Pelvic floor exercise journal (6 episodes)
Who Am I: Hello everyone, my name is Ms. MK. I am a member of the fermata Singapore, Japanese community. I gave birth in November 2020 and I am now six months postpartum as of June 2021.
I am sharing my journey of kegel exercises and hope it might be useful to any community members who are experiencing the same troubles/challenges in their pelvic floor.
【Episode 1 : Problem discovered - June 12, 2021】
After giving birth, one day I was taking a shower and found something wrong around my vagina. I touched below and discovered a round shaped object. With my own research, I suspected it was “POP” also known as Pelvic Organ Prolapse.
I started the pelvic floor exercises by watching videos on Youtube.
I thought it would gradually get better but once I passed six months postpartum, the problem was still there. So, I went to the hospital to see the doctor.
The doctor confirmed that it was a sign of POP and that my pelvic floor muscles were weak. However, they told me there was no need for treatment at that point in time.
I did some research to see if there was anything I could do to improve the condition and found physical therapists who taught pelvic floor exercises and I booked an appointment immediately!
Following a detailed health interview, the physical therapist instructed me to do a kegel exercise to determine what was the extent of my current condition.
Like the doctor, they told me my pelvic floor was weak and the organs had dropped (POP) and I was given exercises to do at home for five minutes every day and to check the progress in one week.
Right now, I am not allowed to run or jump - so my goal is to get back to jogging everyday like I did before I gave birth.
I heard that POP can cause urine incontinence after menopause and that you may really see your organs coming out - so pelvic floor exercises should be a must-thing to do everyday.
In the next episode, I am going to share the specific training methods I was taught to do.
If you have a weak pelvic floor, let’s work on them together.
【Episode 2 – My Visit to the Physical Therapist! : June 20, 2021】
In the first episode, I visited a Physical Therapist and I would like to share more about the experience.
Firstly, the therapist checked to see if I could move my pelvic floor muscles - I have been doing the exercises since childbirth but I know that I wasn’t able to move them properly - hence my POP situation.
They immediately gave me some specific exercises to do, which you might be able to try.
You are going to want to tighten and loosen your pelvic floor muscles to your breathing. Exhale when tightening and inhaling when loosening. Since the muscles aren’t visible to us, your imagination is useful in this particular activity.
- Imagine you are stopping a fart (focusing on the back of your pelvic floor).
- Imagine you are sucking a thick milkshake through a straw (to focus on the front).
- Imagine you are tightening your fingers, vibrator or penis with your vagina and pull it up from the bottom to the top for five seconds (to focus on the middle).
It takes a while to get the hang of it but after half an hour of training - I was able to do it. Each time the therapist inserted a finger into my vagina she would encourage me to tighten and hold for five seconds.
As a home workout, she would tell me to do the “five second pull up and hold” for five minutes everyday.
When I am doing the exercises at home - I prefer to use my fingers as I can feel it and know that I am doing the exercise right. Doing the exercise right is a very important thing but it can be quite hard to practice if you do not have the privacy you need.
Note: the exercises taught by the physical therapist are said to be quite common in Europe.
【Episode 3 - Pelvic Floor and Femtech solutions : June 28, 2021】
I did the home exercises everyday following my first visit and went back a week later, where I was told there had been improvements. I did not feel it yet but some people can see significant changes after practicing just one week. I had hope.
Making a follow-up appointment in two weeks, the therapist told me to increase the time to tighten the pelvic floor muscles to 10 seconds, and to tighten and loosen them for 10 times.
Strengthening your pelvic floor muscle properly is hard to do by yourself - for me, there needs to be a visual change to feel motivated to continue, if not I need someone like my physical therapist to check in and encourage me.
The therapist introduced me to a machine called Peritone.
When you tighten your pelvic floor muscles, that shows the numerical power level how hard you are tightening them. This machine is used with another device to insert into your vagina, which you can purchase separately. It can be a good motivator when you see the numbers increase as you train.
With a baby at home, it’s not easy for me to go to the physical therapist’s all the time so a device is something I am considering since I can use it at home.
The fermata Japan market place has a product called the Elvie, a similar device used to train your pelvic floor muscle. It is equipped with a game app. I decided to wait since fermata Singapore is meant to be releasing the Perifit Kegel Exerciser with App, also with games to train with.
【Episode 4 - Outcomes of Pelvic Floor Exercises after 1 Month : July 5, 2021】
It’s been three weeks since my visit to the Physical Therapist, although I am meant to go back within the next two weeks. It seems that they are quite popular these days, so it's been difficult to book an appointment.
Despite this, I am continuing with my daily pelvic floor exercises. It’s been four weeks since I started and there have been some changes!
- I can tighten and loosen as I wish to.
- I can see my tightening pressure is getting stronger.
- If I have the urge to urinate, I feel I can hold it longer if I need to find a bathroom.
- I am below my pre-pregnancy weight, my lower belly has become flat.
As for my POP - it’s still my #1 concern and there hasn’t been much improvement. While I don’t see or feel it in the morning, by the evening it seems to drop down or when I carry heavy things or run. It goes away after I do the exercises at night so I still have hope, continuity is power.
【Episode 5 - Training with Perifit! : July 12, 2021】
fermata Singapore has released the Perifit Kegel Exerciser with App and I bought it!
While I was curious about the device recommended by my physical therapist, I decided to go with the Perifit since I can train while playing games and it can be linked with my phone.
In addition, a single visit to my physical therapist is around S$200, around the same price as the Perifit - it is definitely easier on my wallet in the long run.
I’ve been using the Perifit for a little while so here are some of my thoughts.
★How is the device?
At first, I was a little worried about the size when I bought it and was a little concerned whether I would be able to wear it comfortably but it turned out okay.
For context, my body size/clothing size is extra small.
★What is the app like?
The connection with my phone was very smooth and I was able to start training without any trouble.
The app has a lot of columns about the pelvic floor as well as the user guides, which is very informative.
There are two modes of training: a game mode and a practice mode that shows the strength of pressure in numerical values.
★How do you know if you are using the device/doing the exercises correctly?
At first, I checked if I could tighten the pelvic floor muscles correctly in the practice mode.
The green line goes up when you tighten it, and down when you loosen it. The red line is the abdominal pressure, so be careful not to use the abdominal muscle in the exercise.
When I tightened it up, the green circle went higher and higher, which made me think I am doing right and holding good power.
★Let's play the game!
When I squeezed tightly, the bird flew high to collect the Lotus, and the fish's mouth opened to eat the bait. It's definitely a fun and interesting way to train!
I was able to compare my results with the average, and I could see that my tightening strength was not weak while my Agility was low, so I understand I was not good at swift movements.
★After two days of use
The game mode is certainly interesting, and the practice mode is great for home exercise, as you can visually see how much vaginal pressure is being applied as you slowly tighten and loosen it with your breathing.
I've been comparing which tool I should purchase and I think I made a good choice. The only problem is that I have to play game without being noticed by my husband and my elder kid.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me in the fermata FB community!
【Last Episode - Benefits of Pelvic Floor Training : July 19, 2021】
I've been using a Perifit for a while now, and it's been working great.
I set the target to do 5 minutes exercises for 5 days a week but I spend 10 minutes most of the days.
When I posted episode 4 saying that I could reduce the weight, a community member asked me if it is associated with the pelvic floor exercise.
According to the website and books I referred to, it mentions the blood flow is improved if you strengthen the muscle, which means it improves coldness, swelling, menstrual cramps, constipation, and tightens the lower stomach.
I’ve also been doing yoga and muscle training on a regular basis, and my pelvic floor exercises may have added an even greater effect😊.
It’s said to be good for women trying to conceive as pelvic floor exercise increases female hormones.
Improving frequent urination/urinary leakage are other effects of kegel training.
In fact, more than 40% of women in their 40s have experienced urine leakage. It's not just someone else's problem, is it?
There are two types of urinary leakage: Stress Incontinence and Urge Incontinence, and pelvic floor muscle exercises are effective for both types.
Stress Incontinence: sudden leakage when sneezing, coughing, or doing strenuous exercise.
Urge urinary incontinence: sudden urge to urinate that causes leakage in time
To prevent this, it's a good idea to start working out at a young age and even before you get pregnant😊.
Lastly, here is a link to a perifit review video I felt was interesting.
At the end of the video, she said that "perifit is not for everyone, but pelvic floor exercises are beneficial for everyone".
Thank you for reading to the end ♥️.
☆Perifit is available at fermata Singapore's online store here: https://sg.hellofermata.com/ja/collections/pregnancy-postpartum-care/products/perifit-kegel-exerciser-with-app