What is it?

Hypertonic pelvic floor, also known as pelvic floor muscle dysfunction or pelvic floor tension myalgia, is a condition characterized by increased tension and overactivity of the muscles in the pelvic floor. In this medical article, we will explore the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options for hypertonic pelvic floor.

Hypertonic pelvic floor can have various causes and contributing factors, which may include:
*Psychological Factors and Chronic Stress: Emotional factors such as anxiety, depression, and trauma can contribute to hypertonic pelvic floor. Emotional stress and psychological factors can lead to increased muscle tension and contribute to the development or exacerbation of hypertonicity.
*Trauma: Previous pelvic trauma, such as childbirth, surgery, or sexual abuse, can contribute to muscle tension and dysfunction.
*Muscle Imbalance: Imbalances in the muscles surrounding the pelvis, such as the hip and abdominal muscles, can affect pelvic floor function and lead to increased muscle tension.
*Poor Posture and Body Mechanics: Incorrect posture and improper body mechanics can place excessive strain on the pelvic floor muscles, leading to hypertonicity.
*Chronic Pain Conditions: Individuals with chronic pain conditions, such as fibromyalgia or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), may be more prone to developing hypertonic pelvic floor.
*Repetitive Strain: Activities or occupations that involve repetitive movements or prolonged sitting can strain the pelvic floor muscles and contribute to hypertonicity. Examples include long hours of sitting at a desk, heavy lifting, or repetitive sports movements.

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Signs & symptoms

The symptoms of hypertonic pelvic floor can vary among individuals. Common symptoms may include:
*Lower Back and Hip Pain: Some individuals with hypertonic pelvic floor may experience lower back pain, which can be a result of the tension and dysfunction in the pelvic floor muscles affecting the surrounding areas.
*Urinary Symptoms: Increased urinary urgency, frequency, or difficulty emptying the bladder completely.
*Bowel Symptoms: Constipation, straining during bowel movements, or pain during bowel movements.
*Sexual Dysfunction: Pain during intercourse (dyspareunia), difficulty achieving orgasm, or reduced sexual satisfaction.
*Muscle Tension: A sensation of pelvic pressure or a feeling of tightness and discomfort in the pelvic floor muscles.
*Pelvic Organ Prolapse: Hypertonic pelvic floor can contribute to prolapse by causing imbalances, poor coordination, and reduced flexibility. This affects pelvic organ support and function, increasing the risk of prolapse.

Diagnosis

Diagnosing hypertonic pelvic floor involves a comprehensive evaluation that may include:
*Medical History: A detailed discussion about symptoms, medical history, and potential contributing factors.
*Physical Examination: An internal examination, performed by a healthcare professional experienced in pelvic floor assessment, to assess muscle tension, trigger points, and overall pelvic floor function.
*Pelvic Floor Assessment: Techniques such as biofeedback, electromyography (EMG), or digital palpation may be used to evaluate muscle activity and tension in the pelvic floor.
*Collaborative Approach: In some cases, additional evaluations, such as urodynamic testing, imaging studies, or consultation with other specialists, may be necessary to rule out underlying conditions or contribute to a comprehensive diagnosis.

Treatment

Effective management of hypertonic pelvic floor typically involves a combination of conservative therapies and lifestyle modifications. Treatment options may include:
*Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy: Working with a pelvic floor physical therapist who specializes in pelvic floor rehabilitation can help in releasing muscle tension, improving muscle coordination, and addressing any muscle imbalances or trigger points.
*Relaxation Techniques: Techniques such as diaphragmatic breathing, mindfulness, and guided relaxation exercises can help promote muscle relaxation and reduce overall tension.
*Manual Therapy: Techniques such as myofascial release, trigger point release, or internal soft tissue mobilization performed by a skilled therapist can help release muscle tension and reduce pain.
*Education and Self-Care: Learning about proper posture, body mechanics, and strategies for managing stress can empower individuals

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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