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Woman sqeezing a pink baloon - You Can do Better Than Kegels

You Can do Better Than Kegels 

We’ve written before about how Kegels are not always the answer to solving pelvic floor issues. However, for people suffering from stress urinary incontinence, urge incontinence, and mixed urinary incontinence, one of the most commonly recommended treatments due to pelvic floor muscle weakness is pelvic floor exercise, including Kegels. The problem is, not everyone reaches their full potential with exercise alone. Just keeping up the regimen can be difficult when life gets busy. Ultimately Kegels are an excellent tool to have in the toolbox, but you can do better.

Technology to the Rescue

For years, researchers have conducted studies using electromagnetic stimulation in treating pelvic floor dysfunction, including urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse and symptoms of sexual dysfunction. High-intensity focused electromagnetic stimulation (HIFEM) has proven to improve pelvic floor fitness, reduce urinary incontinence, treat pelvic organ prolapse , and eliminate sexual pain. HIFEM is the technology behind our Libby Chair Pelvic therapy. It’s a good alternative to surgery, internal electrostimulation or medication with results as good or better than these more invasive methods. 

The Problem with Kegels

No one really pays much attention to their pelvic floor until there is a problem. Then, they are surprised to learn about exactly how important this group of muscles really is. The fact that you can’t see the results of their action outwardly, isolating and intentionally contracting and relaxing pelvic floor muscles proves difficult for some. 

The Technique is an Issue 

Teaching people to perform Kegel exercises can be difficult. A pelvic floor physiotherapist can coach you into getting it right. Then it’s up to you to maintain the proper technique and keep up the routine. In our experience, many people struggle with it.

Kegels are Inefficient 

There are simply limits on what you can do to stimulate your muscles. When pelvic muscles are weak, you may only be able to initiate and sustain a very small Kegel contraction that is a fraction of the full potential of the muscle. So it may take a very long time to see any results. If your technique is not perfect, it will take even longer.

Tight Muscles

Some people carry stress in their pelvis, which results in the muscles being in an activated state all the time without getting a chance to fully relax. Doing additional exercise to increase strength actually makes things worse. In this case, Kegels are not for you. Instead, a pelvic floor physiotherapist can help you learn how to intentionally relax the muscles. 

Libby Delivers More

Libby is our name for the Emsella chair from BTL. Libby – which stands for Liberation – delivers targeted supramaximal contractions to the pelvic floor muscles to:

  • Activate and relax the muscles with greater intensity
  • Sustain activation for longer than you can on your own
  • Cycle between activation and relaxation faster than you can do it yourself 

Graph chowing the difference in intensity of supramaximal contractions versus Kegel contractions

‘Supramaximal’ describes a level of stimulation that is more than the energy required to fully activate all of the muscle fibres in the area. Think of supramaximal contractions as longer and stronger contractions than we’re physically able to do ourselves. A Kegel (when done correctly) only uses a portion of the activation energy needed for full activation. The result of a 30-minute session with Libby is equivalent to doing more than 11,000 Kegels. 

The Results Are In

One study using HIFEM on women experiencing urinary incontinence found symptoms either improved or disappeared entirely after one treatment. Scores on a quality of life survey improved in all cases. After a second treatment, the results were even better. And six months later, the benefits were maintained. 

We pair our HIFEM treatments using the Libby chair with an education program. The goal is to teach people how to maintain pelvic floor activation with a combination of self-care, diet and exercise. With a healthy and fit pelvic floor, you can continue to feel confident and dry. 

If you’d like to learn more about Libby, follow us on Instagram or contact us and find out whether it’s the right treatment for you.

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