Pelvic Floor Tension and Urinary Symptoms

February 19, 2024

At our practice at the Austin Urology Institute, we have noticed a recurring pattern among a subset of patients: active adults under 50 experiencing severe urinary issues despite the absence of bacterial infections. This trend is not unique to our practice but reflects broader shifts in healthcare trends over the last decade. According to data from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), pelvic floor disorders, including urinary symptoms, have become increasingly prevalent among younger adults, with a significant proportion reporting symptoms related to pelvic floor dysfunction. Interestingly enough, we have noticed a strong correlation in our practice with intense, routine abdominal exercises and issues caused by chronic pelvic floor tension. 

Wait a Minute, Working Out Can Cause Pelvic Floor Tension?

Look, exercise is a must. The health benefits of routine, moderate to high-intensity exercise have been long studied. Don’t let this data take you off your New Year’s resolution kick! What we have noticed is that intense exercise routines, particularly those emphasizing abdominal and lower body strength, have become a staple in many individuals’ fitness regimens. However, the repetitive nature of exercises such as crunches, squats, and lunges can inadvertently contribute to pelvic floor tension. Our own patient data corroborates this, with a notable correlation between high-intensity workouts and pelvic floor dysfunction among younger adults. Coupled with underlying anxiety, which is also on the rise, these factors create a perfect storm for pelvic floor tension and urinary symptoms.

Addressing Pelvic Floor Tension

Addressing pelvic floor tension requires a multifaceted approach that recognizes the interconnectedness of physical activity, anxiety, and pelvic health. While medication and surgical interventions may be necessary in some cases, there are several non-invasive strategies individuals can try on their own:

  • Pelvic Floor Relaxation Techniques – Incorporating relaxation techniques into daily routines can promote relaxation of the pelvic floor muscles and reduce overall stress levels. Data from clinical studies support the efficacy of relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises and mindfulness meditation in reducing pelvic floor tension and improving urinary symptoms.
  • Stretching and Mobility Work- Specific stretches targeting the pelvic floor and surrounding muscles can help release tension and improve flexibility. Real-world data from pelvic floor physical therapy programs have shown significant improvements in urinary symptoms and pelvic floor dysfunction with the inclusion of stretching exercises in treatment protocols.
  • Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy- Seeking guidance from a pelvic floor physical therapist can provide personalized exercises and techniques to address pelvic floor tension. Data from patient outcomes indicate that pelvic floor biofeedback therapy, manual therapy, and trigger point release techniques are effective interventions for promoting pelvic floor relaxation and improving urinary symptoms

Austin Urology Institute is Ready To Help

At the Austin Urology Institute, we understand the importance of proper evaluation before initiating pelvic floor interventions. We have experienced pelvic floor therapists who specialize in assessing and treating pelvic floor dysfunction in both men and women. While kegel exercises are commonly known, they may not be suitable for individuals with an already tight pelvic floor, as they can further exacerbate tension. That’s why it’s essential for patients to undergo a thorough evaluation by a healthcare professional before beginning any pelvic floor regimen.  As healthcare professionals, it’s essential to recognize the evolving landscape of pelvic floor disorders and adapt our approaches accordingly. By understanding the impact of exercise, anxiety, and pelvic floor tension on urinary symptoms, we can offer targeted interventions that address the root causes of our patients’ health issues. Through a combination of education, lifestyle modifications, and personalized care, we empower our patients to take control of their pelvic health and improve their quality of life. Together, we unravel the complexities of pelvic floor tension and urinary symptoms, forging a path towards lasting relief and wellness. As one of the best urologists in Austin, we understand the myriad ways in which pelvic floor tension can cause or exacerbate preexisting urological issues. Contact us today to set up an appointment!