Read our thoughts about and a review of three popular products that claim to improve pelvic floor strength.
We’ve all heard the age-old advice that doing kegels are good for us. And for the majority of people, they are. Kegels, when done along side other workout moves, can help tone and strengthen the pelvic floor, making things like bladder leaks and incontinence less likely. And if that doesn’t mean much to you, consider this: experts say that a stronger pelvic floor can help make orgasms more intense, heightening sexual sensation.
The problem many people face is doing kegels correctly. The nature of kegels makes it hard to know if you’re tightening (and releasing!) the right muscles. That’s where kegel exercisers come in. This new-ish breed of exercise equipment helps you to know exactly how you are performing in the kegel department.
Here’s a overview of three devices that are currently on the market:
Elvie is a popular device that allows you to literally do your pelvic floor workout anywhere. It’s the smallest kegel tracker available and uses a combination app to track your progress. Elvie is made up of medical-grade silicone and has multiple sensors that measure force and help you see your efforts on screen, so women can visualize their kegel exercises in real-time. Elvie even corrects your lift technique, as 30% of women push down which can lead to damage. There are three levels – beginner, intermediate, and advanced. When you first set your Elvie up, you’ll run through a series of tests to gauge your strength, and then will begin advancing through the different levels as you progress, making the tool fun and challenging. Each work out only takes 5 minutes, and as you move up in levels you unlock more games and challenges. Elvie is priced at $199 and can be ordered online through the product’s website.
PeriCoach is an FDA-cleared medical device coupled with a smartphone app to guide women through pelvic floor muscle exercises. The exercise programs ques the user to squeeze and relax against the PeriCoach, providing real-time feedback and guidance for proper contractions of the muscles through displaying activity on the smartphone app. The app also offers a bladder diary to record such things as leaks and pad usage, this information along with exercise history allows the user to see progress over time. PeriCoach real-world user data has demonstrated that the product improved incontinence symptoms in more than 75% of users. Additionally, the PeriCoach user may connect with a doctor or PT and share their exercise data. PeriCoach is available for $299 USD at http://www.pericoach.com.
Yarlap is another pelvic floor exerciser, but this one does much of the work for you. It’s an FDA cleared pelvic floor stimulator that instructs your pelvic floor muscles to gently contract and relax in order to show you how a Kegel exercise should actually feel. The difference between Yarlap vs. Elvie and Pericoach is that the Yarlap does the workout for you. It uses a technology called AutoKegel, which performs the Kegel exercises comfortably, correctly, and easily to help you regain muscle tone. Yarlap consists of a probe, which is inserted into the vagina, and is attached to a display unit, which you can program based on your needs. Yarlap is priced at $299 and can be purchased at http://www.yarlap.com.
A word of caution when considering an electronic device for kegels: Kegels aren’t for everyone, and for some women who have pelvic floors that are too tight, they can even be harmful. It’s just as important for the pelvic floor to be able to relax as it is for it to be able to contract, so use these devices with caution, and, preferably, with the guidance of a physical therapist specialized in the pelvic floor. And, because the pelvic floor connects to many muscles in the body, they shouldn’t be done in isolation. It’s important to strengthen your entire core to ensure that everything is working together, and one muscle isn’t overly taxed during your day-to-day activities. This is where a trained physical therapist can really help customize your workout. If you need help finding a physical therapist in your area, check out our Doctor Finder Tool.
Have you ever tried a pelvic floor exerciser? What were your results?