The use of Kegel exercise devices is increasing in popularity as more women and healthcare professionals are having open conversations about personal experiences with bladder leaks, the importance of pelvic floor health, and the prevalence of urinary problems in women. These devices are a great option for women who want to address a bladder problem or just continue to maintain a healthy pelvic floor.
But how much do these pelvic floor exercise devices cost, do they really work, and which type is best for your specific needs and lifestyle? We will answer these questions and more so you can make an informed decision about the right Kegel exercise machine or device for you.
What are Kegel exercise devices?
Kegel exercises (aka Kegeling) are one of the most important things you can do to improve reproductive and urinary health. By identifying and isolating your pelvic floor muscles, then exercising these muscles through a series of contractions, you are conditioning your pelvic floor. The improved muscle tone can mean longer time between trips to the bathroom, fewer leaks, speedier recovery from childbirth, and possibly more intense orgasms.
As simple as pelvic floor exercises may sound, many women struggle to do them correctly or fail to create a consistent routine for performing the exercises daily. In recent years, Kegel exercise devices have increased in popularity as a way to provide extra help to those that struggle to perform Kegels correctly for frequently enough.
Within the pelvic floor device category, not all products are equal, and only some have been cleared by the FDA to treat incontinence. They also vary greatly in where they are placed and how they work.
These smooth weights are placed in the vagina. You simply squeeze your pelvic floor muscles to keep the weight from falling out. Jade eggs were used for this purpose in Ancient China and are still available today. There are now variations on this original form (cones, balls, double bulbs) and some have a string or tether to aide in removal. Women can wear them from a few hours to all day.
Pros: Weights are cheap and easy to use, with only slight discomfort.
Cons: Weights should be cleaned thoroughly after every use to prevent infection. They require some conscious effort to keep them in place, so not surprisingly, humorous stories abound of weights dropping out of ladies’ skirts at inopportune times!
Biofeedback devices monitor how well a women is squeezing her pelvic floor muscles, and provide feedback on whether she is squeezing the correct muscles, and how hard she is squeezing. These devices are often called “trainers.” A probe is placed in the vagina and the user squeezes her pelvic floor muscles, often according to a programmed routine. They may be as simple as an air pressure gauge, but more modern designs include an electronic sensor that communicates with a “fun” mobile app. Devices such as Elvie, Kegel Smart and KGoal are some of the more common brands.
Pros: Relatively inexpensive. New digital models “coach” the women through each session and record her progress
Cons: Must be cleaned thoroughly to prevent infection. Require privacy and dedicated time. You only get out of it what you put in (i.e. you still do all the work). Fit may be an issue. These are not FDA-cleared to treat incontinence.
Electrical Stimulation – Vaginal
Electrical stimulation may sound scary, but it has been used for more than forty years to treat incontinence. These products delivery small electrical currents to “activate” muscles, similar to how electric impulses from the brain activate muscles. A probe is placed in the vagina and delivers a pre-set program that does Kegel exercises for the user. Some current models are FDA cleared for at-home use, eliminating the need for visits to the clinician’s office.
Pros: Automatically contracts the correct muscles; does the exercises longer and stronger than the user could likely do on her own. Most are FDA-cleared to treat stress incontinence.
Cons: Because these vaginal devices are active, they may feel more invasive than the biofeedback devices. They should be cleaned well to prevent infection. Their use requires privacy and dedicated time. Fit may be an issue.
Electrical Stimulation – External
Several externally applied electrical stimulation devices have recently been cleared by the FDA. Much like the vaginal electrical stimulation devices, these products exercise the pelvic floor muscles, but deliver the stimulation through the skin, without a vaginally inserted component. They can be used at home, and some can be discreetly worn under clothing.
Pros: Automatically contracts the correct muscles; does the exercises longer and stronger than the user could likely do on her own. They are FDA-cleared to treat incontinence. Wearable, so it allows one to walk around and do other things.
Cons: Potential for skin irritation. Some are configured as bike shorts that need to be sized correctly to be effective.
Getting the Most Out of Your Pelvic Floor Device
If you decide that a device is right for you, it’s important that you make the most of your investment.
Suffer from stress incontinence? Choose a device that has been FDA cleared to treat your symptoms.
Keep in mind that medications, injectables, and implantables primarily treat urge incontinence and may not affect the pelvic floor muscles.
If you have an aversion to placing an object into your “nether regions” (aka vaginal insertion), opt for a device that is applied externally.
Live a busy life with little to no alone time? Consider an option that is discreet and allows you the freedom to move around while you treat.
ELITONE® Kegel Exercise Device & Stress Incontinence Treatment
If you’re ready to try a Kegel device that’s non-vaginal and FDA cleared to treat stress incontinence, consider ELITONE. It’s clinically proven to reduce (and possibly eliminate) leaks in as few as 6 weeks.
Designed specifically for women by a woman, ELITONE can be worn under your clothing, so you can do other things, including walking the dog and cooking dinner, while receiving your short 20-minute treatment.
Performs 100 muscle contractions per session.
95% of Gynecologists would recommend it to patients.
95% of women that have used it report having fewer leaks. Leaks per day were reduced by 71% on average in a short 6 week study.