic floor muscles. Now while this is the case in some scenarios, it can be the opposite! Picture this: I ask you to flex your elbow at 90 degrees and hold it there for a YEAR straight. Do you think you would be able to straighten it out after a year of holding it flexed? NO! Your muscles adaptively shorten from chronic tension. Would this very same arm be able to do as many bicep curls as an arm that has full range of motion! NOPE! Would you get dressed, shower, or go through daily life the same using that “shortened” arm? NOPE! In order to have “good strength” you need to FIRST have “good length!”
If you think your pelvic floor may be too tense or you are dealing with any of the 5 signs below, contact us so we can help! Stay tuned for follow up blog posts in this series including 5 signs your Pelvic Floor is too tense for MEN and CHILDREN.
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