Hypertonic Pelvic Floor Muscle Dysfunction

What is

Hypertonic Pelvic Floor Muscle Dysfunction?

Hypertonic pelvic floor muscle dysfunction refers to a condition caused by tightness in the pelvic floor muscles, or the “levator ani complex.” This area of taut muscle bands can spasm, which decreases blood flow and oxygenation, increases lactic acid, and causes pelvic pain.

Symptoms of Hypertonic Pelvic Floor Muscle Dysfunction

Sensations of burning, rawness, throbbing, stabbing or aching in the vagina
Urinary symptoms such as frequency, urgency and incomplete emptying of the bladder
Pain during intercourse or inability to have penetrative sex
Hemorrhoids or rectal fissures (tears in the anal area)
Low back and/or hip pain


Also known as vaginismus, hypertonic pelvic floor muscle dysfunction refers to the pain caused by spasms in the muscles that surround the vagina. There is no one clear cause of hypertonic pelvic floor muscle dysfunction, but contributing factors may include anxiety, stress, hip or low back injury, holding urine, excessive core-strengthening exercises, or physical or psychological trauma.


Unfortunately, we cannot treat pelvic floor muscle dysfunction until symptoms are already present, but recovery is possible with early detection and intervention. Treatment for hypertonic pelvic floor muscle dysfunction may include a combination of techniques. Your pelvic pain specialist may recommend:

  • Pelvic floor physical therapy
  • Yoga
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Warm baths
  • Behavioral health approaches
  • Botox
  • Trigger point injections

If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, it may be time to see Dr. Sonia Bahlani.

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