The Ultimate Guide to Pelvic Floor Spasms
Pelvic floor spasms are painful and happen when the pelvic floor muscles contract involuntarily.
It causes pain similar to cramps in the leg, which is extremely painful and can cause a lot of distress and worry.
The pain can radiate from the vagina to the lower back and is usually referred to as vaginismus by professionals.
It means that your pelvic floor mastics have become too tight and are working too hard. It is the polar opposite of the more common weak pelvic floor muscles but can be equally distressing.
Pelvic Floor Spasm Symptoms
Pelvic floor spasm symptoms can include:
- Burning sensation or pain when urinating
- Pain in the pelvis, abdomen and lower back
- Feeling the urge to urinate but having difficulty passing urine
- Pain passing bowel movements or constipation
- Pain during sex
The symptoms have been likened to the feelings created by a urinary tract infection.
Approximately 25% of women with chronic pelvic pain may spend 2-3 days in bed each month. More than half of the women with chronic pelvic pain cut down on their daily activities one or more days a month, and as many as 75% of women will experience pain with sex at some point (according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.).
Many women start by seeing a doctor for UTI treatment, but no infection will be found upon testing. If the pelvic pain is chronic, it is likely that the doctor will confirm that there is pelvic floor dysfunction causing the symptoms.
What Do Pelvic Floor Spasms Feel Like?
Pelvic floor spasms feel like cramps. They are contractions of the muscles, so it feels like you are being squeezed internally.
The pain can also radiate to the genitals and cause discomfort in the lower urinary tract. You may also feel pressure in the vagina and rectum, which can be very uncomfortable.
It can be extremely debilitating and hard to walk or move around normally. Pelvic floor spasms can be very stressful to deal with, so taking steps to remedy the situation is essential.
What Causes Pelvic Floor Spasms?
Finding the cause of pelvic floor spasms can be a long process. It is not always immediately evident, but certain things can make women more prone to suffering.
Giving birth vaginally can cause weak pelvic floor muscles for some women, but for others, it can lead to tightness and pelvic floor spasms.
Needing an episiotomy where the perineum is cut to make it easier for the baby to exit the birth canal is also a prime candidate. Some are left to heal naturally, and others are stitched closed after, but either way, it can lead to tightness and spasms later on.
We highly recommend seeing a pelvic floor physio who can work with you on helping your pelvic floor spasms and with any scar tissues.
Endometriosis, vulvodynia or needing surgery in the area can also lead to problems with pelvic floor spasms. It has also been shown that high-impact exercise can be a cause. Finally, the cramps could be psychological. With so many reasons, working out the culprit is vital in the treatment process.
People who suffer from cystitis regularly or who have irritable bowel syndrome may also find that pelvic floor spasms become an issue. It is so important to be pelvic pain aware.
Pelvic Pain Awareness
You should also take care not to try and hold the urge to go to the toilet regularly. It can be tricky if you have a job that prevents you from using the bathroom as often as you need, but in the long term, it can be problematic if you are constantly forcing yourself to hold on longer than you should before visiting the bathroom.
How to Stop Pelvic Floor Spasms
To help stop or reduce pelvic floor spasms, you can try the following:
- Physiotherapy and pelvic floor exercise
- Reverse Kegels
- A hot bath or sitting on a heating pad
- Internal massage
- Pain relievers or muscle relaxants prescribed by a professional
- A TENS machine
We always advise our Pelvic Floor Toner customers on the importance of relaxing your pelvic floor as well after each Kegel workout.
In much the same way as a weak pelvic floor, Kegel exercises can be beneficial when it comes to pelvic floor spasms. It's vital that you learn to do them correctly, but the exercises will help you regain control of relaxing or contracting your pelvic floor muscles. Not everyone is a fan of internal massage, but it can actually help.
We do not advise women who have a tight hypertonic pelvic floor to use our Kegel Weights until they have been assessed by a pelvic floor physio.
Reverse Kegels are relaxing the pelvic floor muscles. For many womens this feels very similar to when they urinate or have a bowel movement.
In the 30 Day Pelvic Floor Challenges that we run, we cover how to do Kegels correctly and how equally important it is to fully relax your pelvic floor muscles. We also cover correct breathing as well.
Heat is also good for pain and spasms, so many people find sitting in a hot bath beneficial when experiencing pelvic floor spasms. If that's not practical, you could also try a hot water bottle or heat pad in the area, with some women finding that sitting on a heating pad can be a great way to gain relief from the pain and encourages the muscles to relax.
For some people, medication will be the key, but it is essential that you speak to your primary healthcare provider so that you get the correct pain medication. In some cases, they may prescribe muscle relaxers, and these should help your body and pelvic floor stop going into spasms.
Don't forget that Stress and anxiety can lead to tightening of the pelvic floor muscles. Clenching your jaw? That just puts stress on your pelvic floor. Try it now - Give a big open mouthed stretch. How does that feel?
Pain can be a vicious cycle; the more pain you are in, the more you tense your body, which creates even more pain.
Pelvic floor spasms can be helped by learning relaxation techniques and deep breathing methods similar to those used when giving birth.
A tens machine has also been able to provide relief to some women. It is a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation where small sticky pads are used to deliver a tiny electrical impulse which is thought to interrupt the nerve processes and, therefore, the pain signals. You may have to experiment to find the best place for the sticky pads on your abdomen or lower back.
Pelvic floor spasms can really debilitate everyday life.
The good news is that you don't have to live with them, and improvements can be made by looking into the cause and taking some of the actions listed above.
Although it is a subject that people may not feel comfortable talking about, more people than you realise suffer from pelvic floor spasms. It is something that happens to many women and unfortunately, the risk increases with ageing.
However, by regularly exercising your pelvic floor and learning how to fully relax your pelvic floor muscles and looking after the muscles in this area, you may be able to ward off any future problems and reverse any pain or discomfort you are suffering at the moment.
Don't accept this pain. Ask your doctor to refer you to a pelvic floor physio and get the help and support you deserve.
➡️ To learn more how our Pelvic Floor Exercise Weights work, head over here. Secret Whispers Pelvic Floor Training Weights
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