One or more of these symptoms could be a sign of tight pelvic floor:
- Uncomfortable sex
- Difficulty inserting tampons
- Bladder irritability
- Painful bowel motions
- Pelvic pain in men and women
Uncomfortable Sexual Activity
If vaginal entrance is tight or painful on initial penetration, this is probably the most common sign that pelvic floor may be tense and not relaxing sufficiently to allow comfortable sexual activity. With arousal, the vagina ideally becomes prepared for penetration and muscles relax. If women push through any discomfort for example if not fully aroused, the discomfort may set up a pattern of muscles becoming tense in anticipation of discomfort: so a cycled of discomfort leads to more discomfort, more tightness and even pain.
In men, elements of sexual activity can become painful in the presence of tight pelvic floor.
Difficulty Inserting Tampons
Inserting a tampon should not feel tight or even painful. Many women will try at some stage, to use a tampon. Young women will usually have tried a tampon long before they have been sexually active so it might be the first time of becoming aware of an issue with the pelvic floor.
You may have a frequent and urgent bladder and have seen many Doctors who tell you there is no infection and there is nothing wrong. We often see women and men who have had their bladder investigated extensively to be told all is normal. In this scenario some Doctors do pick up on the possibility that the pelvic floor is holding tension and where the muscles are tense around the tube that drains the bladder (the urethra), an upsetting, irritable feeling follows.
Painful Bowel Motions
Just as there can be pain and irritability at the bladder, the same can occur around the back passage. The pelvic floor and anal sphincter surround the back passage and help to keep it closed. The muscles should relax to enable emptying. If pelvic floor is tense, bowel motions may become painful and difficult. The back passage fails to relax enough to empty. We meet many men and women whose muscles actually tighten when they strain to try and make the bowel motion happen more easily. So ironically, in this case, the straining is actually closing the back passage and tightening the muscles more.
Tight pelvic floor can lead to pain in any of the different parts of the pelvis: bladder, bowel, coccyx, vagina, scrotum, penis…..although the pelvic floor muscles work as one unit, there are many different parts of the muscles and this can lead to different areas being painful.
If you have any of the above symptoms, they don’t ALWAYS mean the pelvic floor is tight. The above symptoms could be present for different reasons. You should always see your Doctor if you are worried about symptoms and we will always recommend that you see your Doctor when necessary.
If you would like to chat about your symptoms, feel free to make contact with Caroline Bender via the contact page which is only seen by Caroline and is entirely private.