03 Jul Weight Lifting For The Vagina
The pelvic floor group of muscles work like every other muscle in the body, but they are generally fairly ignored until someone has a problem. The muscles sling underneath from the pubic bone at the front of the pelvic to the tailbone at the back, and also wrap around the vagina, urethra and rectum.
Since these muscles are at the base of the core and attach onto the spine and pelvis, they can help support the pelvic structures, and are involved in control of botht the bladder and the bowel.
If these muscles are weak, and they are in most people due to the above-mentioned fact that people generally ignore them, some people can experience stress urinary incontinence (SUI), which is when urine leaks occur with exertion, like coughing, sneezing, and jumping. Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) can occur when the weakness of the pelvic floor muscles and other supporting structures causes the bladder or uterus to descend down into the vaginal canal.
So what can be done? Since the pelvic floor muscles are just like other muscles, there are strength-training exercises called “Kegels” that can be very effective in helping SUI and the symptoms of POP. Kegels can be done with short pulses (contraction and release of the pelvic floor muscles that takes 1-2 seconds, repeat 10x) or longer holds (squeezing the pelvic floor muscles and holding them engaged for 5-10 seconds, relaxing completely between repetitions).
Pelvic floor weights (vaginal cones) involve inserting a weight inside the vagina for the time that you would do the Kegel exercises—they are not meant to be worn through the day. The series of weights start out bigger and lighter so they are easier to hold inside, and get smaller and heavier as you improve.
A review of the data tells us that pelvic floor weights are no more effective that simply doing Kegel exercises for strengthening the pelvic floor muscles. If the idea of weight-training for the pelvic floor appeals to you (some women love tools and devices), then they are fine to try. Be sure to use a medical grade set that can be cleaned appropriately.
Making sure that you are doing a proper Kegel is most important. At Elevation Physiotherapy & Wellness, we assess each person to ensure they are performing Kegels properly and get you started on a program to help build strength, endurance and control through the pelvic floor. If you are experiencing urinary incontinence or a prolapse of the pelvic organs, we can help!