Every woman needs to understand the importance of doing Kegel exercises. The OB/GYN doctors and midwives aren’t exaggerating about the necessity keeping those pubococcygeus (PC) muscles in shape. A woman’s body goes through a lot during pregnancy and childbirth, especially the pelvic floor. Just carrying the weight of a baby can stretch those muscles, not to mention the process of giving birth. Weakened pelvic floor muscles can lead to urinary incontinence and prolapse of pelvic organs.
The benefits of maintaining a strong PC muscle include:
- An enhanced sex life before, during, and after a pregnancy. A well-toned pelvic floor improves sexual control, which plays a key part in achieving and/or prolonging orgasm.
- Kegel exercises help increase pelvic sensitivity and circulation making sex more enjoyable by increasing the duration and pleasure from orgasm.
- Kegel exercises increase blood flow to the vagina and the rectum, which is a benefit to anyone, but during pregnancy this helps prevent hemorrhoids and speeds up the healing of post-partum tears, and episiotomies.
- For women with urinary incontinence, pelvic floor muscle training helps them manage and improve their condition.
Kegel exercise toys not only strengthen and tone the PC muscles, they also make sure you enjoy doing it. These useful items are typically ball or barbell shaped, and pelvic floor muscles have to work to hold them in place. While Kegel exercisers aren’t required to keep those pelvic floor muscles strong, just as hand weights effectively tone and build arm muscles, adding some weight resistance to Kegel exercises produces better results.
- Kegel Balls: Available as either a single ball or two balls connected, these remain inside the vagina for a length of time. They can be used while going about day-to-day activities, as the pelvic floor muscles have to work at keeping them in place. Alternatively, the user can wear these while doing Kegel exercises, as the ball(s) provide resistance and something to squeeze against. Usually, Kegel balls are hollow, and inside each ball is a smaller ball that moves freely, providing internal stimulation, mild vibration, and a gentle massage effect. There is no motor, so these are very quiet, and require no batteries.
- Ben Wa Balls: Small, usually solid, and sometimes weighted, these individual balls are inserted into the vagina and can be used like Kegel exercise balls or worn for added stimulation during intercourse.
- Barbells: An alternative to Kegel balls, barbells are essentially heavy dildos, usually made from metal, glass, or even wood that usually feature varying circumferences in either bulges or tapering girth, allowing different levels of resistance. Betty Dodson designed her Vaginal Barbell to serve two purposes: to strengthen PC muscles and to stimulate the G-spot. Check out the How to Use Betty’s Barbell article for more detailed information on the care and use.