Updated: Nov 18
Urinary incontinence, pelvic pain, and a weakened pelvic floor are common symptoms following pregnancy or menopause. At least one in three women will experience a pelvic floor disorder in her lifetime.
You may have already spoken to a doctor about what you can do about your incontinence issues. Your doctor probably advised you to make certain lifestyle changes and begin Kegel exercises to strengthen pelvic floor muscles around your vagina and urethra. One way to maximize those exercise is by using a pelvic floor trainer.
What is a Pelvic Floor Trainer?
The pelvic floor is a group of muscles that support your uterus, bladder, small intestine, and rectum by keeping them in place and helping them work properly. Pelvic floor exercises help strengthen those muscles that are crucial for controlling your bladder and bowel movements. Problems can arise when the pelvic floor muscles are weakened or torn mostly due to pregnancy, childbirth, or menopause. This can then lead to bladder control issues or pelvic organ prolapse. These issues are most common during the postpartum period.
A pelvic floor trainer (or Kegel exercise device) helps tone and strengthen the muscles around your vagina, pelvis, and anus.
Do I Need a Pelvic Floor Trainer?
Constipation, incontinence, and painful sex are a few symptoms of a weak pelvic floor. Pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD) results from pelvic floor muscles that are either too tight or too loose.
Many factors can contribute to pelvic floor dysfunction — high-tone (too much muscle tension) and low-tone (not enough muscle tension). The primary culprits are pregnancy, trauma, or chronic constipation followed by accompanying symptoms of lower back, pelvis, or genital pain and trouble holding in urine or stool.
To answer the question — "Do I need a pelvic floor trainer?" — depends on the severity of your symptoms.
How Do Pelvic Floor Trainers Work?
Pelvic floor trainers use a mild electric current to contract and relax the muscles in and
around the pelvic floor. They are designed to contract the correct muscles effortlessly,
each and every time.
Kegel devices should come with detailed instructions to read and understand before using them in your exercises. Personal lubrication is usually included and helps to better contract the muscles.
While a device isn’t necessary to strengthen pelvic floor muscles, you may prefer the assistance of a pelvic floor trainer because the exercise is so critical to symptom improvement and resolution.
What Else Should I Know About Kegel Trainers?
There are a few more tidbits of information you should know before deciding on whether or not a pelvic floor trainer is right for you.
Proper Form Is Important
Kegel exercises can be deceivingly challenging, especially since some women don't realize where the pelvic floor muscles are located, what to focus on to do the exercises, and how hard they should be squeezing their muscles. The best way to identify your pelvic floor muscles is by inserting a finger into your vagina and pretending you're not trying to pass gas.
Contract your muscles the same way as if you were attempting to hold in your urine, then relax them. The muscles should tighten around your finger. Avoid incorporating your thigh, abdominal, and butt muscles, as they should be relaxed if done correctly.
Now that you've identified where the Kegel muscles are located, you can develop a complete exercise routine. You can begin pelvic floor exercises with or without a trainer device although an electric pelvic floor stimulator will make sure that you use the correct muscles each and every time.
Don't Expect Instant Results
Pelvic floor muscles are muscles. Just like any other muscle in your body, they will take time to strengthen. Physical therapists recommend using devices such as Dr. Jane’s ITS for 90 days.. If you currently suffer from pelvic floor muscle conditions like urinary incontinence, improvements may begin to show around four weeks after starting your exercise routine. Results, of course, will vary depending on your situation.
Women without pelvic floor symptoms may not see any noticeable results. However, pelvic floor muscles continue to strengthen with correct form and a consistent routine. This could help in preventing issues like incontinence later in life.
Kegel exercises not only address pelvic dysfunction but can also help you develop a more muscular and better functioning pelvic floor, which helps some women experience more intense orgasms.
Pelvic Floor Trainers and You
Are pelvic floor trainers worth it? That’s a question that can only truly be answered by using one yourself. Do they work, however? An emphatic yes. Pelvic floor trainers do work. When used properly, they can help you strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and help prevent issues including urinary incontinence, loss of bowel control, and pelvic organ prolapse.
Will a pelvic floor trainer help your specific issue? That is a question for your physical therapist or physician, who can recommend the best form of treatment for your condition and situation.