Confused about Kegel Balls
? You're not alone! Confusion around Kegel Balls and the pelvic floor is more common than you may think, with the topic largely mystifying and uncomfortable in society. B
ut given the paramount importance the pelvic floor plays in (all!) women — it shouldn't be.
That's why we're here. To raise some noise, offer clarity and open the conversation around pelvic health in women. To help illuminate the topic is foremost pelvic expert Ruth Schubert, a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist and founder of Exhale Physiotherapy in Byron Bay.
Here, Ruth answers yours questions about Kegel Balls in relation to our pelvic health, including prolapse, pregnancy and the
difference between an underactive and overactive pelvic floor.
AAH Kegel Balls. Shop HereImage: Belle Coutts and Alice CarrettWhat is the role of the pelvic floor, and why is it so important?
It’s a unique and super important set of muscles and ligaments that line the base of your pelvis, running from your pubic bone, out to your sit bones and back to the coccyx. It has three openings: vagina, urethra, and rectum. It’s where you have conscious control of your bladder and bowel. The role your pelvic floor plays in regard to vaginal sensation, arousal and orgasm can make a huge difference to your sex life! The pelvic floor plays a vital role in generating core strength, supporting the organs to prevent prolapse, preventing urinary and fecal incontinence and improving sexual function!Why is it important to have a ‘strong’ pelvic floor?
The pelvic floor undergoes significant changes throughout a woman’s life: during pregnancy, vaginal birth and at menopause, so it’s super important to have it strong to support these changes. It also just generally improves how you feel about yourself! Kegel Balls can help strengthen the pelvic floor which helps improve pelvic floor associated disorders, which affect so many women!What is the difference between an underactive pelvic floor and an overactive pelvic floor?
Overactive pelvic floor — not good at relaxing, stays clenched and tight, can cause pain with sex and inserting tampons, slow flow of bladder and constipation.
Underactive — not good at switching on, low tone, most common cause of this is vaginal childbirth.
AAH Kegel Balls. Shop HereImage: Belle Coutts and Alice CarrettAre there any risks in using Kegel Balls?
Kegel Balls are a safe, low-risk thing to do...but if you notice any pain or discomfort, you should discontinue and see your doctor or pelvic physiotherapist.Should someone young in their early 20’s use them?
Teenagers and women in their mid-20s can already have symptoms of urinary or fecal incontinence, issues with movement and control, and feelings of weakness, so yes they can be an effective treatment option!
They’re also a good way to get in tune with your pelvic floor and how it should contract and relax: there’s nothing wrong with a toned pelvic floor - in fact it will keep you in good stead for the future!
It is important to understand that sometimes you can have bladder leakage when you have a tight pelvic floor, so if you aren't sure check with a pelvic health physiotherapist. Can Kegels help for prolapse?
Yes! The risk of prolapse in a woman who has given birth vaginally increases to 50% by age 50. Most symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction like prolapse can be improved with the strengthening of pelvic floor muscles, which Kegel Balls can help to do. For some women prolapse can make the balls difficult to use (wanting to push them out). For other women the prolapse itself might help keep the kegel ball inside without having to work the muscles. If you aren't feeling a workout from your kegel balls, or they are falling out, check with a pelvic health physiotherapist to see if they are appropriate for you.
AAH Kegel Balls. Shop HereImage: Belle Coutts and Alice CarrettDo you know if you can use them when pregnant?
The kegel balls are a low risk treatment option for strengthening your pelvic floor. In pregnancy, however, it is always best to check with your doctor prior to exercising with your kegel balls. What are the benefits before pregnancy?
The pelvic floor has increased load resting on it in pregnancy, and your ligaments become softer with your pregnancy hormones. If you have a vaginal delivery the pelvic floor muscles can stretch nearly 300%! By having a strong, flexible pelvic floor prior to pregnancy you can reduce your risk of pelvic floor dysfunction during and after your delivery. Ruth Schubert is a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist and founder of Exhale Physiotherapy in Byron Bay. With 20 years experience, she has a specialist interest in pelvic pain, pelvic floor dysfunction and working with pre and post-natal women. You can (and should!) book for a consult with her here.