If you have experienced stress incontinence, you may have heard of kegel exercise devices. These devices are becoming more and more popular.
Kegel exercise devices claim to strengthen the pelvic floor better than traditionally practising the exercises, and can speed up the process. These devices now come in many shapes, sizes and styles. Some of these devices are designed to be used with a phone app, whereas others can be used independently. Using one of these devices can help you to identify your pelvic floor or progress your current routine.
Who is Pelvic Floor Muscle Training Recommended For?
Pelvic floor muscle training is the most common treatment method for women with stress incontinence. It can also be recommended for mixed and urge incontinence. It is most commonly recommended for women who have given birth and are experiencing pelvic floor problems. Improved bladder control and a smoother recovery from pregnancy are just some of the benefits of using a kegel device. They can also be used to improve sexual sensation problems. Dr. Arnold Kegel, inventor of kegel exercises explains, “muscles that have lost tone, texture and function can be restored to use by active exercise against progressive resistance. Muscles increase in strength in direct proportion to the demands placed upon them.” You should however remember that not all pelvic floor problems are caused by weak pelvic floor muscles, and there may be other causes. Before using a device, it is always recommended to visit a gynaecologist to ensure this is the problem. Most devices are not suitable during pregnancy or immediately after giving birth.
“I am stronger than ever after using my pelvic floor device. I started seeing results after 3 weeks. I feel strong and confident.”- Nicole, 35
The Different Types of Kegel Exercise Devices
- Pressure Biofeedback (also called perineometers)
- Electrical Stimulators
- Visual feedback
- EMG biofeedback
- Force plate feedback - the latest technology utilising smartphone technology
- Weights and cones
This is a sleek device that connects to an app on your smart phone. Elvie is a brand new pelvic trainer and has made the news due to its advanced technology. This app visualizes your pelvic floor movements in real time and guides you through exercises designed by pelvic floor specialists to strengthen and tone your pelvic floor.
Elvie actually monitors your muscles rather than just the pressure of your squeezes. It offers different training tracks, depending on your starting pelvic floor fitness. It comes in a cool case that doubles as a charger. There are a substantial number of reviews online complaining about this product being slightly less comfortable than the rest.
Manufacturer’s Advice: The manufacturers state that Elvie can be used during pregnancy, as long as you do not have any complications.
“Expensive but a must have after child birth!” – Kathryn, 33
Kegel Smart is simpler than the products which rely on a phone app. It has a loop you pull to get it back out, and lets you know how you’re progressing via a flashing light on the side. It is very subtle, and slightly less obtrusive than most other products. This product works like a personal trainer, setting a routine that is simple to follow and tailored to your individual needs. This device registers pelvic strength, automatically sets an exercise level and uses a simple vibration guided program.
Manufacturer’s Advice: Should not be used during pregnancy or immediately after giving birth.
“Super easy to use, effective!”- Madison, 29
The part you insert inflates for the perfect fit, with a little arm that wraps up the front. As you squeeze, a line moves on your screen. Each level is designed like a game. The device offers a unique combination of guidance, biofeedback and personalised workouts. This product also adapts to your body for maximum comfort, with a soft air pillow that is flexible and adjustable to fit your body.
Manufacturer’s Advice: This is not recommended for use during the first trimester, after the bag of waters has opened, or for the first 6 weeks after delivery.
“LOVE this product. It is very simple, comfortable, and fun to use” – Dianne, 54
What is the Verdict?
As a whole, reviews on kegel devices are generally positive and there is enough evidence to show that they do actually work. However, studies on progress show that gadgets and aids should be used alongside traditional pelvic floor exercises. Kegel exercise devices can be a great device in speeding up the process of strengthening the pelvic floor, however it is advised to practise traditional exercises alongside these. Although a bit pricey, buying a kegel device will do no harm and will help you speed up the process. Just remember not to replace this with traditional exercises.
How to Do Pelvic Floor Exercises
Practising pelvic floor exercises is simple; simply find the muscles that control your urine flow. Contract these muscles for 3 seconds, then release them. You should try and practice these around 12 times a day.