Overactive Pelvic Floor Muscles – Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment
Overactive Pelvic Floor Muscles – Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Overactive Pelvic Floor Muscles – Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Natalie Berry


Natalie Berry

Overactive Pelvic Floor Muscles: Understanding Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Pelvic floor muscles are a group of muscles that support the pelvic organs, including the bladder, uterus, and rectum. These muscles are responsible for controlling the urinary and bowel functions, as well as sexual activity. However, when these muscles become overactive, they can cause a range of unpleasant symptoms and affect a person’s quality of life.

Overactive pelvic floor muscles, also known as pelvic floor dysfunction, is a condition that affects both men and women. It is characterized by a group of symptoms, including urinary urgency, frequency, and incontinence, as well as constipation, pain during sexual intercourse, and pelvic pain. The condition can be caused by a variety of factors, including childbirth, surgery, trauma, and chronic stress. In this article, we will explore the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for overactive pelvic floor muscles, as well as how it can be managed to improve a person’s quality of life.

Understanding Overactive Pelvic Floor Muscles

Overactive Pelvic Floor Muscles (OPFM) is a condition that affects both men and women. The pelvic floor muscles are a group of muscles that support the bladder, bowel, and uterus in women. When these muscles become too tight and cannot relax, it leads to OPFM.


The symptoms of OPFM can vary from person to person. Some common symptoms include:

  • Pain in the pelvic region
  • Pain during sex
  • Urinary urgency or frequency
  • Difficulty starting or stopping urination
  • Constipation or difficulty passing stool
  • Painful bowel movements
  • Lower back pain


The exact cause of OPFM is not known. However, there are several factors that can contribute to the development of this condition. These include:

  • Chronic stress
  • Poor posture
  • Injuries to the pelvic region
  • Surgery in the pelvic region
  • Chronic constipation or diarrhea
  • Endometriosis
  • Interstitial cystitis
  • Prostatitis

It is important to note that OPFM can be treated with physical therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, it is recommended to seek medical attention.

Treatment and Management

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is often the first line of treatment for overactive pelvic floor muscles. A trained physical therapist can teach exercises to help relax and strengthen the muscles. These exercises may include Kegels, biofeedback, and pelvic floor relaxation techniques. The therapist may also recommend stretches and other exercises to improve posture and alignment.


In some cases, medications may be prescribed to help manage symptoms of overactive pelvic floor muscles. Muscle relaxants, such as baclofen and diazepam, can help reduce muscle spasms and pain. Antidepressants, such as amitriptyline and nortriptyline, can also be effective in reducing pain and improving mood.


Surgery is typically reserved for cases where other treatments have failed. The most common surgical procedure for overactive pelvic floor muscles is a posterior tibial nerve stimulation (PTNS). During this procedure, a small needle is inserted into the ankle and connected to a device that sends electrical impulses to the pelvic floor muscles. This can help reduce muscle spasms and improve bladder control.

Overall, treatment and management of overactive pelvic floor muscles requires a multi-disciplinary approach. Patients should work closely with their healthcare providers to develop an individualized treatment plan that addresses their specific needs and goals. With the right treatment and management strategies, most patients are able to successfully manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.

Natalie Berry


Natalie Berry
Passionate about transforming lives through physical therapy.

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