Understanding the world of pelvic floor trainers
The research is clear that simple, regular pelvic floor muscle exercises are the most effective prevention and treatment to achieve happy and healthy pelvic floors.
All women should exercise their pelvic floor muscles between three and six times a day, whether they have symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction or not. Men should only exercise when they have symptoms—such as urinary incontinence—and should not exercise as a routine activity.
What should you do if you are struggling to do your pelvic floor muscle exercises? Or if you have been exercising for some time, and have not found your pelvic health symptoms persist?
The first step is to go and see a pelvic health physiotherapist for an individualised assessment and treatment plan. However, if this is not possible for you, or if you would prefer to try using a gadget to see if that helps your pelvic floor to work more effectively, then we have some tips for you.
There are a variety of gadgets available to purchase, and the ones that are usually called ‘pelvic floor trainers’ are those that help to enhance the efficacy of your pelvic floor muscles exercises as you do them, or do all the work for you!
Electrical stimulators, such as the Kegel 8 range send an electrical charge into your muscles to make them squeeze and relax. It doesn’t hurt, but will give a tingly sensation. The electrical charge is applied by an internal vaginal or anal probe, and an average session takes around 20 minutes. This can be done two to three times a week.
There are also products that do not use internal devices, such as Innovo shorts, but these tend to be a little less effective than using internal probes.
Electrical stimulation can be particularly good when pelvic floor muscle strength is quite low, or when exercises alone are not making a significant difference.
Biofeedback devices—such as Elvie, Pericoach and Pelvifly—work alongside your own exercises, and use an internal or external probe, with a connected app, to give you feedback on how well you are working your muscles. The research suggests that they do not enhance the efficacy of your exercises, but some people find that they help with their motivation.
It is important to choose a device that you think you will actually use, as none of them will work if they simply sit in your cupboard! However, it is always best to see a pelvic health physiotherapist first, if at all possible, and find out what treatment, or device, would be best suited to your needs.