Kegel and Pelvic Floor Exercisers – The How and the Why

I have to face facts. I'm getting older.

The Menopause is fast approaching along with the possibility of the long arms of her hormone-deficient outriders: loss of libido, vaginal atrophy and bladder weakness.

Having had my children by Caesarean section, I'm very lucky. I do not automatically wee myself when I sneeze or laugh. However, I have noticed a lack of sensitivity in terms of my pelvic and core muscles due to having them cut and stitched back together more than once. I have also suffered a lot with frequency-related cystitis and, if my bladder is full, I am conscious that I have to really concentrate to hold on to everything when I make a sudden involuntary movement.

But, more than anything, I was worried about the effect the hormonal imbalance of the Menopause was having on my sex life.

I wanted to tighten my vagina. I wanted to retrieve the muscle tone I had just a few years ago. Investigating the subject thoroughly, I discovered that there were two ways of dealing with this problem: one, to focus on my kegel and pelvic floor exercises. Manually. Mentally zeroing in on the pubococcygeus muscle (the one that controls your wee) and squeezing, lifting and releasing it regularly every day; alternatively, taking the easier option and finding myself a device that could do the job for me.

There are also sorts of balls, cones, springs and barbells around which you can clench your errant PC muscle until it's back into tip top shape.

But, for us lazier exercisers, the current featured weapons in this on-going battle are the Kegel machines. They come with various fancy extras but the main idea is a bit like a TENS machine in that it exudes an electrical pulse onto the required muscle in order to stimulate it. All the models have a variety of programs designed to help with specific problems – stress, urge, post-childbirth, general tone-up. Each program consists of a set of pulses and rest periods and it is possible to increase the power of the stimulant to suit individual women.

Scientific studies have shown that this type of electrical stimulation of the pelvic floor muscles can improve the tone and performance of the area, thus reducing urge and frequency problems, as well as helping with sensitivity and other sexual issues that can be adversely affected by childbirth and / or the rise and fall of the different hormone levels of Menopause.

The aim of these kegel and pelvic floor exercisers is to ensure that you exercise safely and efficiently and, for me, the results were interested in just a few weeks. The adage of "use it or lose it" is certainly true for women and the benefits are amazing in all areas of a woman's life.

Last year, the Channel 4 program 'Embarrassing Bodies' campaign nationwide for us to 'Use it or Lose it' vis a vis our pelvic floors. Testing a large cross-section of women, it was discovered that many no longer had full control over their PC muscle and some of the ladies were given a sample of the various type of exerciser to try.

With all models, some improvement was seen but the most effective were the kegel stimulators.

For the best results, you should perform your normal kegel and pelvic floor exercises to coincide with the muscle stimulation part of the program – that's the tingly bit. Let's just say that I'm now saying it's like making love to a teenager.

'Nuf said.