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Your Questions, Answered: Kegel & Pelvic Floor Trainers

Your Questions, Answered: Kegel & Pelvic Floor Trainers

In the past few years, more and more high-tech products have hit the market that claim to help with incontinence by toning up your pelvic floor. You may have seen them by the names of Elvie, Elitone, or Perifit. Indeed, we talk a lot about the known benefits of pelvic tone muscle training for some people with bladder leaks, and though tech-powered trainers are relatively new to the scene, this is a topic that has been studied in actual clinical trials for years. 

In terms of the new pelvic trainers out there, we’re seeing products for both men and women, used internally or externally, and they might be powered by a remote or an app on your phone. There are so many options that our heads are spinning and naturally, we have some questions. Maybe you do, too. So, here’s the scoop on Kegel or pelvic floor trainers on the market right now. 

What is a Kegel trainer or pelvic floor trainer?

It is an internal or external device that you use to help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles which, when weak, can cause urine leaks. If you’ve ever been told to try Kegels, which involve tightening and relaxing your muscles down there, you know they can be tricky! These types of devices intend to make the work of Kegels more approachable and help you achieve results more quickly, but remember that the old-fashioned way gets you the same results. 

What are some of the options available for pelvic floor trainers?

Elvie Trainer: The Elvie Trainer is a small device that you insert in your vagina and use their app to guide you through pelvic floor exercises through controlled squeezing and releasing. Think of it as Kegels with a lot more guidance. The app tracks your progress over time and updates recommendations for you based on your results. It costs $199.

Perifit: This is an internal trainer with a unique shape that some reviewers prefer over the Elvie Trainer. It uses biofeedback games to help you do the squeeze-release Kegel exercises with an element of fun. The cost is $150 or $180 with an upgraded version of the app.

Elitone: Elitone and Elitone URGE are the only FDA-cleared external devices, so if you care about FDA approval, this is the one for you. Unlike the previous two trainers, the Elitone uses neuromuscular stimulation to target the pelvic floor muscles. Instead of consciously squeeze-releasing, it makes your muscles tighten on their own and (supposedly) feels like a tingling sensation. You place a gel pad in your underwear that conducts the impulses from the trainer to your body. It claims that you can see results in around six weeks if you use it for 20 minutes per day and is pricier, at around $400. 

Are pelvic floor trainers safe to use for any woman?

Honestly, it depends. It is best to talk to your doctor before you use a pelvic floor trainer. Dr. Barbara Frank explains it this way: “Most stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse is due to weak pelvic floor muscles. But if you have tight pelvic floor muscles causing pain and you don't know how to effectively relax the contraction, these devices can actually hurt you more.” That’s the last thing we need. A doctor or physical therapist can determine if you have underactive or overactive muscles to help you choose the best product and routine for your specific needs. Working with a physical therapist specializing in the pelvic floor may be just as beneficial and more personalized.

If your doctor clears you to use one, be sure to read all of the instructions and clean it properly before and after each use, and always watch out for pain, bleeding, etc. because these are not to be expected.

Do pelvic floor trainers even work? What are the potential downsides of using one?

Keep in mind there is still limited research and a lack of concrete data about these types of products. A 2011 study showed that women using biofeedback (the technology used in these devices) were significantly more likely to improve their incontinence issues than those who did Kegels alone without a device. 

However, the cost can be a big deterrent – especially compared with plain old (free) Kegels! A pelvic floor trainer can help you reach your goals more quickly but they come at a price. There is also a risk that if you do not follow the instructions carefully or clean it before and after, you could cause pelvic floor tension or irritate your sensitive areas. 

If you suffer from prolapse or functional incontinence, these types of products are probably not for you. It may also be inconvenient to use or find the time and privacy to use one – and remember, just like classic Kegels, you do have to actually use it to reap the benefits! 

So, whether you’re strengthening your pelvic floor muscles the old-fashioned way or trying out a high-tech trainer, you can count on our Pads and bladder leak products to have you covered in the process. Happy Kegeling! 

Effectiveness of Pelvic Floor Muscle Training on Quality of Life in Women with Urinary Incontinence: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
The Vagina Whisperer: Pelvic Floor Trainers

Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only, even if and regardless of whether it features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This content is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.