Pelvic floor tension myalgia, also known as pelvic floor dysfunction, is chronic pelvic pain caused by the inability to control your pelvic floor muscles. The muscles of the pelvic floor feel tight and constantly contracted, which is uncomfortable and can lead to long-term damage. This condition is much more common in women than in men.
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Pelvic pain, discomfort, or a sensation of heaviness in the lower abdomen or pelvis for six months or longer is one of the main symptoms of pelvic floor tension myalgia. Since the pelvic floor is the seat of organs such as the bladder, uterus, vagina, and rectum, there are other signs and symptoms to watch out for as well, including:
- Pain that intensifies with certain movements or that is relieved by repositioning the body
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Difficulty urinating
- Frequent or painful urination
- Urinary incontinence
- Difficulty passing stool
- Bloating and constipation
- Lower back pain
The signs and symptoms of pelvic floor tension myalgia vary from woman to woman. Symptoms may begin early in life and worsen over time.
Your pelvic floor muscles support your reproductive organs and bladder. They also assist with sexual function, urination, and passage of stools. Typically, these muscles tense and relax as needed. In some women, however, the pelvic floor muscles spasm or remain in a state of tension. The reason behind this inability to control the pelvic muscles is still unknown.
The direct cause of pelvic floor tension myalgia is unknown, but several factors may contribute to its development, including:
- A history of “holding” urine or stool, or urinating too much and pushing too hard when using the bathroom
- Injury to the pelvic floor muscles during surgery or childbirth
- Nerve damage
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Interstitial cystitis
- Poor posture
- History of sexual abuse
While there is no way to guarantee you won’t get pelvic floor tension myalgia, you can take steps to reduce the likelihood, including:
- Eating a healthy, fiber-rich diet full of fresh, whole foods
- Staying well hydrated
- Relieving yourself of urine and stool when needed, rather than holding it
- Practicing good feminine hygiene
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Taking steps to ensure proper posture, including exercise, strength training, and chiropractic care, if required
The information contained in this article is meant for educational purposes only and should not replace advice from your healthcare provider.