Am I Imagining Pelvic Muscle Twitches?
Have you ever experienced an odd twitching feeling in your eyelid or an inexplicable spasm in a muscle? These involuntary spasms are incredibly common and most of us don’t think anything of them when they happen. But what if you feel one of those muscle twitches in your vagina? Well, chances are you’re going to take a little more notice!
Pelvic muscle twitches are a very common occurrence but, like many things related to women’s health, they’re far less understood than the spasms we feel in, say, our arm or leg. They can range from mildly irritating to downright painful, and they can cause a host of other uncomfortable pelvic pain symptoms, including lower back pain, pain during urination, constipation, and pain with intercourse. So if this sounds familiar and you’ve felt this type of unpleasant pelvic floor muscle spasm, Pelvic Pain Doc is here to help.
In this post, New York’s pelvic pain specialist Dr. Sonia Bahlani will cover:
- What pelvic muscle twitches are
- Symptoms and causes of pelvic floor muscle spasms
- Treatment options for muscle spasms in the pelvic area
What Are Pelvic Muscle Spasms?
First things first, you’re not imagining things — you really can get random spasms in your pelvic floor muscles! Characterized by an involuntary contraction of the muscles that support the pelvic organs (including the uterus, vagina, bladder and rectum), these spasms are similar to muscle cramps you get in other areas of your body.
Unfortunately, since many doctors are mystified by women’s health, patients are often made to feel like their experience is all in their heads. Pelvic Pain Doc aims to end that kind of thinking. As pelvic pain specialists and advocates for women’s health, we believe that patients know their bodies best. If you’re feeling muscle twitches in your pelvic area, we’ll do whatever we can to find out what’s causing them.
The Causes and Symptoms of Pelvic Floor Spasms
It can be difficult to pinpoint the underlying cause of pelvic muscle twitches, but in many cases, they are the result of overly tight pelvic floor muscles. Also called hypertonic pelvic floor dysfunction, this occurs when the pelvic floor muscles get so wound up that they spasm, which decreases blood flow and oxygenation, increases lactic acid, and ultimately causes pelvic pain.
In other cases, muscle spasms can exist but lay latent, and one may never notice until there is the “perfect storm.” In other cases, it can begin after some sort of trauma, whether physical or emotional. When it comes to pelvic floor muscle twitches, this can also be a compensatory response after childbirth or episiotomy during labor, high intensity exercise, pelvic surgery, or an underlying pelvic pain condition such as endometriosis, interstitial cystitis or vulvodynia/vestibulodynia. Psychological factors, like stress and anxiety, may also contribute to pelvic muscle spasms (think “clenching response”). As we always say at Pelvic Pain Doc, the causes of any kind of pelvic pain are multifactorial and there is never a one-size-fits-all reason for pain.
So what do pelvic muscle twitches feel like? The symptoms of this type of vaginal muscle spasm can often feel similar to those of a urinary tract infection, including painful and frequent urination, and difficulty urinating. But similar to conditions like vaginismus, tests will reveal that there is no infection present, meaning there is no apparent cause. Vaginismus refers to the involuntary contraction and tensing of the muscles surrounding the vagina, often as the result of emotional or physical trauma, or the fear of pain upon penetration. Other symptoms include ongoing pain in the pelvic area and lower back, constipation and pain with intercourse.
How to Treat Pelvic Muscle Spasms
The good news is that you can absolutely find relief from pelvic muscle twitches. Whether you opt for pelvic floor physiotherapy, medications or at-home treatment options, you have the power to easily treat your pelvic floor muscle spasms. Here’s how.
- Try pelvic floor relaxation exercises, incorporating vaginal dilators and wands: Since these twitches are often caused by tight pelvic floor muscles, using dilators can work wonders on preventing pain. In a quiet, calming space, try using these silicone vaginal dilators to gently relax and stretch the muscles around your pelvic floor and vagina. You can use these on your own or with a partner.
- Medications: including oral and local muscle relaxants and medications to help promote relaxation of the pelvic floor
- Talk to your partner: Pelvic floor muscle spasms can be incredibly painful, particularly during intercourse. It’s important for your partner to understand how you’re feeling, what’s comfortable during sex and, most importantly, what hurts. Being in control of penetration, whether with penetrative sex, dilators or toys, can help you ease through and overcome your muscle spasms with confidence.
- Visit a pelvic floor physiotherapist: Just like you might see a physiotherapist to rehabilitate an injured arm, a pelvic floor physio has the specialized expertise to help you retrain your pelvic floor muscles in order to reduce pain. A pelvic floor physiotherapist can give you tools and techniques to relax your pelvic floor so you can get back to feeling like yourself again.
- Try trigger point injections or Botox: Yep, Botox isn’t just for your face anymore. It can actually help significantly reduce pelvic pain and especially pelvic muscle twitches. If you’re curious about how Botox can provide the relief you’re looking for, ask your New York pelvic pain specialist!
- Seek additional support: As we’ve mentioned, there is often a psychological component when it comes to pelvic pain. If you’ve experienced physical, sexual or emotional abuse, it can manifest as pain in the body as a way of protecting you from further harm. If you think you may be experiencing emotional pelvic pain, we encourage you to seek the support of a psychologist. We are happy to connect you with one of the professionals we know and trust.
Wondering if there’s an underlying reason for your pelvic muscle twitches? Struggling to find relief from constant pelvic spasms? Pelvic Pain Doc is here to help you find the answers you’re looking for. Contact Dr. Sonia Bahlani for a consultation today.