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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.

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.