Pelvic floor muscle (PFM) strength and endurance is important for various reasons such as the prevention of urinary incontinence. Your PFM’s are made up of two superficial and deep layers. A complete PFM contraction involves four steps. It starts with a squeezing action of your superficial muscles, a lifting action of your deep muscles then a lowering of your deep muscles and a release of your superficial muscles. A complete PFM contraction has a contraction and a relaxation phase, of which both are equally as important. It is the co-ordination and strength of these muscles that ensure their effectiveness.
It is important to see a Women’s Health Physiotherapist to accurately assess PFM function and treat appropriately. If it is determined that your PFM’s need strength and endurance training then vaginal weights/cones can be utilised in your rehabilitation.
There are many different types of vaginal weights or cones out there to choose from. There are various vaginal weights of different shapes, sizes and weights and there are also various vaginal cones in which you can place various weights inside. Deciding this with your Women’s Health Physiotherapist is vital to ensure they will suit your anatomy and be helpful in your rehab. If the decision is to utilise vaginal weights/cones then it is a fairly independent home exercise program where you can see (and feel!) your improvements as you go.
If we use vaginal cones (as in picture) as an example:
Firstly, you would start with the big cone without a weight inside. Once this becomes easy then you would progress through the weights by adding 5g at a time. You then also have the option of progressing to the smaller cone which is harder to keep internal then start through the weights again. With these cones you can see your improvements by being able to keep a heavy weight or a smaller cone internally.
Using vaginal weights/cones can help increase PFM resting tone, strength and endurance but it is important to discuss their safe and appropriate use with your Women’s Health Physiotherapist before using them independently as they may be inappropriate for your current condition. In addition, there may be additional exercises or treatment tools utilised for optimal rehab. If you have any questions regarding vaginal weight/cones or whether they may be helpful for your current condition then come and see Bonnie, our Women’s Health Physiotherapist at Bend + Mend Physiotherapy in Sydney’s CBD.