Do I really need to do Kegel Exercises?
And other questions answered by pelvic health expert Dr. Susan Kellogg Spadt
This week, I got a chance to talk to Dr. Susan Kellogg Spadt. Dr. Susan Kellogg Spadt is the co-founder of The Pelvic and Sexual Health Institute of Philadelphia where she functions as The Director of Sexual Medicine. In this capacity, Dr. Kellogg Spadt performs direct patient care and consultative services as a vulvovaginal specialist, colposcopist, researcher and sexual dysfunction consultant.
Like many women, my understanding of pelvic health and the importance of Kegel exercises was average at best. Dr. Kellogg Spadt explained that the pelvic floor muscles, contrary to my understanding, support not only vaginal and sexual health, but also the urinary and bowel systems and overall continence.
And also contrary to my understanding – that it might be too late to start improving the health of my pelvic floor, since I’ve waited so long – “Anyone can do Kegel exercises,” Dr. Kellogg Spadt says. “Women going into a pregnancy, who have been pregnant, who are entering perimenopause–all of these women can benefit from Kegel exercises. It’s like working any muscle in the body.” She recommended that women talk to their healthcare providers before starting any new exercise routine, but that for most women, Kegel exercises are safe.
Dr. Kellogg Spadt noted that it can be difficult for women to start exercising their pelvic floor muscles for several reasons: motivation, uncertainty, and fear of discomfort. Dr. Kellogg Spadt explained that having a Kegel exerciser and a workout regimen can help some women begin comfortable, helpful pelvic floor health routines.
“As a healthcare provider I talk to people about contracting these muscles but they are unsure about where the muscles are located, or have trouble getting motivated to exercise them.,” Dr. Kellogg Spadt says. But, she noted, with a Kegel exerciser, such as the Laselle Kegel Exerciser “the product is on the muscles and so it’s easy to feel the resistance of the ball,” she says. She added that it can help to“put some structure into doing the exercisers – like aerobics.”
Another reason to use an exerciser is that it’s easier when you’re guided by a device. ”When you use Laselle, they each include a step-by-step routine (you can check it out here) that guides you completely on how to personalize a training that suits your personal needs. It also offers you the option to increase your weight level as you strengthen, ensuring that you are exercising efficiently and effectively,” Dr. Kellogg Spadt says.
“It’s pretty simple – you can either do it lying down, sitting up, whatever is easiest for you,” Dr. Kellog Spadt says. She says that it’s important to always lubricate anything that is used in the vagina for comfort, and that users gently place the exerciser inside the vagina, not high like a tampon, but so that it fits nicely right about the pubic bone.
Still, I felt a bit skeptical. How would I know it was working?
Give it time, Dr. Kellogg Spadt advises. Four weeks, to be specific. “After the first day you’re not going to notice anything. Just like you would with any kind of a toning exercise, eventually the tissue will feel more healthybecause of the blood flow.”
Ideally, each of us should perform Kegel exercises daily – 30-50 squeezes per day. Dr. Kellogg Spadt says to start out with less – just 5, 6, 12 reps a day, maybe every other day. It’s the same as the gym – you don’t go into the gym and run 5 miles after you haven’t worked out for years! Start slow.
Dr. Kellogg Spadthas noticed in her practice that many women fear that their post-baby body, especially after a vaginal delivery, is “the new me” and that their vaginal and pelvic area will never be the same as it was before. She advises mamas not to stress, and instead to takes step, both before and after their give birth, to feel confident in themselves and their bodies.
“It’s important to know that this part of your body will recover over time, just because it’s been 6 weeks doesn’t meant that’s all the healing that will take place. They just need to give it time, and Kegel exercisers will help with that. Having a baby is a big deal – be patient with your body and not expect it to be exactly as it was right away as soon as the baby is out, be good to your body.
Dr. Kellogg Spadt is a lecturer at The University of Pennsylvania and The Planned Parenthood Federation. She has written more than 50 peer reviewed articles and 2 books and is a featured columnist in Women’s Health Care, Contemporary Sexuality and The American Journal of Nurse Practitioners. Recent interviews with Dr. Kellogg Spadt have appeared on 20/20, The Today Show, CNN, WebMD, and Cosmopolitan Magazine.
Dr. Kellogg Spadt speaks nationally and internationally on vulvar disorders, gynecologic infections, and women’s sexuality. Her goal is to facilitate comprehensive biobehavioral patient care that focuses on sexual wellness.
About Our Product
The most effective way to strengthen women’s pelvic floor muscles, Laselle Kegel Exercisers are the ultimate intimate fitness. Easy, discreet, and convenient, Laselle provides you with the resistance training you need to rapidly see and feel results. Recognized as the most essential exercise for women, Kegel exercising can help to prevent incontinence, prepare for a healthy pregnancy, regain pelvic strength after childbirth, and maintain vaginal tightness.
Laselle Kegel Exercisers are made from 100% body-safe silicone with 3 progressive weights to provide personalized resistance training for any woman at any age. Worn internally, Laselle Kegel Exercisers each include a weighted inner ball that not only offers varying levels of resistance, but also emits subtle vibrations during movement to allow women to feel that the exerciser is correctly placed. Graduating to higher weight levels and then combining multiple exercisers for a more advanced routine promises an efficient and effective pelvic floor workout.
About Jennifer Ockelmann
Jennifer works with Huddler.com, Mothering’s Advertising Representative, where she acts as a liaison between Mothering.com and our sponsors. She was raised by an attachment parent and is passionate about showcasing sponsors who match the values of the community. Jennifer grew up in California, and she loves swing dancing, Spanish food and the beach. She can be reached at Jennifer@Mothering.com.