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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.

Medically reviewed by Ali Schermer, PT, DPT

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.

Can a virgin use a menstrual cup?

Can a virgin use a menstrual cup?

One of the questions we hear quite often from women all over the world is, “can a virgin use a menstrual cup?”

The short answer is, yes! You can start using a menstrual cup as soon as you get your period, no matter how old you are or whether or not you’ve had sex.

That said, we understand that many people who are virgins often have concerns about using a menstrual cup or other menstrual products designed to be worn inside the vagina. So don’t feel alone if you’re hesitant about using a menstrual cup as a virgin!

Let’s take a closer look at the concept of virginity and some of the questions we receive about using a menstrual cup as a virgin.

Understanding the concept of virginity

To start with, let’s make sure we have a shared understanding of what it means to be a virgin. By definition, a virgin is someone who has never had sexual intercourse. Conversations about virginity often refer to the hymen — a small piece of skin inside the opening of the vagina. The hymen is a very misunderstood part of the body. Many cultures view the hymen as an indication of virginity and believe that it remains “intact” until a person has sexual intercourse. 

Contrary to popular belief, however, the hymen doesn’t fully cover the vagina, and it doesn’t break or “pop.” The hymen naturally stretches and wears down over time, and may become stretched long before your first sexual experience. As you may know, many different activities can stretch the hymen, such as bike riding, yoga, dancing, or gymnastics. Some women are even born without hymens. So it’s important to not place too much significance on the state of your hymen. 

Will a menstrual cup take away your virginity? 

Your virginity is not based on a thin piece of skin, it is a simple fact about your life experience. You are a virgin if you have not had sexual intercourse, and that doesn’t change if you use a menstrual product such as a menstrual cup or a tampon. Using a menstrual cup doesn’t take away your virginity, and it does not say anything about your value as a person. 

For some people, and in many cultures, virginity is an important concept. Some people may feel like they can’t use the menstrual products they want because they are afraid it will take away their virginity, or that they will be judged for using these types of products. Women all over the world struggle with the question of whether or not it is acceptable in their religion or culture to use a menstrual cup. 

We deeply desire for each woman to have the freedom and the right to use a menstrual cup and experience the joy and ease that it can bring to her life. We need to be the voice that tells the world that the value of a woman is not determined by the state of her hymen, but by the existence of her soul.

Does using a menstrual cup break the hymen? 

As mentioned above, the hymen doesn’t actually break; it stretches. And yes, using a menstrual cup can stretch the hymen. But again, the hymen can be stretched by all sorts of activities, including something as simple as riding a bike. The cup won’t stretch your vaginal canal itself, but it may stretch your hymen. 

Are menstrual cups hard to use for a virgin? 

Menstrual cups take a little getting used to for anyone. So, don’t get discouraged if it all seems confusing! We’ve noticed two things that could cause someone to experience difficulty using a menstrual cup as a virgin: your own level of comfort, and your flexibility. 

Your level of comfort

Using a menstrual cup requires getting up close and personal with your body. You’ll need to assess your own mind and see if you feel comfortable with the thought of using an internal period product. If you are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with your vagina and have never used a tampon, getting comfortable with a cup may take a little more time and effort. But we believe it’s worth it! Using a menstrual cup helps many people gain a greater understanding of how their bodies work, which can be incredibly empowering.

Take it slow and give yourself some grace to figure it out. It often takes people a few cycles to really get the hang of it. We believe in you, and we wholeheartedly recommend a menstrual cup to everyone who menstruates because it truly is a life-changer! Imagine 12 hours of leak-free protection and no more worrying about soaking through pads at night! Not to mention swimming, backpacking, and all of your other favorite activities without fear of leaks or stains.

Your flexibility

The vaginal muscle of virgins or young girls can be more tense, which may make inserting a menstrual cup more difficult in the beginning. But don’t worry! Your body is stronger and more resilient than you could imagine. Your vaginal canal was created to expand when needed, and then return to its normal state, without stretching out. Otherwise, how could women ever give birth vaginally?

If you’ve never used a tampon or inserted anything into your vaginal canal, it could feel a bit uncomfortable at first. We advise you to start with a smaller cup. We have two small cups: our regular Pixie Cup small, and the Pixie Cup Slim small. What’s the difference? The Slim is a softer and more flexible material, which some people find more comfortable. However, some people prefer the more rigid material of our regular cup because they find that it pops open more easily. It’s really a matter of personal preference.

We also recommend that you start with the punch-down fold. There are different ways to fold your cup so that you can insert it, and your preferred method may change over time. But the punch-down fold is a great one to start with. Place your index finger on the top of the rim and press inwards to the base of the cup, forming a triangle. This gives you a small point of insertion. You may also want to use a little lubricant to help make things a little more comfortable. (We sell a really smooth Pixie Cup Lube that is AMAZING).

Click here for more detailed instructions on how to use your cup.

Do menstrual cups hurt? 

If properly inserted, a menstrual cup should not hurt. In fact, most menstrual cup users say that they can’t even feel their cup once it’s in, and they even forget they’re on their period! If your cup hurts or feels uncomfortable, there could be a few different reasons. Your cup may not be inserted properly, or you may need a different size. Try taking your cup out and reinserting it. Make sure you run a finger around the top to check for folds. If you continue to have trouble getting your cup in comfortably, try a different cup or a smaller size. We offer a 100% happiness guarantee, so if your cup doesn’t work for any reason, let us know! We’ll help you find one that does.

Can you practice using a menstrual cup when you’re not on your period?

Yes! You can absolutely practice using your cup before your period starts. In fact, we often recommend this to new cup users. If you practice using your cup when you’re not on your period, you’ll be much less nervous when it comes time to use it. If possible, practice inserting your cup when you’re not feeling rushed and you have some privacy. Because wearing a menstrual cup is not associated with toxic shock syndrome, you can leave it in for a while if you want to see how it feels, but don’t leave it in for longer than 12 hours. 

Removing your cup properly is also important. Your cup forms a seal inside the vagina, which you must break before you can remove it. Don’t simply grab the bottom and try to pull it out! Read our menstrual cup instructions for more info. Finally, make sure you always properly clean and sanitize your cup after use, even if you’re just practicing.

Can my cup get stuck up there? 

This is one of the most frequently asked questions we hear from new cup users. Don’t worry! There’s only so far your cup can go before it hits your cervix. It cannot migrate into your uterus or get lost inside your body. However, there may be times when your cup forms a tight seal up against your cervix, and it’s hard to remove. If that happens, don’t panic! It’s important to always remove your cup correctly by first breaking the seal. Pinching the base of the cup often does the trick, but if that doesn’t work, you can insert one finger alongside the cup and push the rim in. Read our blog on menstrual cup removal tips for more info.

Ready to try a menstrual cup? Visit our online store and take 10% off your first order with the code 10FIRST!

This content was originally written on June 4, 2019, and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

Can you sleep with a menstrual cup?

Can you sleep with a menstrual cup?

One of the most common questions we receive about menstrual cups is, “Can you sleep with a menstrual cup?”

The short answer is, yes! Not only is it perfectly safe to sleep with a menstrual cup, you will also probably wake up to fewer leaks and less mess! Gone are the days of having to wash your underwear in the sink or getting unsightly mattress stains because your pad shifted or bunched up during the night or just wasn’t big enough. *insert wild cheering*

sleep with menstrual cup

Menstrual cups can be safely worn for up to 12 hours, so there’s no reason they can’t be left in overnight. That said, there are some steps you can take to reduce the risk of leaking during the night, especially if you have a heavy flow.

1. Use the right menstrual cup

Finding the best menstrual cup for your body can make all the difference when it comes to making your menstrual cup pop open and preventing leaks.

Everyone is different, so don’t assume that what works for your friend will work for you. Some people find that a cup made from a more rigid material will pop open more easily. If you have a tilted uterus or a low cervix, you may find that a smaller cup made of a more flexible material works best for you. If this all sounds confusing, don’t worry! We have a handy guide to help you find the best menstrual cup for your body.

2. Take size into consideration

If you know you have a heavy flow, you may want to choose a larger menstrual cup, especially to wear at night. Our largest cup is our Pixie Cup XL, which holds 35ml of fluid. That’s the equivalent of 7 tampons! With that much capacity, you can rest and sleep undisturbed without worrying about getting up in the middle of the night to empty your cup. You can also wear a smaller cup during the day and a larger one at night if you’re worried about leaks.

3. Empty your cup before bed

You should empty and clean your menstrual cup at least every 12 hours — possibly more often if you have a heavy flow. We recommend emptying your cup right before bed so you can sleep as long as possible without needing to remove your cup.

4. Use a little extra protection

Some of us have such a heavy flow that it’s near impossible to avoid leaks overnight. If this is you, it might be a good idea to invest in a pair of period underwear or some reusable Pixie Pads to guarantee that you don’t wake up to a mess.

5. Ease your cramps with essential oils

Sometimes it isn’t the flow so much as those darn cramps that wake you up in the middle of the night. Try easing your cramps with a little essential oil blend on your stomach before bed. Many women also find that when they stop using tampons and switch to a menstrual cup, their menstrual cramps improve.

6. Get a good night’s sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for your overall health and wellbeing. It’s common to have difficulty sleeping during your period. Worrying about leaks is just one of the things that can interfere with sleep during menstruation. Fluctuating hormones and changes in body temperature can also make it hard to sleep through the night. If this sounds like you, check out our blog on how to sleep better on your period.

We hope these tips are helpful to you as you transition into using a menstrual cup! If you still have questions about sleeping with a menstrual cup, let us know! We absolutely love hearing from you. We will answer your questions to the best of our abilities. And don’t forget, we offer a 100% Happiness Guarantee and we stick by it. If you purchase a Pixie Cup and aren’t completely satisfied, we’ll help you find one that works or give you a refund.

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This content was originally written on February 25, 2019, and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.