The rather annoying fact is that we should all be exercising our pelvic floor muscles (or kegels, as they’re also known), even if we haven’t recently pushed out a baby. But after childbirth it’s especially important to get your pelvic floor in shape, for a whole variety of reasons. A pelvic floor exerciser (or pelvic toner) makes this a painless process that soon becomes part of your daily routine.
Incontinence: 25-30% of women aged between 45 and 65 in the UK experience some form of incontinence. ‘Stress’ incontinence is particularly common amongst new mums, and takes the form of leaks when pressure is put on the bladder through coughing, sneezing, exercise or even laughing. This is all down to the pelvic floor muscles being too weak to control the bladder, meaning it pretty much takes on a life of its own. A pelvic floor exerciser / pelvic toner strengthens these muscles, putting you back in control.
Pelvic Pain: After childbirth the pelvic floor muscles can become tight and inflamed, causing a lot of pain. A pelvic floor exerciser allows these muscles to relax and contract, so they work in harmony with the rest of your pelvis and leaving you pain-free.
Prolapse: Pelvic prolapse is an unfortunately common side effect of giving birth, when one or more of the pelvic organs descends and pushes against the walls of your vagina. This can happen when the pelvic muscles (which hold all the pelvic organs in place) become weak or stretched from childbirth. This can cause discomfort during sex or incontinence (see above). A pelvic floor exerciser / pelvic toner will give the muscles the strength they need to hold all pelvic organs in place, as they did before they had to contend with holding a small human.
Lack of sensation during sex: In Britain, we don’t really talk about this kind of stuff. Or if we do, it’s with a red face and a desire to get to the end of the conversation as quickly as possible. However in other more laid-back, normal countries, it’s an accepted fact that after childbirth your sex life can suffer due to the fact that your pelvic floor muscles are no longer up to the job. When the pelvic floor muscles are weak, it’s very possible that neither of you will feel much sensation.
A pelvic floor exerciser sorts the issue out in a matter of weeks by strengthening the vaginal muscles, giving you more control and increasing sexual sensation for you both. And do your friends a favour – don’t be British about it, tell them about your pelvic floor exerciser!
The pelvic floor exerciser you buy will be one of two types – a neuromuscular electronic stimulator (NMES), which is a lot better than it sounds, or a biofeedback device. The NMESs work via a ‘probe’ (note to pelvic floor exerciser makers out there – probe is not a good word), which, once inserted into your vagina, will deliver electronic pulses that stimulate the surrounding muscles.
You are able to control the intensity of the pulses, the idea being that you start low and gradually get higher as your muscles get stronger and are able to handle the higher intensity. This is the more traditional kind of pelvic floor exerciser and has grown in sophistication over the years to provide a wide variety of subtly different impulses to combat various specific medical issues.
Biofeedback devices are newer on the scene and tend to incorporate more modern technology that enables you to feel more involved in the process of strengthening your pelvic floor. You will squeeze and contract by yourself, rather than having the muscle work done for you, and receive feedback on your progress (ability to squeeze) as you go.
You should! It can be a tricky to pick through the multitudes of pelvic floor exercisers out there though, as many of them look very similar, and you’ll want to know what’s so different or good about the ones that look different.
As we do at Top Five Baby, we’ve chosen our top five, so you can know you’re buying a pelvic floor exerciser / pelvic toner that works for best you. We’ve tested and reviewed completely independently so you get an informed, unbiased opinion. Happy kegeling!