How do I know if I have a tight pelvic floor?
Having a tight pelvic floor is a concept that is hopefully gaining some more traction especially when we talk about whether or not kegels or pelvic floor contractions are right for everyone. But how do you know if you have a tight pelvic floor? The best way is to get assessed by a pelvic floor physiotherapist, but, below I will be talking about some signs or symptoms that might indicate you have tension or tightness in those muscles.
It is really important to think about the pelvic floor as muscles, like any other muscles in our body. And like most muscles in our body, it is important that those muscles have the ability to contract as much as they have the ability to relax. Often we get very focused on doing kegels and whether or not these are important, and sometimes what we forget is that if we only contract a muscle and we never learn to relax it, we may be making a problem worse unnecessarily.
Symptoms when going pee:
Common symptoms of going pee that might be associated with a tight pelvic floor are; needing to push to start going pee, or having difficulty maintaining your flow when you go pee. When you go pee, having a weak stream or feeling like a dripping faucet out into the toilet. Even feeling like you aren’t able to fully empty your bladder or feeling the need to go again right after you pee can be a sign of a tight pelvic floor. Lastly, burning when you go pee or feeling like you have a UTI (urinary tract infection) can be a sign of pelvic floor tension.
Symptoms with poop:
Common symptoms that can be caused or influenced by a tight pelvic floor can include; constipation, straining or pushing to get poop out. Your pelvic floor muscles wrap around your rectum, and if they are tight, they may not loosen enough around the rectum to let poop come out easily. This can also create the feeling like you are unable to empty your
poop. If you have hemorrhoids, a tight pelvic floor may be causing this. Similarly, if you are always straining or pushing to go to the bathroom, your pelvic floor could be the cause. In some cases leaking poop can be related to pelvic floor tension. If your muscles are tight and don’t let everything come out of the rectum, you might get leaking after you get off the toilet.
Symptoms with sex:
Pelvic floor tension can cause pain with intercourse; feelings of tearing or tightness, burning pain with insertion or penetration, feeling like you are being punched in the lower abdomen with penetration can all be signs of tension. You may also experience difficulty with orgasms or feel like your orgasms are weak. Your pelvic floor muscles contract during and orgasm, so if they are tight, they may not be able to contract well and cause pain or a weak feeling. It is important to know that pain can occur before, during, or after intercourse as well, and sometimes throbbing could be related to the pelvic floor. If you have pain with intercourse, read more about it on my blog here.
Last but not least, pain can be a common indicator of tightness or tension within the pelvic floor. I’ve just listed a few pain conditions quickly, but if you want more detail about pelvic pain, please read my intro to pelvic pain post here. Some common pain conditions caused by pelvic floor include; tailbone pain, vaginal pain, rectal pain, pain with pelvic examinations, inserting tampons or menstrual cups, recurrent urinary tract infections, vulvar pain, heaviness in the pelvis, low back or hip pain.
Do any of these seem familiar to you? If so you may be experiencing tension in the pelvic floor. I would recommend getting an internal assessment with a pelvic floor physiotherapist to be sure. In the meantime, you can check out my instagram page here for some exercises and stretches for the pelvic floor muscles here.