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What is an Overactive Pelvic Floor?

In resting conditions the pelvic floor musculature maintains a constant baseline contraction which helps maintain urinary and fecal continence and support the pelvic organs. The pelvic floor also has the ability to produce stronger contractions anytime there is an increase in abdominal pressure. For example, when we cough or sneeze our pelvic floor has the ability to contract more to help maintain closure of the urethra against that increase in abdominal pressure. Once the pressure has decreased in the abdomen the pelvic floor will relax to its baseline activity.

An overactive or non-relaxing pelvic floor is a condition in which the pelvic floor muscles do not relax, or may even contract when relaxation is needed. This may result in difficulty voiding the bladder and constipation due to the pelvic floor’s inability to fully relax while toileting. Pelvic pain can also be contributed by the presence of an overactive pelvic floor. The heightened muscle activity could result in the development painful muscle spasms or trigger points.


An overactive pelvic floor is difficult to accurately diagnosed due to the variety of nonspecific symptoms including:

chronic constipation

difficulty initiating urination

incomplete emptying of the bladder

pain with intercourse

abdominal bloating

lower abdominal pain

groin pain

low back pain


Potential Causes of an Overactive Pelvic Floor

Physical or emotional trauma

Poor Posture