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Can my pelvic floor be too strong?

Well in a way, yes! Strength is only one element of good pelvic floor muscle function. In addition, the pelvic floor needs to be flexible, to allow for normal movement of our back, pelvis and hips. The muscles need to be able to hold and release energy, acting like a shock-absorbing spring for support of our internal organs. Equally as important, our pelvic floor must be able to relax, firstly to allow good bladder and bowel function, but also to allow the circulation of blood through the muscles, bringing essential nutrients and oxygen to feed the muscles and for rest and recovery.

A ‘hypertonic pelvic floor’ is when the muscles become too tense and are unable to flex and relax properly. Typical symptoms may include constipation, painful sex/ difficulty with smears/ gynae examinations, bladder urgency or cystitis like symptoms, as well as back and pelvic pain. A hypertonic pelvic floor may also spread tension to surrounding muscles in the hip and upper thighs, that can give rise to movement restrictions and pain.

There’s no one cause, but common things leading to a hypertonic pelvic floor are,

*overdoing pelvic floor squeezes, without practicing muscle relaxation

*intense sports/activities or breathing disorders

*prolonged holding with the pelvic floor muscles for example with fear of leakage, or embarrassment using public toilets so holding excessively

*over exercising or straining the core muscles

*stress and anxiety

*irritable bowel syndrome and gynae problems like endometriosis

*birth trauma and scar tissue

Talk to your health care provider or women’s/pelvic health physio if you are experiencing symptoms you think may be related to your pelvic floor, there are treatment options available. Ps have I mentioned that Hypopressive exercise co-ordinates the whole core and pelvic floor and works the muscles through their full movement, contraction and relaxation?!