How do I know if my Pelvic Floor is overactive?

pelvic floor Apr 11, 2022


What do you mean...?"


Scroll through social media, and you'll find plenty of posts telling you to do lots and lots of pelvic floor exercise, to make sure your pelvic floor is strong!

But... are 'kegels', or pelvic floor exercises, always the answer?

Well, no. 

They're not.

If your pelvic floor is overactive, then spending your time doing more pelvic floor squeezes might make your issues worse


What does it mean if your pelvic floor is 'overactive'?

An overactive pelvic floor is when the muscles in that area are 'switched on', or 'active', or 'working', more often than you need them to.  

These muscles find it difficult to relax

In simple terms, this can lead to the vaginal opening feeling smaller, tighter, or more tense... and because of this, you can have trouble letting anything enter the vagina. 

So, things like putting in tampons, or inserting a menstrual cup, or trying to allow a penis or sex toy inside, can be quite painful!


Other symptoms of an overactive pelvic floor can be:

  • Constipation, or trouble properly emptying your bowels;
  • Difficulty starting your flow of urine, or having a slow flow
  • Leaking urine (= wetting your pants);
  • Needing to pee more frequently than 'normal'
  • Pain around your tailbone, hips, or lower back.

If any of these sound familiar to you, you're not alone

Overactivity, or 'hypertonicity' of the pelvic floor is really common, and is often very, very treatable, without any major invasive procedures. So don't panic!


The best first step is to see a Pelvic Health Physio.

They will ask you lots of questions about your symptoms, get a good picture of what is going on, and usually then do an internal pelvic assessment, to see what those muscles are really doing. 

From there, treatment often includes things like

  • Relaxation and breathing exercises, to help you learn to better relax your pelvic floor;
  • Massage;
  • Stretches, for pelvic floor, hips, and lower back, and 
  • Advice on bladder and bowel habits,

as well as lots of education and support

It's so important to know that painful sex, or other pelvic pain, can be really common, but that does not in any way mean they are 'normal'.

There's lots of help out there, so please, please don't just put up with out.

Reach out to a Pelvic Health Physio for help.


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