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Gadgets for training your pelvic floor – September 2023

Pelvic Floor Equipment.

In this world of fast food, fast fashion and our fast-paced lives we all want a quick fix. Unfortunately it is hard to apply this approach to the human body.

Many companies sell pelvic floor training devices which are often described as instant solutions and promise to do the exercises for you.

Sadly this is not the case and women do often come to us having spent lots of money on equipment which is neither suitable for their condition nor effective. In some cases their condition can be made worse.

That being said, some of these devices do have their place. If you are struggling to feel the pelvic floor muscles or isolate them, then a biofeedback device can help you understand how to squeeze the muscles. These devices use vaginal (or anal) probe with a sensor, which detects a muscle squeeze and usually scores it in terms of strength and hold time. This can help as you get to know where your muscles are and how to squeeze them, with the eventual aim that you would be able to squeeze them yourself with practice.

Other devices that concentrate more on improving the feel of the muscle squeeze if you are struggling to find it because of sensation or weakness. These deliver a gentle ‘tingling’ or ‘pulsing’ sensation to the area to help you feel where to squeeze via a gentle electrical current called Neuromuscular Stimulation or NMS.

Vaginal weights or ‘eggs’ are also sold as devices to be put in and left as a solution to pelvic floor weakness. These again do have their place but can fall- out easily in some women which is very soul -destroying, but can also drag on areas of weakness and create further problems.

Other devices include pelvic floor shorts, pelvic floor chairs and many more. The market has gone crazy for weird and wonderful contraptions promising to help, most with little evidence base.

Each device is specialist in itself and we would highly recommend that if you are getting to the stage of thinking about buying a device, then it’s time to seek help from a Specialist Pelvic Health Physiotherapist.  We can talk to you about your problem and assess and advise whether you are suitable for any type of equipment .We have access to single- use equipment you can loan from us for free and we can see you regularly to supervise and advise you on your pelvic floor rehabilitation journey.

The key messages are, don’t expect a quick fix- muscles can take 3-6 months to strengthen so be patient. Don’t be lured in by the promise of a wonder device. If sounds too good to be true it usually is. And finally,  we are here to help and are specialist in this field. If in doubt get a referral to us….I promise it will be worth it!

Written by Jennifer Westley, Specialist Pelvic Health Physiotherapist. 01/09/23