What vitamins are good for PMS?

What vitamins are good for PMS?

If you have a period, chances are you’re well acquainted with premenstrual syndrome (PMS). By some estimates, more than 90% of women have experienced some form of PMS. And because there are as many as 150 physical, behavioral, emotional, and cognitive symptoms associated with PMS, that means you can expect to experience some combination of symptoms like irritability, depression, uncontrolled crying, bloating, breast tenderness, headaches, cramps, acne, brain fog, and muscle aches … Every. Single. Month.

These are pretty major symptoms, and for many women, they’re severe enough to impair normal daily functioning. PMS causes real suffering for a lot of women, and yet, it continues to be minimized and treated as a joke. Even doctors are often dismissive of it

News flash: What if we told you it doesn’t have to be this way? Although PMS is extremely common, it isn’t “normal.” We’ve been told it’s just part of being a woman, but in truth, there are a lot of things you can do to alleviate PMS symptoms, starting with taking a good PMS vitamin.

PMS vitamins

What causes PMS?

First, let’s take a quick look at what causes PMS. A lot of it comes down to abnormal fluctuations in hormones or sensitivity to chemical changes in the brain. 

Have you ever heard someone describe a woman with PMS as “being hormonal”? I’ve said it myself: I’ll tell my husband I’m hormonal so that if I start crying for no apparent reason, he won’t be alarmed (or think he’s done something wrong). But when we say a woman is “hormonal,” what we really mean is, she’s emotional, irrational, or downright crazy. These negative connotations around the word “hormonal” aren’t just dismissive — they’re inaccurate.  

All humans are hormonal, in the sense that our bodies are full of different hormones that are necessary for good health and well-being. Abnormal fluctuations in these hormones can cause all kinds of health issues — and not just for women. Throughout the menstrual cycle, which lasts roughly 28 days, hormones are constantly changing. And the changes in mood and other symptoms that occur during PMS aren’t caused by excessive hormones, but rather by a sudden drop in hormones. 

But PMS isn’t just about hormones. Neurotransmitters also play a role. These molecules — which include serotonin and dopamine — transmit messages throughout the body, and also help control mood and regulate emotions. Neurotransmitters are naturally produced by the body, but many factors (like digestive issues or the use of some prescription drugs) can impair the body’s ability to build them. And what happens when neurotransmitters are low? The risk of depression increases. 

Diet, lifestyle, and stress management can all help balance hormone levels and neurotransmitter production. That’s where PMS vitamins come in.

What vitamins are best for PMS?

Research shows that numerous vitamin and mineral supplements can help relieve PMS symptoms.1  These vitamins and minerals help in different ways. Some help balance hormones. Others aid in the production of neurotransmitters, which can make those PMS mood swings less severe. 

Some vitamins and minerals that can help with PMS symptoms include:1

  • Magnesium 
  • Vitamin B
  • Vitamin D
  • Calcium

What’s inside Pixie Balance (and why) 

We’ve formulated Pixie Balance with some of the best research-backed ingredients for alleviating common PMS symptoms. This PMS supplement contains magnesium, vitamin B6, and a combination of plant-based ingredients to help make that time of the month more tolerable. 

Each ingredient in Pixie Balance has been carefully chosen to help relieve PMS symptoms and balance hormones for women in all stages of life.

Magnesium Glycinate, 12mg

Used for: menstrual cramps, PMS migraines, stress relief

What it is: Magnesium, also known as the “miracle mineral for periods” is a mineral needed for hundreds of biochemical reactions in the body. In fact, every cell in the body needs magnesium to function properly. You can get magnesium from the foods you eat, but many people don’t get enough.

What it does: Magnesium is necessary for proper muscle function. Low levels of magnesium can lead to muscle twitches, tremors, and cramps. Yep, that includes those dreaded menstrual cramps.2 When taken daily, magnesium can help relax the muscles of the uterus and ease period cramps.2

Learn more about magnesium

Regularly taking magnesium supplements can also help prevent menstrual migraines.3 If you’ve ever had a menstrual migraine, you know just how debilitating they can be. There’s nothing worse than lying in bed all day because any light, smells, sounds, or movement make you completely nauseated. 

Magnesium also calms the nervous system and helps reduce stress and anxiety, which can in turn lead to better menstrual health and overall health.4 Stress can throw your hormones out of whack, leading to weight gain, missed periods, mood swings, and other health issues. 

How much magnesium should I take for PMS?
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for magnesium is 310-320 mg for healthy adult women. Try to get most of your magnesium from your diet, as high doses of magnesium from supplements can cause digestive issues such as diarrhea and cramping. Dark leafy greens (like spinach and kale), legumes, nuts, seeds, and even dark chocolate are all good sources of magnesium.

Pixie Balance contains 12mg of magnesium per serving, or 3% of the RDA. 

Warning: Talk to your doctor before taking magnesium supplements if you have kidney disease.

Vitamin B6, 20 mg

Used for: Mood swings, cravings

What it is: Vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine, is a water-soluble vitamin found in many foods. It’s needed for many processes in the body, including helping the body turn food into energy. It’s also important for a healthy brain and a strong immune system. Because water-soluble vitamins are not stored in the body, they must be replenished daily.

What it does: Vitamin B6 helps regulate mood, and may improve symptoms of depression. That’s because vitamin B6 is needed to create neurotransmitters. Studies have shown that low levels of vitamin B6 are associated with depression.5

Learn more about vitamin B6

B6 supplements may help with a wide variety of PMS symptoms, especially when taken with magnesium. One study found that magnesium combined with B6 significantly improved symptoms such as depression, crying, irritability, anger, insomnia, brain fog, breast tenderness, bloating, headache, acne, and muscular pain.6 

How much vitamin B6 should a woman take daily? 
The RDA for women between the ages of 19-50 is 1.3mg; however, it is safe to take up to 100mg daily. Pixie Balance contains 20mg of vitamin B6, which is 1176% of the RDA.

Warning: Long-term supplementation of more than 200mg can cause nerve damage. Check dosage of any multivitamins or other vitamin B supplements to ensure you remain within recommended limits.

Chaste Tree Fruit Extract, 400mg

Used for: Hormonal acne, mood swings, breast tenderness

What it is: Chasteberry, AKA Vitex agnus-castus or monk’s pepper, is the fruit of the chase tree, which is native to parts of Asia and Europe.

What it does: Chasteberry may help balance hormones, and has been traditionally used to treat many hormone-related gynecologic conditions.7

Learn more about chasteberry

Chasteberry is well-researched, especially for its ability to relieve PMS symptoms. Research on chasteberry suggests that it lowers levels of the hormone prolactin, which in turn helps balance levels of estrogen and progesterone, two key hormones involved in the menstrual cycle.8

In one study, 93% of women who took chasteberry for three menstrual cycles reported that their PMS symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and cravings improved or completely went away.9 And, none of the study participants experienced any negative drug reactions. 

Another study found that women who took chasteberry reported improvements in irritability, mood, anger, headaches, breast tenderness, and bloating.10

For best results, take chasteberry in the morning. That’s when the pituitary gland is most receptive to its effects. 

Warning: Chasteberry is not recommended for individuals taking fertility medications or those under the age of 18. Talk to your doctor before taking chasteberry if you have PCOS. Wait three months before taking chasteberry after discontinuing hormonal birth control.

Dong Quai Root Powder, 350 mg

Used for: Cramps, muscle pain, depression

What it is: Also known as Chinese angelica root, dong quai is a fragrant plant related to carrots and celery.

What it does: Dong quai has been used in traditional herbal medicine for more than 2,000 years. It’s also referred to as “female ginseng” due to its purported ability to relieve symptoms of PMS and menopause, including depression and painful periods.11

Learn more about dong quai

Dong quai contains a compound known as ferulic acid, which appears to relax the uterus, leading to less cramping and muscle pain.12

Warning: Dong quai is not recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. 

Maca Root Powder, 300 mg

Used for: energy, mood, postmenopausal symptoms, sex drive

What it is: A plant native to Peru, maca is related to broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. It has been used medicinally in Peru for centuries.13

What it does: Maca has long been used to balance hormones, enhance fertility, and increase energy, but more research is needed to confirm these claims. Some small studies have shown that maca may help improve symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes, sleep disturbances, and mood swings.14

Learn more about maca

Maca has also been used traditionally to enhance sexual function and desire. Some research supports these claims, with small studies showing improvements in sexual dysfunction or sexual desire in healthy menopausal women or healthy adult men.15

Warning: Maca is not recommended for pregnant or nursing women, individuals with thyroid disorders or hormonal disorders, children, or individuals taking blood thinners or birth control pills. 

Lemon Balm, 250 mg

Used for: Cramps, digestion, stress relief

What it is: A lemon-scented herb from the same family as mint, lemon balm has been used medicinally for more than 2000 years.

What it does: Lemon balm is a well-researched plant that may be useful for alleviating a variety of PMS symptoms, including stress, cramps, headaches, and digestive issues.

Learn more about lemon balm

A 2015 study involving high school girls found that those who took lemon balm for three months experienced an improvement in physical, social, and psychological PMS symptoms.16

Other studies have found lemon balm effective in promoting a sense of calmness, reducing anxiety, improving memory and concentration, relieving insomnia, and relieving digestive issues such as nausea.17,18,19,20

Black Cohosh, 300 mg

Traditionally used for: Mood, cramps

What it is: An herb native to North America, black cohosh goes by many names, including black bugbane, black snakeroot, or fairy candle.

What it does: Black cohosh has long been used in traditional medicine to help with menopause symptoms, PMS symptoms, and hormonal balance. Most of the scientific research on black cohosh has focused on its ability to relieve menopause symptoms, such as hot flashes and sleep disturbances.21

Learn more about black cohosh

Black cohosh contains phytoestrogens (plant estrogens), which are natural estrogen-like substances that bind weakly to estrogen receptors. This can help protect against the ups and downs of stronger forms of estrogen or toxic xenoestrogens (“foreign” estrogens) from endocrine disrupting chemicals. Phytoestrogens also speed up estrogen metabolism.

Some studies suggest that black cohosh can help with hormonal imbalances, anxiety, and depression.22 

Other research shows that black cohosh may have antinociceptive properties, which is a fancy way of saying it may help block pain signals to the brain.23 This could explain why black cohosh has traditionally been used to alleviate menstrual cramps

Warning: Black cohosh is not recommended for individuals with a hormone-related condition, a history of blood clots or stroke, or those taking medications for high blood pressure.

When to take PMS vitamins 

For most vitamin, mineral, or herbal supplements to be effective, they have to be taken on a daily basis so the active ingredients can build up in your system. In most of the studies referenced above, participants took the supplements for 2-3 months before seeing noticeable improvements in their symptoms. If you wait until your PMS symptoms start before taking a supplement, you aren’t likely to see results. We suggest giving Pixie Balance 2-3 full cycles to experience the full effect.

Order Pixie Balance PMS vitamins

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Note: Some herbal supplements may not be safe during pregnancy, while breastfeeding, while taking fertility medications, or for those under the age of 18. Women with hormone-sensitive conditions, such as breast, uterine, or ovarian cancer, should consult their physician before taking herbal supplements. Certain supplements may also interact with some medications, such as birth control pills, drugs used to treat Parkinson’s disease, and drugs used to treat psychosis.

Disclaimer: We recommend consulting your doctor before use. Use during hormone therapy should be done under the supervision of a physician. Consult your healthcare professional before use if you are undergoing hormone therapy, have a thyroid disorder or other medical condition, or are taking prescription medication. Keep out of reach of children.

1. Kaewrudee, S et al. Vitamin or mineral supplements for premenstrual syndrome. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2018 Jan; 2018(1).
1. Parazzini F et al. Magnesium in the gynecological practice: a literature review. Magnesium Research. 2017 Feb 1;30(1):1-7.
3. Facchinetti, F et al. Magnesium prophylaxis of menstrual migraine: effects on intracellular magnesium. Headache. 1991 May;31(5):298-301.
4. Boyle, N et al. The Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Subjective Anxiety and Stress-A Systematic Review. Nutrients. 2017 Apr 26;9(5):429.
5. Hvas, A et al. Vitamin B6 level is associated with symptoms of depression. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics. Nov-Dec 2004;73(6):340-3.
6. Fathizadeh, N et al. Evaluating the effect of magnesium and magnesium plus vitamin B6 supplement on the severity of premenstrual syndrome. Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research. 2010 Dec; 15(Suppl1): 401–405.
7. Roemheld-Hamm, B. Chasteberry. American Family Physician. 2005 Sep 1;72(5):821-824.
8. van Die, M et al. Vitex agnus-castus Extracts for Female Reproductive Disorders: A Systematic Review of Clinical Trials. Planta Medica. 2013; 79(07): 562-575.
9. Loch, E et al. Treatment of premenstrual syndrome with a phytopharmaceutical formulation containing Vitex agnus castus. Journal of Women’s Health & Gender-Based Medicine. 2000 Apr;9(3):315-20.
10. Schellenberg, R. Treatment for the premenstrual syndrome with agnus castus fruit extract: prospective, randomised, placebo controlled study. The BMJ. 2001 Jan 20;322(7279):134-7. 
11. Dong Quai. Drugs and Lactation Database, National Library of Medicine. 2021 May 17.
12. Romm, A. Menstrual Wellness and Menstrual Problems. Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health. 2010.
13. Maca. LiverTox: Clinical and Research Information on Drug-Induced Liver Injury. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. 2012.
14. Johnson, A et al. Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Menopause. Journal of Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine. 2019; 24. 
15. Shin, B. et al. Maca (L. meyenii) for improving sexual function: a systematic review. BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies. 2010 Aug 6;10:44. 
16. Akbarzadeh, M, et al. Effect of Melissa officinalis Capsule on the Intensity of Premenstrual Syndrome Symptoms in High School Girl Students. Nursing and Midwifery Studies. 2015 Jun; 4(2): e27001.
17. Kennedy, D, et al. Attenuation of laboratory-induced stress in humans after acute administration of Melissa officinalis (Lemon Balm). Psychosomatic Medicine. Jul-Aug 2004;66(4):607-13.
18. Scholey, A et al. Anti-Stress Effects of Lemon Balm-Containing Foods. Nutrients. 2014, 6(11), 4805-482.
19. Müller, S.F. and Klement, S. A combination of valerian and lemon balm is effective in the treatment of restlessness and dyssomnia in children. Phytomedicine. 2006 Jun; 13, 383-387.
20. Ulbricht, C et al. Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis L.): an evidence-based systematic review by the Natural Standard Research Collaboration. Journal of Herbal Pharmacotherapy. 2005, Feb; 5(4):71-114.
21. Chung DJ, Kim HY, Park KH, et al. Black cohosh and St. John’s wort (GYNO-Plus) for climacteric symptoms. Yonsei Medical Journal. 2007;48(2):289-94.
22. McKenna DJ, Jones K, Humphrey S, Hughes K. Black cohosh: efficacy, safety, and use in clinical and preclinical applications. [Review]. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. 2001;7(3):93-100.
23. Johnson, T and Fahey, J. Black cohosh: coming full circle? The Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 2012 Jun 14;141(3):775-9.

PMS symptoms are common, but not normal

PMS symptoms are common, but not normal

At the doctor’s office, they will take your temperature, pulse, blood pressure, and respiratory rate and they may even ask, “when was your last period?” For a long time, I would nonchalantly guess when my last menses was, and the doctor would say “great” and move on.

What if the doctor asked “how was your last period?” or “Any breast tenderness, mood swings, pain, or anxiety leading up to your period?” This would be a very different, and helpful conversation. 

PMS symptoms

As a society, we have to understand that periods are a key indicator of women’s health. A recently reaffirmed committee opinion by ACOG and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises health practitioners to consider periods the “fifth vital sign” — meaning healthy menstrual cycles without PMS/PMDD are as important a health indicator as changes in body temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure (Varta, 2020).

Healthy menstrual cycles without PMS/PMDD are as important a health indicator as changes in body temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure.


What does PMS stand for?

PMS has been the butt of many jokes, but PMS jokes are not funny, period (see what I did there). All jokes aside, PMS does not stand for “Please meet satan,” “Pardon My Sobbing,” or “Pass My Sweats.” 

PMS, Premenstrual Syndrome, has been misunderstood for a very long time, and  a lot of women have been or will be dismissed by physicians when they have legitimate PMS symptoms.

How common is PMS?

Over 85% of menstruating women in the United States experience PMS. (Romm, 72); PMS may be common, but it is not normal! To all the women who believe you have lost agency over your body or have a design flaw, please repeat after me… I AM DESIGNED TO DOMINATE. We do not have to be afraid of that time of the month. We can actually get to a place where we look forward to a time in our cycle where we can slow down and appreciate what our bodies can do.

How do I know if I have PMS?

PMS is a myriad of physical and emotional symptoms that will arise 2-10 days before the start of your menses (Day 1 of full flow). PMS symptoms can be a result of hormone imbalance or poor interaction between sex hormones, stress hormones, and neurotransmitters (chemicals controlling your mood) (Romm, 73). 

The timing of the symptoms will typically be consistent to the individual woman. Charting your cycle may help you to proactively address your symptoms (Weschler 2015, 315). For example, after charting your cycle for a few months, you may notice that you always feel irritable three days before the start of your period. Being aware of this can help you be more mindful of your irritability so that you don’t take it out on those around you. 

Questions answered on this page: How many days before your period do you get PMS?

What are the symptoms of PMS?

There are around 150 physical, behavioral, emotional, and cognitive symptoms that have been designated to PMS (see table below). The criteria to diagnose PMS is not a hard and fast science, but there is general agreement that if you have 5 or more of the symptoms mentioned below, in the “PMS Assessment,” 2-10 days before your period, and they resolve after your flow starts, then it is technically PMS.

Types of PMS symptoms

AffectiveDepression, irritability, anxiety, anger, weepiness, panicky feelings
BehavioralImpulsive actions, compulsions, agitation, lethargy, decreased motivation
AutonomicPalpitations, nausea, constipation, dizziness, sweating, tremors, blurred vision, hot flashes
Fluid/ElectrolyteBloating, water-weight gain, breast fullness, hand and foot swelling
DermatologicalAcne, oily hair, hives, rashes, herpes, and allergy outbreaks
Cognitive (Brain)Decreased concentration, memory changes, word-retrieval problems, fuzzy thinking, foggy-brain feelings
PainMigraines, tension headaches, back pain, muscle and joint aches, breast pain, and neck stiffness
This chart is adapted from Dr. Vliet’s book Screaming to Be Heard: Hormone Connections Women Suspect and Doctors Still Ignore (2001)

PMS Assessment

One or more of the following:

  • Mood swings, weepiness, unexplained sadness
  • Unexplained anger, irritability
  • Depression, toxic self talk
  • Tension, anxiety, wired+tired

Plus one or more of the following:

  • Inability to focus
  • Abnormal changes in appetite, food craving, binge eating
  • Lack of interest in normal activities
  • Unexplained fatigue, lack of energy
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Breast tenderness, bloating, weight gain, joint.muscle pain
  • Sleep disturbances

Does PMS get worse with age?

PMS primarily affects women over the age of 25 and tends to get worse with age or after pregnancy and birth. This does not mean younger women cannot experience PMS symptoms. During the first few years of menstruation, hormonal “rivers” are being carved out, so it may take time to establish a “normal” for younger women.

Is PMS normal?

As I mentioned before, 85% of menstruating women in the US experience PMS symptoms, but PMS is not “normal” and should never be treated as such. 

What is normal? It is normal to have subtle signs and symptoms that your period will begin soon, but if those subtleties turn into interferences in your life, then you are dealing with PMS.

Which is worse, PMS or PMDD?

PMS also has a bigger and badder sister called PMDD (Premenstrual dysphoric disorder). PMDD affects 3-8% of women worldwide and the symptoms are severe enough to cause debilitating physical, emotional, and psychological effects that affect relationships, careers, and mental well-being (Jardim, 48).

What is PMS/PMDD caused by?

PMS and PMDD signs and symptoms range in severity because they are highly influenced by our nutrition, stress management, gut health, and blood sugar balance, which can all lead to estrogen dominance if not kept in check.

What hormone is responsible for PMS/PMDD?

Estrogen is a queen sex hormone, but she can become a clingy friend that dominates the relationship. Estrogen dominance is when estrogen dominates over progesterone in the second half of your cycle, the luteal phase. 

As Nicole Jardim, author of Fix Your Period, says, progesterone is our “Keep Calm and Carry On” hormone (2020, p.48). Both estrogen and progesterone influence the chemicals in our brain (neurotransmitters), such as serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin. These neurotransmitters affect our mood, so it makes sense that if our imbalanced hormones are negatively affecting our neurotransmitters, that we would experience mood swings as a PMS/PMDD symptom.

Is PMDD considered a mental illness?

For PMDD, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are typically prescribed because the DSM-5 has declared PMDD a psychiatric condition. 

SSRIs are a widely used type of antidepressant. They are most commonly prescribed to treat depression, especially in severe cases like PMDD. 

Now, I am not saying that this isn’t an appropriate medical approach, but I think it is missing the bigger picture. Conventional medicine and functional medicine would be the perfect combination to tackle PMS/PMDD, and to break the narrative that our symptoms are all in our head.

What can be done to address PMS/PMDD symptoms?

Addressing hormone imbalances is never a “peel-and-stick” situation, but there are basic functional approaches that every menstruating woman can take to live in hormonal bliss:

Jump off the blood sugar roller coaster

Insulin is a queen hormone and she deserves to be treated as royalty. Insulin is in charge of keeping blood sugar balanced, but when we are constantly stressed or eating poorly, then we continue to stay on the blood sugar roller coaster. High blood sugar and insulin levels are directly and indirectly linked to PMS, PCOS, endometriosis, fibroids, and heavy / painful periods. How do we get off of the blood sugar roller coaster?

Include these at every meal: 

  • 4-6 ounces of animal or plant-based protein
  • 2 cups of colorful veggies. Eat the rainbow!
  • 1 serving of slow carbs such as grains or an energy veggie like sweet potato
  • Healthy fat (1 T olive oil, ½ avocado)

Love your liver

Our bodies are always seeking balance, and one way to achieve balance is through the liver. The liver plays a major role in detoxification and elimination pathways. The detoxification process starts in our liver, where used up or excess hormones are filtered and metabolized. How do we love our livers?

  • Add cruciferous vegetables to your diet (broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, kale, etc.)
  • Supplement with DIM (diindolylmethane) in your luteal phase to help the liver with detoxification. The luteal phase is the phase of your cycle that begins after ovulation and lasts until menstruation begins. 
  • Drink dandelion root and ginger tea.

Eliminate endocrine disrupting chemicals 

Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are compounds that harm the natural rhythm of our endocrine system. They can mimic our natural hormones, and have been linked to health issues such as infertility, endometriosis, certain cancers, and — you guessed it — PMS symptoms. Estrogen-mimicking compounds, known as xenoestrogens, are present in BPA, parabens, phthalates, pesticides, and herbicides. How do we start to eliminate EDCs out of our lives?

  • Buy clean cosmetic products that don’t contain parabens or phthalates 
  • Buy or make natural cleaning products
  • Eat foods that are not processed with pesticides, hormones, or antibiotics
  • Get rid of plastic food containers and water bottles
  • Avoid fragrances and switch to essential oils

Get good with your gut

The gut-hormone connection is truly amazing and has been the focus of more and more scientific research. Because gut health has a direct effect on hormone health, it also has a direct effect on mental health. Our gut is responsible for eliminating excess hormones like estrogen out of our bodies. What can you do to address gut health?

  • Possibly have a panel done to identify problematic foods so you can eliminate them from your diet
  • Limit inflammatory foods such as sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and vegetable oils
  • FIBER! Fiber feeds our guts and give our good bacteria what they need to flourish
  • Manage stress levels
  • Look into a good probiotic

Fill in the gaps in your diet 

In today’s world, it is really hard to get all of our nutrients from the foods we eat, so it’s important to take a quality multi/prenatal vitamin to fill in our nutrient gaps. Along with a multi/prenatal vitamin, you may also need extra supplemental support due to your specific needs. Always talk to your doctor before starting new vitamins or herbal supplements.

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Resources

Jardim, N. (2020). Fix Your Period (1st ed.). HarperCollins.
Romm, A. (2021). Hormone Intelligence (1st ed.). HarperCollins.
Varta, S. J. (2020). Doctors Think Your Period Should Be a Fifth Vital Sign
Weschler, T. (2015). Taking Charge of Your Fertility (20th ed.). HarperCollins.

How to strengthen pelvic floor muscles

How to strengthen pelvic floor muscles

Your pelvic floor muscles form the bottom of your pelvis and support your pelvic organs (uterus, bladder, and bowel). Are you ever in the bathroom and someone barges in unexpectedly? You’re startled and you stop peeing! Or you keep yourself from passing gas at an inopportune moment? Thank your pelvic floor muscles! They’re also the muscles that can contract (tighten) during an orgasm.

Your pelvic floor muscles are important to the wellbeing of anything south of your belly button. Like any other muscle, the pelvic floor muscles can become weak, which can lead to numerous health issues.

strengthen pelvic floor

What are the signs of a weak pelvic floor?

Here are some tall-tale signs your pelvis could use a workout!

  • Leaking urine when coughing, sneezing, laughing or during physical activity
  • Passing wind when bending over or lifting (from the front or the back!)
  • Not being able to reach the toilet without an accident
  • Tampons that dislodge easily or fall out
  • Prolapse. For women, this may feel like a bulge in the vagina. For men, it may feel like a bulge in the rectum.

How do pelvic floor muscles weaken? 

Weak pelvic floor muscles can stem from many causes. Some people may have weak pelvic floor muscles at a young age, while others may develop them later in life. Some factors that commonly contribute to weak pelvic floor muscles include:

  • Pregnancy! The heavy weight of the uterus continuously for months puts a lot of pressure on the pelvic floor. 
  • Vaginal childbirth
  • The weight of obesity 
  • Continuous constipation and straining yourself during bowel movements
  • Lifting heavy objects, whether at work or at the gym
  • Constant coughing, sneezing, laughing or pressure to the abdomen

Gravity can also cause muscles to weaken, just by living life! While pelvic floor health is often thought of as a women’s issue, men can also suffer from weak pelvic floor muscles.

Can you strengthen a weak pelvic floor?

Yes! Like any other muscle in our bodies, with knowledge, patience, and consistent work, you can strengthen a weak pelvic floor.

Kegel exercises

Kegel exercises are a popular type of pelvic floor exercise — and yes, men can do them, too

To identify your pelvic floor muscles, stop urination in midstream. Once you’ve identified your muscles, you can do Kegel exercises in any position, although you might find it easiest to do them lying down at first. To do Kegels, imagine you are sitting on a marble and tighten your pelvic muscles as if you’re lifting the marble. Try it for three seconds at a time, then relax for a count of three. It’s recommended to do these several times a day. You can do them anywhere — at home, at work, or in the car! 

The key is to try not to use your abdomen, leg, or butt muscles when you contract your pelvic floor muscles. Exercising these muscles won’t help and will distract you from your mission! To find out if you are contracting your abdomen, leg, or butt muscles, you can place one hand on your stomach and your other hand underneath your buttocks or on your leg. Squeeze to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. If you feel your abdomen, leg, or butt move in any way, you’re using the wrong muscles.

Using Kegel weights

You can also add Kegel weights to your Kegel exercises to get even better results. Just like using weights for other exercises, Kegel weights provide more resistance to help you build your muscles. 

Kegel weights, also referred to as Kegel balls, are small weights that are inserted into the vagina. They give your muscles something to contract around, and they help make sure you’re targeting the correct muscles. Learn more about using Kegel weights.

Pelvic brace

The pelvic brace combines a transversus abdominis activation and a Kegel. It provides the best support for our core and pelvic floor, especially while exercising! 

  • Begin lying on your back with your legs bent and feet resting on the ground. 
  • Gently squeeze and lift your pelvic floor muscles as if you were trying to squeeze and lift a blueberry at your vagina or anus. 
  • As you pull your pelvic floor up and in, gently pull your belly button towards your spine.
  • Complete 10 braces (holding for 5 seconds each). Perform 3 sets of 10.

Squats

Doing squats correctly is key to engaging the right muscles… and avoiding injury! 

  • Begin in a standing upright position with feet shoulder width apart or slightly wider. Hold onto a stable object at your side for support if needed. 
  • On the inhale, relax your pelvic floor muscles. 
  • On exhale, gently squeeze and lift the pelvic floor and pull your belly towards your spine, activating the pelvic brace. Hold this contraction throughout the whole movement. 
  • Perform a squat, bending at your knees and hips. Pretend you are reaching your butt back like you are sitting in a chair. 
  • Complete 10 squats (holding for 5 seconds each). Perform 3 sets of 10.

Bridge pose

  • Begin lying on your back with your legs bent and feet resting on the ground. 
  • On the inhale, relax the pelvic floor muscles. 
  • On exhale, gently squeeze and lift the pelvic floor and pull your belly towards your spine, activating the pelvic brace. Hold this contraction during the entire movement. 
  • Lift your bottom off the floor while holding the pelvic brace. Hold for 5 seconds.
  • Complete 10 squats (holding for 5 seconds each). Perform 3 sets of 10.

Bent knee fall outs

  • Begin lying on your back with your knees bent and feet resting on the floor or bed.  
  • On the inhale, relax your pelvic floor muscles. 
  • On exhale, gently squeeze and lift the pelvic floor and pull your belly towards your spine, activating the pelvic brace. Hold this contraction during the entire movement.  
  • Slowly let your leg fall out to the side and pull back. Repeat on the other side. If you feel your pelvic brace let go, reset and begin again.
  • Complete 10 fall outs on each side. Perform 3 sets of 10.

Quadruped pelvic brace with alternating arm/leg reach

  • Begin on all fours.  
  • On the inhale, relax your pelvic floor muscles.  
  • On exhale, gently squeeze and lift the pelvic floor and pull your belly towards your spine, activating the pelvic brace. Hold this contraction throughout the whole movement. 
  • Lift one arm and your opposite leg and reach.  
  • Bring them back to the ground and repeat with your other arm and leg.  
  • Complete 10 holds (5 seconds each). Perform 3 sets of 10.

How long does it take to strengthen pelvic floor muscles?

With regular exercise, you should notice some improvement within 4-6 weeks. It may take as long as 3 months to see a major improvement.

Do menstrual cups strengthen the pelvic floor?

A menstrual cup can provide tissue support for some women who are experiencing prolapse. Much like a pessary, a menstrual cup can help push the pelvic organs back into a stable position. However, using a menstrual cup by itself will not help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. If you have weak pelvic floor muscles, it’s best to perform Kegel exercises or some of the other exercises listed above.

What is the best menstrual cup for weak pelvic floor muscles?

If you have weak pelvic floor muscles, you may find it difficult to use a menstrual cup as it may slip down. You may want to use a firmer menstrual cup, as the firmer material will provide more resistance and help keep the cup in place. Our Pixie Cups are a good option for someone with weak pelvic floor muscles. 

However, a cup that slides down isn’t always due to weak pelvic floor muscles. Sometimes, the pelvic floor muscles can be too tight, which can force a menstrual cup out. Tight pelvic floor muscles are less flexible, and may cause pain during sex or when inserting a tampon or menstrual cup. Some women may have tight muscles and pain during their period but are still able to use a menstrual cup. If you have tight pelvic floor muscles, you may find a softer menstrual cup to be less irritating.

Weak pelvic floor muscles + a tilted uterus

Tilted, tipped, and retroverted — all names for the same thing. If you have a tipped uterus, your uterus curves back towards your spine versus being relatively straight or leaning slightly towards your belly button. Studies show that weak pelvic floor muscles can contribute to the “relaxing” of your entire pelvic area, including contributing to a tipped uterus.

A tilted uterus can cause pain during sex, problems with fertility, urinary incontinence, recurrent urinary tract infections, and discomfort wearing tampons.

Typically, someone with a tilted uterus has a cervix that sits lower in the vaginal canal. A lower cervix can also cause a few of the symptoms mentioned above: painful intercourse, and discomfort wearing a tampon. If you have a tilted uterus and have tried menstrual product alternatives like menstrual cups or a menstrual disc, you’ve probably found those are difficult or uncomfortable too.

Wait! Before you throw in the towel!

When wearing a menstrual disc, the lip of the disc catches the underside of the cervix and you “tuck” the opposite side of the disc behind your pubic bone. If you’ve tried this with no luck, you aren’t alone! Your cervix is altogether placed differently. If you have a tipped uterus and are attempting a menstrual disc, keep in mind that in most circumstances you won’t be able to catch the underside of the cervix.

Tilted uterus regular uterus

When wearing a menstrual cup with a tilted uterus, you may find that because of your lower cervix, your cup sits much lower in the vaginal canal. This can be quite uncomfortable, depending on the width and depth of the cup. Here at Pixie Cup, we have created a cup especially for a low-sitting cervix! Our Pixie Cup Slim is shaped  differently compared to the traditional Pixie Cup and is meant to be worn lower in the vagina. It is softer and thinner, and has a shorter stem, so even users with a tilted uterus can experience complete period freedom!

Many people have a tilted cervix and don’t even realize it. If you’ve had children, any sort of ultrasound, or have had an IUD placed (or removed), your doctor can probably tell you if you have a tilted uterus. Some of us are just born with it, and these pelvic floor exercises can be helpful!

Interested in strengthening your pelvic floor?

Pixie Kegel Weights are perfect for pelvic floor training and strengthening your pelvic floor muscles. Kegel weights paired with pelvic floor exercises are one of the fastest ways to increase your strength to help with bladder control, prepare for pregnancy or recover from labor, and improve symptoms related to prolapse. Our Kegel Weights are body-safe and made from BPA-free silicone, for your comfort and safety.

PLEASE NOTE: This blog post is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of your doctor. You should regularly consult a physician in matters relating to your health and particularly with respect to anything related to menstruation, bladder issues, constipation, incontinence, etc. If you have any concerns about using a Pixie Cup, consult your doctor before use. If you have any gynecological conditions, please talk to your physician before using any menstrual cup.

This content was originally written on February 10, 2020, and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

Menstrual cups for teenagers: a guide for teens and parents

Menstrual cups for teenagers: a guide for teens and parents

If you’re a teen — or the parent of a teen — and you’re curious about menstrual cups, we’re glad you’re here! At Pixie Cup, a big part of our mission is empowering women to live free, and we believe menstrual cups help make that happen in so many ways.

Let’s get one thing out of the way: periods are a completely normal part of life, and nothing to be ashamed of. But, we get it — they can be messy and inconvenient. That’s where menstrual cups come in! A menstrual cup can provide 12 hours of leak-free period protection. And, one menstrual cup can last up to 10 years! That means no more messy pads that feel like diapers, no more sitting on the sidelines while your friends are having fun at the pool, and no more starting your period only to discover you’re out of tampons. Our brand-new Pixie Cup Teen was designed in collaboration with teens to give you the perfect fit, so you can own your period now

teen menstrual cup

If you have questions about menstrual cups, you’ve come to the right place!

Can teens use a menstrual cup?

Teens can absolutely use a menstrual cup! There is no reason anyone who menstruates can’t use a menstrual cup. In fact, learning to use a menstrual cup as soon as your first period can make your period life much easier and a more positive experience.

Is a menstrual cup good for teens? 

Menstrual cups are great for teens. Imagine … no worrying about leaks. No rushing to the bathroom between classes to change a pad or tampon. No worrying about how to deal with your period when you’re at the pool or away at summer camp. Plus, using a cup can help you better understand your body and your cycle, and many menstrual cup users report additional benefits, such as shorter periods and less cramping. Who wouldn’t want that?

Can you use a menstrual cup on your first period?

Yes, you can use a menstrual cup on your first period. As long as you are comfortable with the idea of inserting and removing a cup, there is no reason you can’t use one right from the start!

What is the smallest menstrual cup? 

We designed our Pixie Teen Cup to be our smallest cup. It holds 18ml of fluid, which is approximately the capacity of two tampons. It’s slightly firmer than our Classic Pixie Cups, which can help make it easier to make your menstrual cup pop open. It’s also great for anyone with a lighter flow or a low cervix, or menstrual cup beginners of any age!

But what about …

We often hear from teens (and parents) who have concerns about using a menstrual cup. Below are some of the questions we hear most often. Don’t see your question listed? Contact us and let us know! 

Will a menstrual cup make me lose my virginity? 

No, a menstrual cup will not take away your virginity. By definition, a virgin is someone who has never had sex. Internal products like tampons or menstrual cups don’t change that. But this is such a common question, we have an entire blog post on the subject! Visit Can a virgin use a menstrual cup? to learn more. 

How do you clean a menstrual cup in a public restroom? 

Cleaning a menstrual cup at school or any other place with a public restroom takes a little extra planning, but it can be done! Our Pixie Wipes and Sterilizing Container were made for exactly this purpose.

Keep in mind that menstrual cups can be worn for up to 12 hours, so you may not need to remove it and clean it while you’re at school. But in some cases — for example if you have a very heavy flow — you may find yourself in a situation where you have to clean your cup while you’re away from home. Learn everything you need to know about cleaning a menstrual cup in a public restroom here.

Can menstrual cups cause toxic shock syndrome? 

A lot of girls are hesitant to use tampons because of their association with toxic shock syndrome (TSS). TSS is a complication caused by a bacterial infection, and it can actually happen to anyone — not just menstruating girls and women. TSS is often linked to tampons because inserting a tampon can cause minor abrasions in the vagina, which can allow bacteria to enter into the bloodstream. 

Our menstrual cups are made with medical-grade silicone, and are extremely gentle. Use of a menstrual cup does not cause vaginal abrasions or dryness. While a few cases of TSS have been linked to menstrual cup use, it is extremely rare. With proper use and cleaning, menstrual cups are extremely safe. Learn more about menstrual cups and the risk of TSS

Can I swim with a menstrual cup? 

One of the worst things about managing your period during the summer is figuring out what to do about activities such as swimming and other water sports. A lot of people think that unless you wear tampons, you’re out of luck. But a menstrual cup is the perfect solution! Once you get the hang of inserting your cup, it should not leak, and you can safely wear it in the water. Learn more about swimming with a menstrual cup

Before you try a menstrual cup …

With that out of the way, let’s talk details. How do you actually use this thing anyway? Here are our top five tips for menstrual cup success!

1. Be patient

The first time you try a menstrual cup, you may find yourself laughing a little in slight panic. You’re supposed to put that there? Don’t worry, we promise it will fit! Be patient with yourself and give your body some time to get used to this new thing you’re trying. It’s totally normal for it to take a few cycles before you’re perfectly comfortable inserting and removing your cup. If it all seems a little weird at first, you are definitely not alone! Although using a cup can take a little practice, it’s definitely worth it, so don’t give up! 

Check out Jaleia Christine’s advice for new cup users.

2. Use lubricant

A little lubricant can make all the difference when inserting a menstrual cup. Our Pixie Cup Lube is the only lubricant on the market designed specifically for menstrual cups! It’s a water-based and fragrance-free formula that’s safe for your sensitive skin. Just squeeze a tiny bit onto the rim of your cup for a smooth and hassle-free insertion. 

3. Find your favorite fold

There are many different ways to fold a menstrual cup, and everyone has a favorite! The punch-down fold is popular because it creates a small insertion point. Once the cup is folded, the point of insertion is no bigger than a regular tampon. Check out our post on menstrual cup folds, and try a few different methods until you find one that works best for you. 

4. Do a practice run

You may find it helpful to practice inserting your cup before you actually need to use it. Pick a time when you can have the bathroom to yourself and you won’t be interrupted. Wash your cup, grab your lube … and relax. If you’re feeling nervous or anxious, it can make your muscles tense up, which will make inserting your cup harder. Practice inserting your cup and checking to see that it’s fully open. There should be no folds when you run your finger around the outside of the cup. When the cup is inserted properly, you shouldn’t even feel it. Practice removing your cup by gently breaking the seal and wiggling it out (don’t just pull on it).  

5. Use a backup

It’s totally normal to experience some leaking as you get used to using a menstrual cup, especially during the first few cycles. If you see some leaks, don’t panic! Wear a pantyliner (we like our reusable Pixie Pads) or some period underwear as a backup. After a few months, you may not need to use a backup anymore, or you can continue using one for additional peace of mind, especially if you have a heavy flow. 

Advice for parents

If you’re researching options for your teen or preteen daughter, you probably have a lot of questions. Between cups, discs, reusable pads, and period underwear, there are a lot more options for menstrual management than you probably had when you were younger! And while menstrual cups are a perfectly safe option for young girls, we understand not everyone is comfortable using internal menstrual products. 

Some tips for helping your daughter start her period life with freedom and confidence:

  • Make sure she understands her options. Help her research, but let her choose which products she wants to use. Remember it’s her body, and she should be comfortable with whatever products she chooses. 
  • Don’t push her to use internal menstrual products if she isn’t ready. Sometimes girls just need some time to get used to the idea. We’ve seen many girls who gradually came around to the idea of a menstrual cup simply because they were tired of not being able to participate in swimming and other activities while on their period. 
  • Don’t limit your daughter’s access to menstrual hygiene products simply because of her age. It’s not uncommon for girls to get their first period as young as 10. That may seem young to start using a menstrual cup (especially if you remember being hesitant to use tampons as a teen!). But it’s more a question of maturity rather than age. Some young girls may be mature enough to use a cup. If she feels like she’s ready to use a cup, be supportive. Help her learn and understand how to use and care for a cup properly. 
  • Make cups a part of her daily routine. One of the great things about cups is that they can be worn for up to 12 hours. That means unless your daughter’s flow is very heavy, she likely won’t have to worry about changing her cup while at school. Make using her cup part of her morning and evening routine — have her set a timer on her phone so she doesn’t forget to take it out and clean it. 

As a mom of teens / tweens, I don’t want my girls using any menstrual products that contain harmful chemicals. I talked to my girls about menstrual cups very early and helped them learn how to use them. They love the freedom that cups provide, and I love that they aren’t using tampons made with pesticide or bleach.

– Candace

Menstrual cups can be a little intimidating at first, but like anything else, they get easier with practice! Our online store has everything you need to experience period freedom. And as always, we are here to help! If you have additional questions, drop a comment below or contact us.

How to use and care for reusable menstrual pads

How to use and care for reusable menstrual pads

So you’re looking into hopping on the reusable menstrual pad bandwagon? You’ve come to the right place! We recently released our Organic Cotton Pixie Pads and we’re so excited about this new product!

reusable menstrual pads

A lot of thought went into creating our new Pixie Pads. We’ve seriously worked hard to bring you pads that are good for both you and the planet. We are so thrilled to be able to offer another option to manage your period in an eco-friendly way!

Here’s everything you need to know about using and caring for reusable menstrual pads.

What are reusable menstrual pads? 

In the late 1800’s, nurses started to fashion disposable pads out of a wood pulp fiber for the ease of throwing them away after use. In January 1921, Kotex published their first advertisement about a disposable menstrual pad product. Up until that point, cloth and rags were the norm for a woman on her cycle every month. As more women began working outside the home, the demand for disposable pads and menstrual products began to rise. Disposable tampons weren’t invented until 1931! 

Reusable menstrual pads have become popular again with consumers becoming more conscious of our carbon footprint and looking for ways to reduce waste. With growing concerns over what we put into landfills, many mass consumables such as diapers, pads + tampons, plastic bags, and paper towels have steadily been rivaled by reusable options. 

The bathroom in particular is one area that tends to produce a lot of waste. Most bathroom products are single-use items and can be hard to recycle. But sustainable products such as menstrual cups, cloth menstrual pads, bidets (seriously, get yourself a Tushy) and reusable makeup remover pads are rising in popularity! 

Thanks to COVID-19, so many of us were faced with the brutal reality that we need to shift to more sustainable options. Toilet paper and paper towels weren’t the only scarcity! Single-use menstrual products were also hard to find during the initial COVID-19 wave that led to a shortage of disposable products around the country (and the world). If you haven’t already made the switch, a menstrual cup is a fantastic way to reduce your use of single-use bathroom products (and you’ll never again have to rush to the drug store after realizing you’re out of tampons!)

How do reusable menstrual pads work? 

The concept of a reusable cloth pad is the same as a single-use disposable pad. They are designed to fit in your underwear, snap securely in place, and absorb your menstrual flow. 

As with disposable pads, they come in different sizes and absorbency levels. Our Pixie Pads are available in 3 different sizes: pantiliner, day pad, and overnight pad. They consist of three unique layers: soft organic cotton (which is comfortable against the skin), absorbent inner layers of bamboo terry cloth, and a bottom layer of PUL, which is what makes them leak proof! Each size has a different number of bamboo terry cloth layers inside (the pantiliner has 1 layer, the overnight pad has 4 layers).

reusable menstrual pads

Are reusable menstrual pads sanitary? 

Reusable cloth pads are sanitary when used and cared for properly. With any menstrual hygiene product that sits against the skin, it’s important to use the correct absorbency and change them when they become saturated. If the pad is wet, it can irritate the skin. 

“Reusable sanitary pads are just as healthy and safe as disposable ones,” gynecologist Dr. Anne Henderson told Women’s Health. “It is a myth that there is a need to kill bacteria on the pads as sanitary pads are not sterile, regardless of whether they are disposable or reusable. Simple hygienic cleaning is all that is required – nothing more complex than that.

So, how do you wash reusable menstrual pads?

Washing reusable menstrual pads is actually simple!

  1. Rinse and soak

    Rinse your pad after removal and toss it into a wet bag (we include one!) until you’re ready to do the laundry. You could also opt to soak your pads in water to help reduce staining until you’re ready to wash them. Try dropping them into a leak-proof trash can or bucket with water, a teaspoon of Castile soap, and some antibacterial essential oils like peppermint or tea tree oil.
    how to wash reusable menstrual pads

  2. Wash

    We suggest using a simple, eco-friendly detergent that doesn’t contain additives or fragrances. Wash in cold water to prevent staining. If you’ve soaked your pads in water, dump them into the washer and run them through a rinse and spin cycle first. Then you can add towels or anything else you want to wash along with your pads. Never use fabric softener with your reusable menstrual pads; the conditioners in the fabric softener will coat the fibers and reduce absorbency. If you find that your pads are less absorbent over time, you may need to “strip” them of any detergent buildup. This is incredibly popular in the cloth diaper community. (Learn more about that here.)

  3. Dry

    We strongly recommend hanging to dry to prevent shrinkage. If you’re crunched on time, you can tumble dry them on a low-heat setting.

That’s it! Once dry, your pads are ready to use again.

Do reusable menstrual pads save me money?

Yes, reusable menstrual pads will definitely save you money! The initial upfront purchase (like switching to a period cup) could cause sticker shock to some, but the pads will pay for themselves within a few months, depending on how often you typically purchase single-use pads.

For example, the average box of organic disposable pads runs $22, and one box may last 2 cycles if you’re changing them every few hours. (We aren’t including panty liners or overnight pads in this estimation.) 

Depending on how often you wash + dry your Pixie Pads, you may want a few packs in different sizes. That means you could break even in 6-8 months. 

It’s estimated that the average menstruating human will dispose of over 16,000 single-use pads and tampons in their life. That’s a lot of money and a lot of waste! Our Pixie Pads can last for years with proper care, save you money, and keep those single-use plastics out of the landfills. We recently talked about how menstrual cups save you money in the long run as well.

How long do reusable menstrual pads last?

The lifespan of a cloth pad can vary, depending on how often they are used and how they are cared for. Generally, you can expect them to last up to 5 years with proper care. Some people say their cloth pads last even longer. 

Ready to give cloth pads a try? Our Pixie Pads are available in 3 sizes and are made with high-quality, certified organic cotton, free of dyes, chlorine bleaching, fragrances, and harsh chemicals. Pixie Pads have multiple layers that will give you the leak-free protection you need, day or night and heavy or light!

How to use Kegel weights

How to use Kegel weights

Do you have concerns about your pelvic floor muscles? If so, you’re not alone. Pelvic floor issues are common among women. The muscles of the pelvic floor serve a number of functions: They help with bladder control, bowel control, and sexual function. They also support the pelvic organs — which include the bladder, uterus, cervix, vagina, and rectum — and help keep everything in the proper place. Strong pelvic floor muscles also help you prepare for and recover from childbirth. So it’s important to keep your pelvic muscles strong no matter what stage of life you’re in! 

If the muscles of your pelvic floor become weak, it can lead to problems such as urinary incontinence (leaking urine), bowel dysfunction, reduced vaginal sensation, and difficulty wearing tampons. Severe cases of pelvic floor dysfunction can lead to pelvic organ prolapse, which occurs when the muscles can no longer support the organs in the pelvic region, and the organs become weak or loose. In some cases, the organs can even drop into or outside of the vaginal canal.

Please note: Some people who experience urinary incontinence may have pelvic floor muscles that are too tight and cannot relax. This condition can be made worse by the use of Kegel exercises or vagina weights, which may create more tension or pain. If you are experiencing pelvic floor issues, make an appointment with your doctor or a pelvic floor therapist for an accurate diagnosis.

how to use kegel weights

Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles

Fortunately, you can help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles with targeted exercises. We wrote a whole blog post about pelvic floor exercises here! 

You’ve probably heard of Kegel exercises. Developed by a gynecologist named Arnold Kegel in the 1940s, Kegel exercises involve repeatedly contracting and relaxing the pelvic floor muscles. To identify your pelvic floor muscles, stop urinating midstream. This is the same action you’ll perform to contract during Kegel exercises. Once you’ve identified the action, you can do Kegel exercises anywhere. Try holding the contraction for three seconds, and then relax for three seconds. For best results, aim for three sets of 10-15 reps every day. 

To further strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, you can add weights to your Kegel exercises. These weights are known as Kegel weights or Kegel balls.

What are Kegel weights? 

Kegel weights, also known as vaginal weights or Kegel balls, are small weights designed to be used inside the vagina. They provide resistance, just like any other strength training routine. Think about it — you can do biceps curls without dumbbells, but you won’t get the same results. In the same way, Kegel weights help you achieve even better results from your Kegel exercises.  

How do Kegel weights work? 

The idea of inserting a weight into your vagina may sound strange, but stay with us! The weights can actually make doing Kegel exercises easier: they give your muscles something to contract around, and provide resistance that will help you strengthen your pelvic floor muscles faster. Plus, they help you make sure that you’re doing your Kegel exercises correctly, because you’ll be able to feel the weight being squeezed and lifted. Kegel weight sets, like our Pixie Kegel Weights, often come with several different weights so that you can increase the weight as you get stronger. 

How to insert Kegel weights 

Using Kegel weights for the first time may seem a little intimidating, but they’re easy to get the hang of! Inserting a Kegel weight is similar to inserting a tampon.

  1. Relax

    If your muscles are tense, it will be more difficult to insert the weight. You may want to rest one foot on the side of the tub or a chair, or even lie down.

  2. Insert the weight

    Insert the weight slowly. If you like, you can use a little bit of lubricant to make insertion easier. As you tighten your pelvic floor muscles to support the weight, you may notice that it’s naturally drawn into the vagina and away from your fingers. Some weights have a handle or a cord to make removal easier; this should remain outside the vagina. 
    how to use Kegel weights

  3. Contract your muscles

    Contract your muscles, just like you normally would when doing Kegel exercises. To start, try holding the contraction for just two seconds at a time. As you get used to the weights, you can work your way up to longer contractions.

How to remove Kegel weights

When you’re finished with your exercises, lie down in a comfortable position. You can add more lube to the vaginal opening to ease discomfort if desired. Relax your muscles and slowly pull on the handle to remove the weight. After removing, clean your weight thoroughly and allow it to air dry. 

Kegel weight tips

To get the most out of your Kegel weights, follow these tips: 

1. Find your pelvic floor muscles

Before you try using Kegel weights, you’ll want to make sure that you’re inserting them properly. If the weight is placed too high or too low, you won’t get an effective workout. To determine the proper placement, try inserting a finger into your vagina and then contract your pelvic floor muscles, just like you would when you’re trying to stop the flow of urine. You’ll feel the muscles contracting around your finger. You want to insert the weight so it sits just above this muscle. And don’t worry about the weight getting lost inside you; there’s only so far it can go before it reaches your cervix

2. Choose a good position

If you’re new to Kegel weights, you may want to try them while lying down. That’s because gravity can make lifting the weights more challenging. As you progress, you’ll be able to use the weights while sitting, standing, or even walking around. Whichever position you choose, make sure you’re comfortable and not distracted, so you can focus on doing your exercises correctly. 

3. Start small 

When you’re just starting out, use the lightest weight, and try holding the contraction for just two seconds at a time. As you get stronger, you’ll be able to hold the contractions longer and work up to heavier weights. 

4. Make it a habit

One of the best ways to stick to a new habit is to add it to a habit you’re already doing — a technique known as habit stacking. Chances are, you’re already spending time every morning brushing your teeth and washing your face. Try adding your Kegel weight exercises to this part of your morning routine a few days a week, and soon it’ll be second nature. 

5. Be patient

Like any workout routine, using Kegel weights will take some time to deliver results. To get a clear picture of your progress, keep track of your workouts in a designated notebook or a note on your phone. Write down which weight you used, how long you held the contractions, and how many reps you completed. After a while, you’ll be able to look back and really see how all your effort has paid off. 

6. Keep your weights clean

Anything you’re using inside your vagina — whether it’s Kegel weights or a menstrual cup — should be clean and sterilized to prevent any bacteria from passing into the vagina. Wash your weights with a pH-balanced cleanser after each use. Our Pixie Cup Wash is perfect for this! It’s made from 100% all-natural plant-based ingredients and is safe for your weights and anything else that comes into contact with your genital region. 

Kegel weight FAQs

Still not sure if Kegel weights are right for you? Take a look at some of these frequently asked questions about Kegel weights. 

Do Kegel weights make you tighter?

Kegel weights can help improve your resting pelvic floor tone, which can help decrease urinary leakage and decrease the risk of future pelvic floor prolapse. Kegel weights can also help with improving sexual function, as climax is a maximal pelvic floor contraction.

How far do you insert Kegel weights?

Kegel weights should be inserted so that the “weight” part is no longer visible and it feels comfortable, similar to how far you would insert your menstrual cup.

How long can you leave Kegel weights in? 

Kegel weights are intended to be used for roughly 5-10 minutes a day, three days a week. As you get stronger, you can work up to longer sessions and more reps. 

Can I leave Kegel weights in all day?

Kegel weights are not designed to be worn all day. Using them for too long can overexert the pelvic floor muscles, potentially leading to injury. Ouch! Don’t try to rush the process. Again, start with shorter contractions and a lighter weight, and work your way up as you get stronger. 

How often should you use Kegel weights?

Use your Kegel weights 3-4 time a week for best results. Think of it like you would lifting weights for any other muscle. If you lift too often, your muscles won’t have time to recover! Always wait at least a day or two between uses.

How long does it take to see results?

Your individual results will vary depending on the current state of your pelvic floor muscles, but some people report noticing a difference after just one week of using Kegel weights. When using Kegel weights regularly, most people will notice benefits within a few weeks to a few months. 

Who can benefit from Kegel weights?  

Kegel weights are often helpful for women who: 

• Have had any sort of pelvic surgery, such as fibroid surgery, and need to restrengthen their pelvic floor
• Have symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction, such as urinary incontinence or a prolapsed uterus
• Are pregnant and want to strengthen the pelvic floor to make labor and delivery relatively easier
• Have given birth vaginally and want to tighten vaginal muscles that have become loose
• Have gone through or are going through menopause, which increases the risk of uterine prolapse 
• Frequently lift heavy objects, which can strain the pelvic floor muscles

Ready to give Kegel weights a try? Pixie Kegel Weights are now available!

PLEASE NOTE: This product is not intended to treat or cure medical issues. Please consult your doctor prior to use. Anything advised here is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of your doctor. You should regularly consult a physician in matters relating to your health and particularly with respect to anything related to pelvic health. If you have any gynecological conditions, please talk to your physician.