pelvic-floor-painPelvic floor muscle tension can be a debilitating condition that may have far-reaching effects on a woman’s life including her intimate relationships. Medical practitioners seem to be treating increasing numbers of women with pelvic pain caused by pelvic floor muscle tension or overactive pelvic floor muscles.

Pelvic floor muscles can become taut with spasm just like other skeletal muscles in the body. Over-active pelvic floor muscles have increased tension and/or an inability to fully relax, a little like having very tight and painful neck muscles that will not relax. When a woman experiences pelvic floor pain, this may actually cause her to involuntarily tighten her pelvic floor muscles even more, and so a cycle of ongoing pelvic pain and increased pelvic floor muscle tension or pelvic floor muscle spasm develops.

This condition may lead to sexual problems associated with intercourse and penetration, such as vaginismus (the term used to describe the condition when the pelvic floor muscles experience spasm involuntarily with the onslaught of vaginal penetration, which can prevent sexual intercourse). Sexual problems that result from overactive pelvic floor muscles can cause considerable emotional difficulty resulting to stress, anxiety, and relationship problems.

Ongoing pelvic pain and discomfort caused by pelvic floor muscle over-activity or pelvic floor muscle spasm can be very stressful and anxiety provoking, which often makes the condition worse. The physical discomfort associated with pelvic floor muscle tension presents itself uniquely in different women; it may present itself as pain, ache or discomfort in the low abdomen, lower back or in and around the vagina and anus.

Pelvic floor muscle weakness results from the pelvic floor muscles contracting too much and tiring out. As a result, they are not able to work when they are required to, and instead contribute to problems such as stress and incontinence. The supportive function of the pelvic floor muscles may also be compromised, increasing the vulnerability to other pelvic floor problems such as vaginal prolapse.