A lot of people exercise to benefit the health of their bodies and minds. People lift weights to slowly strengthen their muscles and help them maintain good health. Did you know that you can also strengthen your pelvic floor muscles to increase your pelvic floor health?

Your pelvic floor muscles are a series of muscles that extend from the pubic bone to the tailbone. These muscles support the bladder, bowel, and uterus in women, and the bladder and bowel in men. These muscles help you control when you have to go to the bathroom, and they help women in childbirth as well. In people with vaginas, these muscles are on the outside of the vagina, and can also help increase sexual pleasure. 

Just like any other muscle, pelvic floor muscles can become weak over time. Pregnancy, childbirth, old age, obesity, chronic constipation, or surgery can weaken these muscles. People can strengthen these muscles to help with incontinence, childbirth, and sexual satisfaction. You should definitely consider pelvic floor exercises if you leak a bit of urine when you laugh, cough or sneeze. Pelvic floor exercises can help. Men can benefit from strengthening their pelvic floor muscles as well.

Ways To Strengthen Pelvic Floor Muscles

You can do a series of fairly simple exercises to strengthen these muscles, and you can also use kegel or Ben Wa balls, which I’ll get to in a minute. But first, the exercises!

Kegel exercises are a simple way to strengthen your pelvic floor. Kegel exercises simply consist of you tightening and releasing your pelvic floor muscles. To figure out what contracting these muscles feels like, you can stop mid-pee next time you’re in the bathroom, and you’ll feel the pelvic muscles tightening. Another source also recommended imagining you’re sitting on a marble and need to lift it for a few seconds at a time. Boom, baby, there are your pelvic floor muscles! Now that you know what they feel like, tighten and release these muscles for about five seconds at a time for a set of ten up to three times a day.

Squats are also a good way to strengthen these muscles. You can also do hip thrusts where you lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor and thrust your pelvis upward. A few other simple pelvic floor exercises can be found here. If you do kegel exercises daily, you should notice a difference pretty quickly. Your ability to control when you have to go to the bathroom should improve pretty soon after regularly flexing these muscles. 

If you have a vagina, another popular way to train these muscles is kegel balls or Ben Wa balls. Kegel balls are small balls made from silicone that you put inside of your vagina. These balls come in different sizes with different weights, and essentially weight train your pelvic floor muscles by supporting the ball in your vagina while you go about your daily life. Many of these balls come with two or three balls attached to one another in a line with a string or handle on the end. There are some balls that don’t have a string on the end, but you should only use those once you’ve gotten comfortable using kegel balls. 

Kegel balls can be used to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles for all of the reasons mentioned above, but a lot of people will use these to strengthen these muscles for increased sexual satisfaction. The stronger your pelvic floor muscles, the stronger your orgasms can be! Orgasm is the contracting of your vaginal muscles, and if your pelvic floor muscles are strong, this contraction will be strong and more pleasurable. You can also tighten and release your pelvic floor muscles during sexual activity for increased pleasure, and the stronger they are, the more you’ll feel it.

To use kegel balls, first clean them using warm water and antibacterial soap. You should always clean them before and after use and towel dry them once they’ve been washed. To insert them, lie on your back and slowly push the balls inside of your vagina, one at a time. It might be helpful to use lubricant on the balls and the vaginal opening to help slide them in. After you insert the kegel balls, pay attention to how it feels in your body. If it’s uncomfortable or painful, you might have inserted them too high. Give the handle a little tug and see if that feels more comfortable. If you have any intense pain, take them out right away. After they’re in, you can just carry about your daily life without much thought. Kegel balls can be left in for four to six hours. Your pelvic floor muscles will naturally tighten to keep the weighted balls in place, working them out while you carry on with your day. It’s like weight training for your vagina. You can also tighten and release your kegel muscles while they’re in in. Make sure you don’t do the kegel exercises for too long with the balls inserted so you don’t strain the muscles. You can also put the balls in just for kegel exercises and take them out afterwards. Although they can be left in for up to six hours doesn’t mean you have to leave them in that long.

When you’re ready to take them out, lie on your back again and slowly and carefully pull on the string to take them out. Again, lubricant around the vaginal opening can help slide the balls out. Once you’ve used kegel balls several times and feel comfortable, you could try balls without the string on them. They are inserted similarly, but when it’s time to take them out you’ll have to bear down and squat or push them out. Once they’re out, wash them thoroughly with warm water and antibacterial soap, towel dry them, then store them in a safe place. Wash them the next time you’re ready to use them. 

If you’re interested in using kegel balls, talk with your doctor about it. People that experience pelvic pain might have a hard time using them comfortably so ask your doctor if they recommend you try it. Regular old kegel exercises without the balls are safe for everyone though. 

Some people keep kegel balls in their vagina during sexual activity for increased sensation. You can even keep the balls in during penetrative or anal sex, but I would recommend doing some research before trying this, and make sure you are super comfortable using kegel balls for exercise purposes first. Although they could be kept in the vagina during anal sex, NEVER put kegel balls in your anus. They are not designed to strengthen any muscles in the anus, so don’t put them in there. 

Pelvic floor exercises are designed to help strengthen your pelvic floor for childbirth, controlling your urine, or increased sexual pleasure. When I first heard about kegel balls and kegel exercises, I heard that these exercises will tighten your vagina. This is untrue and a lie told to women so we feel like our bodies need fixing! Your vagina is incredibly strong and does not get “stretched” out from frequent sex like you may have been told growing up. Your vagina will definitely change after childbirth, but it doesn’t get “stretched out” to a point that it needs fixing! These pelvic floor muscles are around your vagina, so they help make this area of your body stronger. Your vagina is resilient and will bounce back to it’s natural shape. It is not stretched out and does not need to be tightened or fixed. Pelvic floor exercises will help you in childbirth by making you stronger to push out your baby. These exercises will help you control when you have to pee. These exercises can help make your orgasms stronger! They won’t “fix” your vagina because it doesn’t need fixing. Pelvic floor exercises, just like other exercises, will help increase the strength and health of your pelvic floor, which is a beautiful thing.