Pelvic floor gadgets? Are they worth it?
Pelvic floor gadget manufacturers make lots of claims about how good their products are at training your pelvic floor muscles. However the best way to strength your pelvic floor is to do pelvic floor exercises. There is no quick fix.
Unfortunately vaginal cones, weights, biofeedback machines and magnetic chairs have NOT been shown to be more effective than good old fashioned exercise.
A recent multicentre, randomised study of 600 women showed no benefit in the use of adding biofeedback to a pelvic floor exercise program. In fact it recommended routine use of biofeedback NOT be used.
Pelvic floor exercises are free and very effective.
However it is important to do them correctly and to do them regularly.
Gadgets can be a good aid to help remind you to do your exercises, but they aren’t a shortcut to improving your pelvic floor and can often be expensive and time consuming. Pelvic floor exercises floor exercises are important as they:
1) help women rebuild strength in your pelvic floor muscles after pregnancy and childbirth
2) help prevent problems in future as your pelvic floor will become weaker as you have more children and/or as you age.
Keeping up regular pelvic floor exercises can help with symptoms such as:
accidental urine leaks (stress incontinence or urgency)
pelvic pain such as back pain, hip pain or sacroiliac pain
reduced sensation during sexual intercourse
reduce your risk of pelvic organ prolapse. This is when one (or more) of your pelvic organs (such as your uterus, bladder or bowel) starts to drop. This can give symptoms of heaviness or pressure in the pelvis or vaginal area
Before you invest in a gadget, make sure you're doing your exercises correctly. It's easy to ‘cheat’ or tense up the wrong muscles while trying to contract your pelvic floor.
If you are having any symptoms (such as leaking, dragging, or heaviness down below) or if you are worried if you are doing the exercises incorrectly, you should see a pelvic floor physiotherapist. This is a physiotherapist that has completed specialised training in the pelvic floor. Although common, it is NOT normal to leak and physiotherapy may help.
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Reference: Effectiveness of pelvic floor muscle training with an without electromyographic biofeedback for urinary incontinence in women: multicentre randomised controlled trail. Hagen et al. The BMJ, October 2020