This was not a thing in my vocabulary when I got my surgeries, I wish it would have been for sure though. The more I learn, it helps me understand (obviously) a lot more about myself and my body.
You know when your in your teens and you’ve just discovered that there’s this thing called sex, and everyone’s like “omg I hope I don’t get “too” loose down there”, and kegels enter your life? This is when when you’re 15.
So you start doing them when you’re waiting for the school bus – how f*cked up is that?
Then you start watching Sex and the city when you’re 17, and they talk about the same thing.
There was never any mention anywhere that a woman can actually be “too” tight, which can cause tremendous pain.
But we don’t want the boy to think we’re too loose right? That’s what’s most important..
This is why I had never, ever, heard of a hypertonic pelvic floor. It wasn’t until I moved to Australia, and turned 27, that I got it explained to me, I had my first surgery when I was about to turn 21.
1 in 5 women suffer from pelvic floor dysfunction, and we often hear about the pelvic floor being too weak, when the pelvic floor being too tight is actually more common. A hypertonic pelvic floor is when the muscles in your pelvic floor are so tight and tense, also known as pelvic floor spasms, that they are often not able to relax.
Many women who have had a long history of painful sex may get tight as a result of that, but you can also experience painful sex Due To having hypertonic pelvic muscles.
The cause of a hypertonic pelvic floor is not just one, but several activities can lead to this happening.
- Working out, where “holding your core” can cause tension in your pelvic floor and keep these muscles switched on without giving them time to relax
- Holding your bladder or bowels
- High levels of stress, fear, or anxiety
- Pelvic health and abdominal health conditions – endometriosis, Lichen Sclerosus, IBS, vulvodynia
- Birth trauma and scar tissue – tearing perineal or vaginal
There are many different forms of signs and symptoms of a hypertonic pelvic floor, but listen here are some:
- Pain, pain and a lot of pain – Many of us get low back pain, but also pain in the pelvic floor muscles such as the piriformis, obturator interns, coccyges, and hamstrings
- Painful sex
- Incomplete emptying of the bladder
- Hesitancy or delayed start of urine stream
- Urinary urgency
No matter if you suffer from a Hypertonic or Hypotonic pelvic floor, there is help in the form of physical therapy. Find tools that help you to minimize the pain, as well as make it easier for you to deal with it.
For you ladies who are on my email list, you can now join our private Facebook group. I’m looking forward to connecting with you more!
With love and kindness,
Lee, A. and Fischer, G. (2018). Diagnosis and Treatment of Vulvar Lichen Sclerosus: An Update for Dermatologists. American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 19(5), pp.695-706. (Lee and Fischer, 2018)
Cameron, B., Sabourin, J., Sanaee, M., Koenig, N., Lee, T. and Geoffrion, R., 2018. Pelvic floor hypertonicity in women with pelvic floor disorders: A case control and risk prediction study. Neurourology and Urodynamics, 38(2), pp.696-702.