Something that you’ll be told to do during pregnancy and afterwards, is Kegel exercises. In fact it was plastered over the back of every toilet door in the maternity ward I was on, and since I was there for 10 days I saw it quite a lot!
If you don’t know what Kegel exercises are, they are exercises which work the pelvic floor muscles. These muscles support the uterus, bladder, small intestine and rectum and during pregnancy and especially then during childbirth, these muscles are put under a tremendous amount of pressure and can easily become loose or damaged. By doing simple Kegel exercises you can give the whole area a workout, which can help your pelvic floor bounce back after childbirth and help prevent a wide range of urinary and pelvic floor issues that can occur. It’s not just for pregnant women or new mums though – fact is, age takes a toll and the stronger your muscles are the less likely you are to have problems as you get older.
Like most people, I’m a bit shy about talking about issues in this area. No one really wants to talk about their vagina, about peeing and pooping or losing control of their bodily functions. It’s not because it’s gross – I don’t think it is, just that it’s a private thing that you’re not going to have a chinwag about with a stranger. But the problem is when we don’t talk about it, it becomes tabboo, women might not feel comfortable talking to anyone, including their medical professional. If we could all have a chat about it as friends, it would be much easier to share advice and get empathy and understanding from other women.
So here I am, talking about my rather lazy pelvic floor muscles and the fact that yes, pregnancy and childbirth has definitely affected me in that area, in the hopes that it will be helpful to other women, whether you’re a mum yet or not.
How do I do a Kegel Exercise
You do a Kegel exercise by clenching with your pelvic floor muscles – as if you were trying to stop your urine midstream – hold for three to five seconds, and then relax for three to five seconds. Repeat ten times! It’s tht simple.
You can find more about Kegel exercises from the NHS, or by talking to your midwife, nurse, GP or any health professional.
The Perifit Pelvic Floor Trainer
The Perifit (more information / available here) makes Kegel exercises a little bit different, interesting, and dare I say it – even fun! This is a small device that you insert into your vagina that connects to an app via Bluetooth and lets you track your Kegel training and even play games with your muscle clenches. Yes, that’s right, you can play games with your vagina, that’s certainly a new take on girl gamer.
As someone who loves technology, games, apps and my vagina, I was really intrigued and wanted to try it out. I shared the concept with a few female friends first and everyone definitely thought it was unique, although I did get a few comments about it looking like a sex toy!
The fact is, it does look like a (pretty small) sex toy, but it is actually a medical device and I don’t think we should be embarrassed to talk about it. The Perifit is fairly compact at 0.8″ wide and 4.3″ total length (3″ is inserted) and it only weighs 52g in weight. It’s easy to insert without any discomfort and the string hangs out of the bottom tampon style, so it’s easily removed once you’re done. It’s FDA and CE approved, designed by doctors and recommended by physiotherapists. It’s waterproof, made out of medical grade silicone and you can wash it with a bit of hot water and mild soap. No special chemicals or anything fancy needed.
It’s a completely sealed unit which makes it very hygienic and the battery – which isn’t replaceable because of this – will last for 1,000 sessions that are 10 minutes in length. Even if you used this every single day for ten minutes, it would last over three years. The App it comes with was very easy to set up and use, and is available for iPhone 4s and above or Android 4.4 and above, so doesn’t need a top of the line device to use.
Why is this better than just doing normal Kegels?
The main reason to use a Perifit device in my opinion is it makes training these muscles fun. I like having fun, and doing exercise isn’t anywhere near my fun list, so I often try to make things more interesting – whether it’s playing a game like my current favourite Switch dance off, listening to music, watching a movie whilst I’m on the treadmill or challenging myself to beat my personal best.
The Perifit games are fun and simple to play. They’re like the viral mobile app Flappy Bird, except instead of flapping your fingers you’re flapping your pelvic muscles. The character goes up or down on your phone based on whether you’re squeezing or relaxing, allowing you to collect good stuff and avoid enemies. This makes a whole set of exercises go by super quickly with guaranteed no boredom. You can actually see your muscles get stronger as you play the game more and beat your own times and I think a sense of progress and achievement is a really important part of exercising – and one we can’t usually get for the pelvic floor.
There are different training programs for different levels of problems and I think the feedback it gives helps give women confidence that they’re doing these exercises correctly.
That last option? Intimate well-being is code for “better sex”, which sounds good to me too!
Finally, should you wish to make an account, you can rank yourself against other people. There’s no direct multiplayer, but who knows – Vagina Wars may be on the horizon.
Are there any downsides to the Perifit Pelvic Floor Trainer?
Nothing in life is perfect, and the main downside to the Perifit is simply that you do have to insert the device and make sure you’re in the correct position for the sensors to read you, which means you’re going to want a bit of me time without the kids asking what on earth you’re doing, and in my case without my husband around as he found the whole concept rather funny. You will need your phone handy as well as the device isn’t super useful without the App running.
Of course there’s no reason you can’t still do your stealth Kegels after using the loo or whilst sitting down at your desk – and then having a more thorough workout when you’ve got some alone time.
To summarise after using the Perifit Pelvic Floor Trainer for a month
- Very easy to set up and use
- Excellent feedback on whether you’re doing exercises correctly
- Multiple training programs to suit your personal situation
- Accurate sensors
- Makes Kegel exercises much more fun
- Track your progress
- Easy to wash after use
- Can be used in conjunction with normal Kegel exercises or any regime recommended by your doctor or physiotherapist
- Costs $199
- You’ll need some private time to use it
The cost does make this an investment, but investing into your intimate health seems like a pretty good idea to me. As you can see the advantages are pretty compelling and having used the Perifit Pelvic Floor Trainer for the last month, I’m ready to give it a firm thumbs up and recommend it to women of any age and situation who’d like to keep their pelvic floor in shape.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary Perifit and was asked to share my thoughts on it. My opinions are my own.