How can pelvic floor therapy help me manage my pelvic floor disorder?
While at times pesky, a pelvic floor disorder is a common, and often natural, byproduct of aging among both women and men, although is something more frequently experienced by people assigned female at birth. In fact 1 in 3 women over the age of 18 in the US are managing Urinary Incotinence ( a common symptom of pelvic floor disorder). A pelvic floor disorder is nothing to be ashamed of - after all, aging is one of the underlying commonalities that every human shares.
Products such as pads, liners, and briefs are excellent at managing chronic symptoms of a pelvic floor disorder, such as bladder leaks. If this is a symptom you are managing and you are looking to figure out what product might be best for you - This quiz and this product guide may help.
Besides these daily symptom management tools, pelvic floor therapy and additional products can help alleviate pain and strengthen muscles, such as pelvic floor pants and kegel balls. These products work primarily by utilizing biofeedback in the affected area to manage symptoms.
What is biofeedback as a form of pelvic floor therapy?
If you’ve tried Kegels and other exercises, yet still struggle to find and isolate your pelvic muscles, biofeedback pelvic floor therapy is a safe and effective method for managing your pelvic floor disorder.
Biofeedback pelvic floor therapy involves biofeedback instruments, from small sensors to stickers, placed inside or just outside the vagina and anus, that measure muscle activity and detect contractions of the pelvic floor. These can be used, along with help from a pelvic floor therapist, to help you figure out if you are properly targeting muscles. This can help reverse the most common error women make while performing Kegels, which is engaging the abdominal muscles rather than the pelvic floor muscles.
What are pelvic floor pants?
Pelvic floor pants are a new type of biofeedback pelvic floor therapy. They are a device worn outside the body that uses electrical stimulation to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. The idea is that an electrical impulse is transmitted to the muscles, which are strengthened in response to the stimulation.
It's a pelvic floor therapy that is meant to be used for at least 12 weeks, for half an hour every day, for five days a week, with two days off. The strength of the stimulation is controlled by the user and can be increased over time. There are many companies beginning to make this product, which is a great alternative to more invasive incontinence treatments.
Is there data on the effectiveness of pelvic floor pants?
Findings from a trial of 20 women--albeit sponsored by manufacturers of a biofeedback product-- report that 79 percent of women who used it for 12 weeks had good pelvic floor contraction compared to 6 percent at the start of the trial. That is to say, their findings demonstrate that pelvic floor pants can be an effective form of pelvic floor therapy.
What else is available?
There are many other products available depending on your needs, so make sure to do your research. Kegel balls are another type of product used in pelvic floor therapy and rehabilitation that can help you manage your pelvic floor disorder. Kegel balls work by making you contract your pelvic floor to keep the product in. Doing kegels with the extra weight can make the exercises more challenging for some people, but for others, it makes it easier to target the right muscles.
These balls can be made from stone, stainless steel, plastic or silicone, and come as singles or as pairs to be inserted at the same time. Some are sold as sets that have increasing weights to encourage progressive training. You can purchase them online or at adult shops.
It is possible, however, that using these balls incorrectly or if your body is not ready for them, can actually be damaging to your pelvic floor. Be sure to check with a pelvic floor therapist or specialist before attempting any exercises with a weight. If you are interested in learning more about pelvic floor therapy or finding a specialist, you can do so here through this directory.
For a more holistic take on symptom management, one can look at this Resource Library for more information on incontinence treatment and management, from the holistic to basic.
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