Do you think you have a hypertonic pelvic floor? Let me give you some ideas on how to figure that out and then I’ll show you how to stretch those muscles.
First of all, what exactly is a tight pelvic floor?
Contrary to what a lot of people think, the pelvic floor does more than just Kegel. These muscles need to be strong, for sure, but they also need to be flexible. Sometimes , due to various reasons, these muscles become too tight and they start causing problems.
If it seems weird to think that your pelvic floor could actually become too tight, then think of your pelvic floor muscles just like the other muscles in your body.
If your hamstring muscles become too tight, they will pull on your pelvis, not allow your hips to move the way they should and this can result with a lot of pain in your back. Your inside muscles are no different, especially since they reside on the inside of your pelvis.
When your pelvis gets pulled into a habitually poor position, this will put stress on the pelvic floor muscles and they can become hypertonic. They can become too tight from:
- holding too much tension in these muscles for all sorts of reasons
- holding your belly in all day long
- tucking your butt under you (posterior pelvic tilt)
- constipation/straining when emptying your bowels
- not going to the bathroom when you need to
- having an irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), endometriosis, vaginismus
- birth trauma/vaginal scarring
Pelvic floor muscles can become tight simply from watching something scary! Have a read below:
How do you know if YOU have a tight pelvic floor?
You may experience:
- pain with sexual penetration
- pain when inserting a tampon or Diva cup
- pain with pap tests
- an overactive bladder; feeling the need to pee all the time
- incomplete emptying of the bladder/slow to get started
What should you do if you have a tight pelvic floor?
You first need to ‘feel’ your pelvic floor muscles moving. They should move slightly upwards with an exhale and downwards with an inhale. Have a look at the video below to get you started on this:
In the video above, I refer to both the Kegel (drawing upwards on an exhale) and the inhale; the letting go or slight downwards movement with an inhale. For now, focus on the inhaling, the letting go of the muscles and notice if you can feel the subtle lowering of these muscles down towards the surface you are sitting on.
- take a big inhale and allow your belly to get bigger
- imagine your are inhaling the air right down into your pelvic floor muscles
- notice a slight downwards movement as the pelvic floor releases
This first step, feeling the pelvic floor muscles move slightly, is super important. Try in different positions; sitting on different surfaces, lying on your back with knees open to the sides to help feel theses muscles.
Follow along with the video below which takes you through a few stretches to help open up your tight pelvic floor. Even though you may feel a stretch in your hamstrings when your legs are up the wall, your focus is still on inhaling deeply into your pelvic floor muscles to allow them to lengthen.
Spend 10 minutes daily working with your breath to help release your tight pelvic floor muscles.