I’ve never truly understood how to do Kegels (aka the process of flexing and releasing your pelvic-floor muscles). Or rather, I’ve never understood whether I was doing them right. My thought process went a little something like this: So you just squeeze, down there? Okay, did I just do it?
Probably not, because as long as I can remember I’ve also had bladder issues that suggest my pelvic floor is not as strong as it should be. Namely, having to pee constantly—a result, my pediatrician decided when I kid, of not getting it out all in one go because my technique was wrong—and also being the friend that might pee themselves a bit in a fit of laughter, whether rosé was involved or not. But neither issue felt pressing enough for me to do anything about it.
Then, two things happened: First, my mom started having serious bladder problems once she hit her 60s. Second, I had a baby, the equivalent of having a bowling ball pressing on your bladder for months (and also a level of sleep-deprived, potentially-covered-in-poop-at-any-moment excitement that never did wonders for anyone’s sex life). And both, quite definitely, made me realize I needed to do something about strengthening my pelvic floor. Not after the next baby, not once I’m older—but now.
“Having a strong pelvic floor is important because it allows for better bladder control, postnatal recovery, and even better sex.”
“Having a strong pelvic floor is important because it allows for better bladder control, postnatal recovery, and even better sex,” says Tania Boler, founder and CEO of Elvie, the pioneering fem-tech company that’s changing how we talk about everything from vaginal health to breastfeeding. “It is astounding that one in three women deal with stress-related incontinence, and we are on a mission to change that. Education far outweighs the discomfort that traditional cultural norms have imposed on us.”
So let’s review: Better bladder control? Better postpartum recovery? Better sex? I was in need of all three. But as someone who was still clueless about Kegels, I needed help. And that’s when I turned to Elvie Trainer, which is specifically designed to lead you through Kegel workouts.
The medical-grade silicone device fits comfortably inside your vagina (and I say this as someone who was too petrified to insert a tampon until a year after they got their period—it is that comfortable) and connects to an app via Bluetooth. When you contract your pelvic-floor muscles, a gemstone on the screen rises in time with each movement, so you can actually visualize your Kegel exercises while you do them. “Elvie Trainer’s force and motion sensors measure pelvic floor muscle contraction and relaxation,” explains Boler.
This. Is. Huge. If you struggle with Kegels like me, this process of biofeedback (helping your mind connect to your body) doesn’t just show you what you’re doing, but also helps you learn how to correct the movement. For example, at first, the Elvie app informed me that I was actually pushing down instead of squeezing. According to Elvie, 30 percent of people with vaginas have the same problem, and it can actually cause damage. Knowing this, I was able to try out different moves until I got it right and the gemstone did what I wanted it to.
And what I wanted it to do was follow along with different tracked workouts within the app. In one, you squeeze to hit different targets, with countdowns to relax in between. In another, you squeeze to keep the gemstone above a targeted line for several seconds, then release. And then there’s my favorite: You squeeze to make the gemstone go as high as you can get it, just like those carnival games where you whack a scale with a hammer to shoot an object up the pole.
The app records your progress, sets goals based on where you’re at, and even gives you little reminders when you’re due for another workout (the aim is to do your Kegels three times a week, and each routine only takes five minutes). “You can see results in just four weeks,” says Boler, and I even noticed improvement on my second workout just from having corrected my technique.
There’s an immense level of satisfaction to be gained from seeing your performance and strength improve in real time.
As someone who’s allergic to traditional exercise (say the word HIIT and I will politely remove myself from the conversation), Kegel workouts are one, to my utter shock, I actually enjoy. There’s an immense level of satisfaction to be gained from seeing your performance and strength improve in real time, and each experience with my Elvie Trainer was akin to that instant rush you get when you check something off your to-do list. But speaking of to-do lists, this is one checked box that’s ridiculously easy to fit into your routine.
Ask any of my friends or coworkers and they’ll confirm: I can not shut up about this. Improving your pelvic-floor strength is a journey, and one I’ve only just begun, but having a plan in place to actually do so has taken a big weight off my mind. If I had any doubts that working on my Kegels was important, my Elvie Trainer has convinced me. “Education is empowering and transformative,” says Boler. Squeeze once if you agree.
Want to try Elvie Trainer? Get 25 percent off now through September 20 in honor of Sexual Health Awareness Week.
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Photos: Elvie Art: Well+Good Creative