Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby: Kegels for Good (Pelvic) Health
-Written by Dr. Anjali Mediboina, House Surgeon, ASRAM
There’s a scene from a movie that’s been popping up on my Instagram these days- the heroine (Lucy Hale for any PLL fans) looking alarmed as mysterious little beads drop from her, well, nether regions. I didn’t get it at first, but after reading the comments, I came to find out that those were Kegel balls.
Basically, Kegels are a set of exercises intended to help strengthen your pelvic floor. Before we dive deeper into them, let me talk about the pelvic floor first.
A pelvic floor is like Goldilocks- it can be weak, tight or just right.
If you have a WEAK pelvic floor:
Kegel exercises are highly recommended, and they’re fairly simple as well.
Step 1: Identify your pelvic muscles
Imagine you’re stopping urination midstream. The muscles you just clenched? Those are you pelvic muscles. Be careful not to clench your thighs, buttocks or abdominal regions!
Step 2: Start small
Start with doing a few contractions for 3 seconds, then releasing for 3 seconds. Don’t hold your breath while doing the exercises- try to breathe through them, instead.
Step 3: Make it part of your routine
Aim for doing 3 sets of 10-15 repetitions in a day. Once you feel more comfortable, and feel your pelvic muscles getting stronger, you can start doing them while sitting, standing or even walking.
Things to keep in mind:
- Don’t use these exercises to actually stop your urination midstream- that can lead to incomplete emptying of your bladder, ultimately leading to a UTI
- If you’re having any kind of trouble doing them, don’t hesitate to meet with your doctor and explain your difficulty.
- While you should be able to see results pretty soon, don’t overdo it! The pelvic floor could get too tight causing urine and fecal incontinence and even prolapse.
So, what are Kegel Balls?
Kegel balls, also known as Ben Wa Beads are mainly used to strengthen vaginal and pelvic muscles. They’ve been well known for enhancing sexual pleasure, but with the awareness of pelvic floor health increasing, these balls are also used to ensure a strong pelvic floor.
If used for pelvic/vaginal muscle strengthening, these beads are typically inserted into the vagina; but if you’re a man/person with a penis, you’d insert it into your anus.
Keep in mind that using these beads come with risks of tears, overexertion and discomfort, so make sure you’re well versed before using.
Do keep these few points in mind:
Also, if you:
- are are pregnant or recently gave birth to a child,
- have existing pelvic pain or a pelvic infection
- have an IUD or menstrual cup
Do check in with your doctor before using them.
For more information, I would really recommend this article by Healthline!
If you have a TIGHT pelvic floor:
Your doctor will most likely refer you to a physiotherapist, who will help you relax your pelvic and abdominal wall muscles.
Though it is unfortunately overlooked, pelvic floor health is extremely important, especially in those who have given birth recently or have had any kind of abdominal surgeries. Do talk to your doctor about any kind of health concerns, no matter how embarrassing it may be…!