50 Shades of Kegels
I have actually never read the ’50 Shades’ books but I have certainly heard the conversations and have also witnessed the rise in interest in Lelo Balls – a version of a pelvic floor exercise device made popular by the racy read. I am often asked by clients and friends what my thoughts are on the vagina weights or kegel balls. Here is what I say….
Before you invest in any pelvic floor training device, see a pelvic floor physiotherapist to determine if the gadget will help or hinder. While the world has gone kegel crazy, a device is not always the right solution for women hoping to improve their pelvic floor function and in some cases it may actually make things worse.
Pelvic floor physiotherapists have additional specialized training in the pelvic floor. They assess a part of our body we can’t see to determine the function of the muscles, work through any scar tissue that may be inhibiting ideal function and they help us learn how to properly contract and relax their pelvic floor. These days many women have hypertonic pelvic floor muscles, which in very basic terms means their pelvic floor muscles are always in a state of ‘contraction’ and as a result they become weak and dysfunctional due to overuse. When a woman with a hypertonic pelvic floor uses a kegel device that requires her to grip to hold it inside her body, it only serves to exacerbate the overuse. Once you have learned how to contract and relax your floor and if it is determined that kegels are a good option for you, then you may wish to explore the high tech world of vagina apps. Here are some tips to help you choose the pelvic floor personal trainer that is best for you.
High Tech biofeedback
If you love apps, your smart phone and screen time then one of these products maybe right for you. They are similar in that there is a sensor-packed device that is inserted into the vagina and a corresponding screen (could be their own screen or could be your phone screen) allows you to see your pelvic floor working. Some offer games to add an element of competition to your training.
Elvie – haven’t tried it
KGoal – tried it, easy to use, but didn’t love it
Skea – haven’t tried it but looks similar to kgoal
Kegel8 – tried a similar brand – easy to use, it was ok
Low tech biofeedback
If you prefer a break from technology but appreciate the benefit of being able to see what your muscles are doing, the EPI-NO may be an option for you. A silicone balloon is inserted into the vagina and then inflated to your personal comfort level. The attached gauge allows you to see when you contract and when you relax. Simple and easy to use. It is also a great tool for childbirth preparation!
B-Wom app - love this! Very in line with the work I do
If you would rather ‘feel’ instead of ‘see’ then the low or no technology options may offer you what you are looking for. The balls can be inserted and worn during activity (ideally for short duration activities). But remember, a gadget is not required – your own fingers can be used as can your partner’s fingers or penis.
Lelo Balls - tried them, don't love them personally
Jade Egg - haven't tried
Ben-wa Balls - same as lelo balls
V-Sculpt - this one is interesting...currently testing it and I see some real promise here
Technology offers us amazing things but if you are going to invest in your vagina, my suggestion is to opt for pelvic floor physiotherapy instead.