Need a Little Reset? 5 Causes of Occasional Pelvic Floor Symptoms

Manage issues and kiss the shame buh-bye! Pelvic floor and core tissues are just muscles like all others, and these are 5 times they might need a bit more attention to get you feeling free and strong again.

In your search for pelvic floor info and training, you’ve probably stumbled on more than one “fix” or way to “solve” your leaks and worries.

The implied message? ? They’ve got some top-secret, government classified, never-before-seen pelvic floor magic, upon completion of which you’ll never have another pelvic floor symptom again.

Of course, the other side of this message?

If you don’t work hard enough, buy enough products and programs or do enough kegels, it’s your own fault you have pelvic floor symptoms, low back pain or diastasis recti.

No. Way. 

We’re jumping off that bus to Shame Town because your pelvic joints and muscles are just like ALL the other joints and muscles in your body. After all, we don’t feel nearly as embarrassed when we go a little hard in that family game of soccer and that one wonky knee gets a bit sore, do we?

Sometimes your pelvic muscles, inside and out, can become imbalanced, tense, stiff and/or overloaded, just as there are times your back, hips and neck have a little flare up because of changes to your life, exercise routine or habits.

And understanding WHY and HOW your pelvic floor and core muscles and joints can react might also help you manage issues when they do pop up, and kiss the shame buh-bye.

Why do pelvic floor muscles sometimes feel weak or tense?

Nerd alert. ? The pelvic floor muscles are a group of muscles that line the inside and base of your pelvis. They function both involuntarily, meaning they respond to loads and pressure being placed on them, as well as voluntarily, meaning you can contract and engage these muscles when you want or need.

A couple of key things impact how the pelvic floor muscles naturally respond to the load and pressure being placed on them:

1. The Nervous System

Think about times when you’re stressed or anxious, like, oh… 100% of the time. Your body responds to this stress by becoming tense. Your pelvic floor muscles play a part in this hyper-vigilant state and sometimes get a bit too tight and shortened, and can’t relax.

You might notice pain with any kind of insertion, lower back pain, urinary or fecal incontinence, a stinging or UTI-like sensation (uh huh…fun…) or a feeling of pressure in the vagina.

 2. Intra-Abdominal Pressure. 

Your pelvic floor muscles are the floor of your abdominal cavity, so like any floor they’re constantly responding to the loads being placed on them. Your torso is packed with organs, fat, blood, and air. Heavy stuff! And the pressure on the pelvic floor increases even more when we do things like sneeze, cough, hold our breath or lift something heavy.

We need a pelvic floor that can give a bit under pressure without cracking, so to speak. ? When the pelvic floor can’t manage the pressure it’s under we might notice symptoms of leakage, pressure, a sensation of something inside the vagina, bubbles and queefs. *Queefs generally like to wait for the most socially mortifying opportunities, like that yoga class packed with Gen Z supermodels or the first “date night” you’ve had in 4 months. Thanks, body! 

5 times you might have increased pelvic floor symptoms

Now that you see how your pelvic floor muscles can respond to body changes, let’s chat about the times in your life it’s common to feel these changes and pelvic floor symptoms. ?

After a cold or flu

Coughing,  sneezing and vomiting put a whole lot of increased stress and strain on those pelvic floor muscles of yours. And so having some leakage and tension during or after being sick is normal. Spending some extra time breathing and helping to reset your pelvic floor muscles is a great way to get things back on track.

Going back to the office or changing jobs or work environments

If you find yourself sitting at your desk or standing for long periods of time, or basically changing up how you move your body on a regular basis, it’s really common to experience some kind of pelvic floor response to that. If you’ve become more sedentary and find yourself at a desk for long periods you might have some increased tension and stiffness around your hips and lower back, which can definitely affect those pelvic floor muscles.

After a long hiatus from exercise

It’s not uncommon for people to return to the type and level of exercise they were doing before they took a break. And with the full on jump back in, your pelvic floor muscles may not be ready for that level of pressure being placed on them. It’s a good idea to ease back into movement or spend some dedicated time focusing on mobility and strength around your hips and pelvis to wake up your core and pelvic floor muscles.

Different stages of your cycle or perimenapause

Shifts in your hormones can affect your sleep, stress, digestion and even the tone of your tissues/muscles. Different people have different symptoms; some experience a decrease in blood flow to the pelvic floor muscles and tighter, less pliable pelvic floor muscles. While others may experience a softness and weakening of the pelvic floor muscles due to hormonal shifts.

You may experience feelings of dryness, stinging, pain or discomfort with urination or insertion, prolapse, a heaviness or bulging in the vagina.

A period of increased stress and anxiety

How do I stress about thee? Let me count the ways… becoming a new parent, dealing with health issues, financial struggles…we’re often challenged by life and that challenge affects us both mentally and physically. Pain and stiffness are telltale signs that your body, pelvic floor included, needs help letting go. You might also notice neck, aw, upper back or hip pain. Remember it’s a full-body system!

Recognize how that stress shows up in your body and take some time to down-regulate your nervous system with more sleep, calming carbohydrates, intentional breathing practices, focused mobility work or even a quiet walk in nature. (No ankle biters allowed.)

Relax about your pelvic floor so your pelvic floor can, you know, relax

It’s unrealistic and unfounded by research to expect the tissues and joints of your pelvis, including those enigmatic pelvic floor muscles, to go without strain or symptoms for the rest of your life.

You don’t need to resign yourself to a life of annoying and frustrating symptoms. There are SO many tools and movement practices that can help you manage and reduce these symptoms.

⚡️You can start with this guided core- and pelvic floor stretch and strength video right here! Take this 5-minute reset with us. ⚡️

Be calm and confident, friend. You can learn to manage and accept pelvic floor info from your body just like you do the rest of its signals. Shame-free and just regular old annoyed. You know.

Have you noticed any of these life or activity changes have had an impact on your core and pelvic floor symptoms? Share your experience blow!



hey, friend

we're Laura + Dara

We're lifelong trainers and mom friends, and we're on a mission to help you hit reset on your relationship with exercise and start LOVING the way it feels to live in YOUR body!

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