Physical Therapy


Understanding Signs of a Tight Pelvic Floor: Insights from a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist

In recent years, awareness around pelvic floor health has grown significantly, shedding light on the importance of this often overlooked aspect of the body. The pelvic floor, a group of muscles situated at the base of the pelvis, plays a crucial role in supporting vital organs, maintaining continence, and facilitating sexual function. However, like any other muscle group, the pelvic floor can experience issues such as tightness, which can lead to various discomforts and health concerns. As a pelvic floor physical therapist, I often encounter individuals unaware of the signs indicating a tight pelvic floor. In this blog, we'll dig deeper into pelvic floor tension, common symptoms and strategies to manage your symptoms and promote overall well-being.



Pelvic Pain:

One of the most common indicators of a tight pelvic floor is pelvic pain. This discomfort may manifest in various forms, including sharp or dull pain in the pelvic region, groin, lower abdomen, hips, or even lower back. Individuals may experience pain during or after sexual intercourse, prolonged sitting, or physical activities.

Urinary Urgency and Frequency:

A tight pelvic floor can also affect bladder function, leading to symptoms such as increased urinary urgency and frequency. You may find yourself rushing to the bathroom more frequently than usual or experiencing sudden, intense urges to urinate even when your bladder isn't full.

Difficulty with Bowel Movements:

Tightness in the pelvic floor muscles can interfere with bowel function, causing issues such as constipation, straining during bowel movements, or a feeling of incomplete evacuation. These symptoms can significantly impact one's quality of life and may worsen over time if left unaddressed.

Painful Intercourse:

For many individuals, a tight pelvic floor can contribute to discomfort or pain during sexual intercourse. This pain may present as a burning or stabbing sensation and can occur with penetration. It's essential to recognize that painful intercourse isn't normal and should be addressed with a healthcare provider.

Pelvic Floor Muscle Tension:

Some individuals may notice increased muscle tension or the sensation of tightness in the pelvic floor area. This tension can be palpable during self-examination or may be identified by a healthcare provider during a physical assessment.

Frequent UTI’s:

There are several reasons why women get UTI’s, but if they are recurrent a pelvic floor dysfunction may be the root cause. When certain muscles in the pelvic floor cannot fully relax, it can cause incomplete emptying and frequent urination. This can lead to irritation or infection over time.


Seek Professional Guidance:

If you suspect you have a tight pelvic floor or are experiencing symptoms such as pelvic pain, urinary urgency, pain when urinating, or painful intercourse, it's crucial to consult with a healthcare professional, preferably a pelvic floor physical therapist.

Practice Pelvic Floor Relaxation Techniques:

Learning to relax the pelvic floor muscles is key to managing tightness. The first step in relaxing your pelvic floor is diaphragmatic breathing. See the diagram: the diaphragm is the top and the pelvic floor is the bottom. The diaphragm and pelvic floor have a reciprocal relationship; as you inhale your diaphragm contracts and descends while the pelvic floor relaxes and descends. As you exhale your diaphragm relaxes and ascends, while your pelvic floor contracts and ascends. If tight, your pelvic floor remains in a more contracted and ascended position. Working on diaphragmatic inhalation can help lengthen and relax your pelvic floor as it descends.

Perform Pelvic Floor Exercises:

While relaxation is important, strengthening exercises can also play a role in managing a tight pelvic floor. However, it's essential to perform these exercises correctly to avoid exacerbating tightness. Do not just do Kegels! This can worsen your symptoms. It is important to see a pelvic floor physical therapist for an individualized exam.

Incorporate Stretching:

Gentle stretching can help alleviate pelvic floor tightness and improve flexibility. Consider incorporating stretches targeting the pelvic floor muscles into your daily routine, such as “happy baby,” supported squatting, or butterfly position. Your physical therapist can recommend specific stretches tailored to your needs and abilities. See the two examples videos.

Practice Mindfulness and Stress Management:

Stress and tension can contribute to pelvic floor dysfunction. Practicing mindfulness techniques, such as meditation, yoga, or tai chi, can help reduce stress levels and promote relaxation throughout the body, including the pelvic floor muscles.

Maintain Good Posture and Body Mechanics:

Poor posture and body mechanics can exacerbate pelvic floor tightness. Focus on maintaining proper alignment and posture throughout the day, especially during activities such as sitting, standing, and lifting.

Stay Hydrated and Eat a Balanced Diet:

Hydration and nutrition play a role in pelvic floor health. Aim to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day, as dehydration can contribute to muscle tension. Additionally, consume a balanced diet rich in fiber to support healthy bowel function and prevent constipation, which can aggravate pelvic floor symptoms.


While recognizing the signs of a tight pelvic floor is a crucial first step, seeking professional guidance from a pelvic floor physical therapist is essential for proper evaluation and management. Pelvic floor physical therapists are trained to assess pelvic floor muscle function and tailor treatment plans to address individual needs. Treatment may involve a combination of techniques, including pelvic floor relaxation exercises, manual therapy, biofeedback, and lifestyle modifications. Again, DO NOT just perform kegels.

By addressing tight pelvic floor muscles early on, individuals can experience relief from discomfort and improve their pelvic floor function, ultimately leading to better overall health and quality of life. Remember, prioritizing pelvic floor health is an investment in your long-term well-being. I know that first appointment can feel nerve wracking, so I wrote a post that will help you know just what to expect. Remember, your PT is here to help you.

If you are in the Boise area or in California, feel free to reach out to us at BlumeHaus Physical Therapy!

Email or Call: or (208) 996-3421

Cheers to a healthier you!

~ Dr. Alina Wright, PT, DPT