The pelvic floor may be overlooked, but it definitely shouldn’t be! Elvie, the Kegel trainer changing the world, one vagina at a time, tells us what we need to know about one of our most intimate muscles.
So, you’ve heard of Mula Bandha? The bandhas are well known mechanisms to direct the flow of prana energy in yoga, in this case, towards your root chakra or pelvic area. But did you know that there’s also a lot of science behind strengthening and toning your pelvic floor? There’s more to your pelvic floor than you might think.
Pelvic floor 101
The pelvic floor is a powerful set of muscles that sits like a hammock between your tailbone and pubic bone. It supports your central organs, including your bladder, uterus and bowel, and keeps them all where they should be. They play an important role in women’s health, including sexual and emotional well-being.
Pelvic floor weakness is surprisingly common and affects 1 in 3 women in the UK as a result of genetics, high-impact sports (even squats and running), pregnancy, childbirth and aging. Symptoms of a weak pelvic floor can range from a little leakage when you sneeze to unexpected accidents when you don’t get to a loo in time, and in rare cases, organ prolapse. Yikes! But don’t worry, we come to you with the tools for a healthy, happy pelvic floor.
The origins of Kegel exercises
It is possible to strengthen and tone your pelvic floor with targeted exercises, aka pelvic floor or Kegel exercises. Pelvic floor exercises were first recognised and developed in the West by Arnold Kegel, an American gynaecologist, who published his findings in 1948. Regular pelvic floor training improves bladder control, core strength and intimate health, and is often used as a first-line treatment for pelvic floor disorders. Kegels also help support pregnancy. speed up postnatal recovery, relieve back pain and reduce the risk of prolapse.
So whether you’re looking to sort your symptoms, avoid issues down the line or for more control, core strength and stronger orgasms, you’ll be glad you did your Kegels!
From a young age, many women are told to do pelvic floor exercises by squeezing as if you’re stopping your pee mid-stream. This can help you identify the muscles, and just like any muscle, they need to be exercised (but not on the loo please as this can be problematic long-term).
Kegels are easy enough in theory: simply contract your pelvic floor muscles for 5-10 seconds, rest and repeat several times a day. But pelvic floor exercises need to be performed regularly and correctly to be effective.
Getting the most out of your pelvic floor exercises
30% of women perform their Kegels incorrectly by pushing down instead of lifting, which can cause more damage to the pelvic floor. It can be difficult to exercise a muscle you can’t see, not to mention stay motivated without the ability to track your progress. We get it.
Biofeedback has been a game-changer in this area, helping women visualise their pelvic floor exercises and improving outcomes. Unfortunately, for a long time, this meant being hooked up to machinery with an uncomfortable vaginal probe in a hospital setting. There must be a better way, right?
Elvie Trainer is transforming the way women take care of their pelvic floor. The small pebble-shaped pod is inserted like a tampon and connects to an app on your smartphone. The app visualizes your technique in response to your muscle movements and guides you through fun, five-minute workouts to build pelvic floor strength. Think of it as your most personal trainer, encouraging you and challenging you to get stronger!
So when should you start?
It’s never too late to start exercising your pelvic floor, but the sooner you get started the better! Pelvic floor health often gets overlooked until pregnancy or health issues arise, due to the taboo around women’s intimate health issues. But a regular and effective Kegel exercise routine can keep the pelvic floor strong and avoid complications later in life – time to get squeezing!