Squeeze to keep a series of increasing weights from falling out of the vagina to identify and build up muscles. These balls, cones, or egg-shapes are as simple as they come, dating back thousands of years. Kegel weights are inexpensive and easy to understand. However, they do require privacy and dedicated time. Anything vaginally inserted will have a higher risk of infection. Review: Easy to use to isolate pelvic floor muscles. Once you identify your muscles, it’s easier to do Kegels anywhere on your own.
Biofeedback measures the strength of Kegel contractions as you squeeze around the device. Most of these vaginally inserted probes are connected to mobile apps so you can see your progress, and some offer fun games to play as you squeeze. Kegel trainers still have a risk of infection and require dedicated time and privacy during use. Most are not FDA-approved for incontinence. Review: Fit can be uncomfortable. The games are fun at first, but it’s hard to find the time to keep using them.
The patient sits on a specialized chair while a high intensity electromagnetic field is focused on the pelvic floor, causing the muscles to contract. This therapy is administered in a doctor’s office over six or more sessions. A meta-data review by the Department of Health (AHRQ) shows this therapy to be less effective than stimulation. Review: Quite easy to show up and sit fully clothed. Quite expensive for 6 visits and no guarantee that it will work. What about maintenance?
Electrical stimulation (e-stim) contracts the pelvic floor muscles, doing your Kegels for you. Don’t let the term “electrical stimulation” scare you. Electrical currents are how your brain talks to your muscles and tell them to move, and these devices have been around for 40 years. Originally only found in doctors‘ and physical therapy offices, vaginal e-stim devices are now approved for home use, but require dedicated time on your back and privacy, plus there’s a risk of infection. Clinically proven to work, and some are quite strong. Contracts the correct muscles for you, but the vaginal activation leaves you feeling somewhat “violated” which makes it hard to want to make time for sessions.
Electrical stimulation (e-stim) contracts the pelvic floor muscles through skin, doing the Kegel for you. The FDA created a new category to treat incontinence, so these Kegel exercisers are new on the market. Although similar to the vaginal e-stim, these devices are applied externally, allowing for comfort and safety. ELITONE disposable GelPads are worn like a thin sanitary pad, so you can get dressed and do other things during sessions. The Innovo shorts uses similar technology but requires you to be stationary and involves more preparation, including the sizing. Review for ELITONE: Easy to use and discreet while going about normal daily tasks. Easy is the key so that you will continue with the treatments. Electrical stimulation shorts: Better than the vaginal devices, but need to be sized right, many steps to get the shorts ready each time, not discreet and need to stay stationary.