These are just a selection from the many email questions we receive from our customers. Our answers should not be construed as providing advice or as recommending products, but rather as providing information on product features in line with the information and instructions provided by manufacturers. You are encouraged to discuss your own particular needs with your health practitioner.
Which is the best device for strengthening my pelvic floor muscles?
All the exercise and strengthening devices we sell help to strengthen or imp[orve the function of your pelvic floor muscles. A decision about which is "best" depends on your symptoms, goals, and lifestyle.
Please understand that while we provide as much information as we can on different products on our website, we are not able to advise customers on what they should buy, or on which product would suit them best. For help with making a choice if necessary please talk to your health practitioner.
Please also read:
- 5 Step guide to making a decision
- Read more about how to make the right choice for you
- Read more about the different types of products and how they are used
Many exercisers are described as providing "biofeedback". What does this mean?
Biofeedback quite literally means "feedback from your body".
Any device that provides feedback about what your body is doing, with a view to improving your ability to control your body's functions, can be described as providing "biofeedback". All our visual feedback products fall into this category.
But the term can also apply to products that act on the body's involuntary muscles. Hence, vaginal cones, which trigger the pelvic floor muscles into contracting in response to the presence of the cones, are also a type of feedback device, as they create a feedback loop that causes a behaviour response in the muscles.
And finally, the term is sometimes used by health professionals and in research papers to refer to the more sophisticated devices (often electrical etc) that are used during a visit to a professional. In fact, this is misleading and the term can be correctly applied to exercisers for home use too.
"Many patients who are motivated to begin PFMT (pelvic floor muscle training) are unable to exercise effectively, and receive no benefit from their efforts. The addition of biofeedback technology in PFMT teaches patients to effectively isolate the pelvic floor, increasing the efficacy of home exercises. Several contemporary studies demonstrate that PFMT with biofeedback is superior to PFMT alone."
Drs Christopher Whelan & Patrick McKenna, Division of Urology, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine
If I buy an exerciser, how will I know how to use it correctly?
All of our exercisers are accompanied by manufacturers' instructions as well as an information sheet for your specific product and how to use it written by our pelvic floor physiotherapist Fiona whose many years of experience mean she knows how to use the products properly. It is important to follow these instructions very carefully. Manufacturers suggest that some women will find products more comfortable to use in conjunction with a high-quality, water-based lubricant such as Sylk or YES. It is very important to use only a water-based lubricant as other products may damage the exercisers.
Occasionally we choose to stock products that we think are useful, even though the the manufacturers' instructions do not conform to current recommendations on exercise repetitions and frequencies. We clearly state where this is the case on the product webpage, and we include a FREE copy of Women's Waterworks to provide our customers with Australian guideliness on recommended exercise technique, reps and frequency.
How long will it take to know if my exercise program is working?
This depends on the strength of your pelvic floor before you start. All of our products are accompanied by clear instructions as to how long you will need to follow a program before seeing an improvement, and there has been research about this too.
Manufacturers and research both indicate that most women will need to commit to daily exercising for 6-12 weeks to make a difference and then continue to exercise regularly, but less frequently thereafter, to maintain fitness.
Women who already have a fairly strong pelvic floor muscle and are only seeking to improve fitness may achieve their goals more quickly.
Women who follow an exercise program for 12 weeks without noticing an improvement, should always seek medical advice, or consult a specialist women's health physiotherapist.
I had a hysterectomy 10 years ago. Which exerciser would suit me best?
A hysterectomy wouldn't normally make a difference to your ability to use an exerciser or to which type will suit you best, but you should consult a health practitioner such as a women's health physiotherapist to discuss your particular needs. Care must be taken if you have had a vaginal repair at the same time, especially if you had mesh inserted. Please seek advice before using any form of pelvic floor device.
Assuming there is no specific health or medical reason for making a particular choice, a decision is usually based on a combination of lifestyle factors and the existing ability to do a pelvic floor contaction correctly.
- Am I sure that I am doing my pelvic floor exercises correctly already?
If no, you can consider a product that specifically provides feedback on doing the exercises correctly (Pelvic Floor Educator, PFX2 )
- Do I consider that my pelvic floor is already pretty good and I just want to build strength?
If you already have strong pelvic floor muscles, you may consider continuing to use the PFX2 which is adjustable to a high level of resistance. Alternatively, the heavier PelviWeights (used with vaginal balls), and the heavier vaginal barbells such as the PelviBar and the Energie, all provide a challenge to even strong muscle. However if you think you are starting from a lower level of strength, you may still want to consider either the PFX2, Aquaflex or electrical stimulation with the Pericalm , InControl or Neurotrac Pelvitone or Continence.
- Am I prepared to allocate specific exercise time each day to an exerciser that requires me to lay down?
Feedback exercisers, vaginal barbells and electrical stimulation devices all require you to set aside specific exercise time each day. If this isn't acceptable, progressive weights such as Aquaflex or Luna Beads can be used whilst moving around (although the manufacturers state they may initially require you to allocate specific standing-still time until you reach a given level of muscle fitness, but this will depend on your existing individual strength)
I am pregnant. Is there any point in doing pelvic floor exercises during my pregnancy?
There is quite a lot of research evidence that doing pelvic floor exercises during pregnancy and after delivery reduces the likelihood that a woman will experience stress incontinence during and after pregnancy. A strong pelvic floor has also been shown to have a positive effect on second stage of labour. You can read more about this on our childbirth page. So there are good reasons to do pelvic floor exercises right through pregnancy, with no need to stop at any point, and to continue after birth, although when you can start again may be determined by what sort of delivery you have. You should talk to your doctor, midwife or physio about this after you've had your baby.
The manufacturers of exercise products are generally cautious about their use in pregnancy and in the first six weeks after birth, mainly because there is always a risk associated with inserting any device at this stage (infection, or risk associated with placenta praevia in the last trimester, etc). Most therefore state that their product should not be used at all during pregnancy, however be guided by your Obstetrician. There does not seem to be any published evidence of risk attached to the use associated with doing unassisted exercises (that is, without using an exerciser), but you should definitely check with your care provider about all these issues. Likewise, please check with your care provider before using an exerciser after the birth.
As always, when using any exercise product, you should follow the manufacturer's instructions exactly.
Read more about choosing an exercise aid for antenatal or postnatal use.