A woman's pelvic floor has three distinct functions: it contracts to hold in urine and stool or during intercourse, and it relaxes to urinate and defecate. In addition, he can reflexively counteract internal tension - for example through sneezing, laughing or coughing - in order to avoid urine leakage. And that is exactly the crux of the matter: if the muscles relax, physical symptoms such as urinary and fecal incontinence or abdominal discomfort occur.
A weakened pelvic floor is often promoted by a vaginal delivery. "Surgery on the abdomen, a hysterectomy, chronic cough, smoking, obesity and not exercising can also weaken the pelvic floor," adds Gert Naumann, chief physician for gynecology and obstetrics at the Helios Klinikum in Erfurt. However, the good news is: You can counteract the symptoms with love balls. You can find out exactly how this works here.
The approximately two to three centimeters thick sheet of muscle that closes off the abdomen and the organs of a woman that are in the pelvis (bladder, uterus and rectum) from below is called the pelvic floor. If the muscles and connective tissue are weakened, they can no longer hold the internal organs in place and prolapse occurs. "Genital prolapse or urinary incontinence can occur," says Naumann. For this reason, the problem affects not only women who have given birth and thus overstretched their muscles, but also women whose muscles weaken with age.
"The basic problem is a weakness in the connective tissue, which increases with age per se and increases as a result of certain influences, such as pregnancy and childbirth. Especially in the case of spontaneous childbirth and childbirth using a bell or forceps," explains Naumann. "75 percent of all women over the age of 50 have more or less slight pelvic floor damage with prolapse, which does not always have to cause problems." In the end, however, it doesn't matter why the pelvic floor insufficiency occurred. Because love balls can be used by any woman who wants to strengthen her pelvic floor. You can find out what you need to be aware of in the next section.
A love ball is usually about the size of a ping pong ball. It consists of skin-friendly silicone or metal (like Fifty Shades of Gray) - size, shape and material can of course vary (depending on the manufacturer). Inside the training device there is a small metal ball that can be moved freely. The ball is inserted into the vagina like a tampon so that you can move freely without feeling anything: When you then take the first steps with it, the metal ball begins to vibrate and thus triggers small vibrations - which in turn affect the pelvic floor enable it without you having to do anything.
You can start with one ball to start with, but if you want to intensify the training later, you can also use two or three balls. Two love balls have the advantage that they are connected to each other with a band or a bridge and thus make each other vibrate. In other words: the effect is reinforced again. And not only in relation to the pelvic floor, but also to your love life. Because the fact is: love balls promise a more intense pleasure experience for women and their partners. Provided you apply the balls correctly. How this works exactly is explained in the following paragraph.
Here there are silicone love balls in a set of 3.
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In the first step, if you have no experience with love balls, you can use a lubricating gel - this makes it easier to insert the silicone balls. However, be sure to use a water-based gel and not a silicone-based one to avoid damaging the material. Unless you use metal love balls, you can also use a silicone-based lube. Then insert the balls vaginally until only the band can be seen - just like with a tampon.
The return cord is used to pull the love balls out again later. You can tell if the balls are in the right position by feeling something when you move. Ideally, you should hardly notice the balls, if at all, while walking. If so, you should only wear the balls for 15 minutes a day so as not to overload your muscles - after just a few weeks you will see a noticeable improvement in your pelvic floor. Over time, you can wear the baubles throughout the day as long as you keep moving. Before going to bed, however, they must be taken out again.
Tip for cleaning: After use, you must always clean the love balls, preferably with soap and water. If you also want to disinfect them, we recommend a special toy cleaner spray for silicone. You can get that here.
In the beginning you should start with light balls (up to a maximum of 85 grams) and stick to the recommended time of 15 minutes (once or twice a day). Otherwise, you could get some kind of sore muscles that can be very uncomfortable in the affected area. Age doesn't matter, Naumann assures: "You should be sexually active yourself and you can use love balls without any problems even at an older age". The only problem he sees in the application is the fact that the scabbard can be very wide due to a drop and then cannot hold the balls. But: "Most of the time, they can be used without any problems and are completely harmless."
If your pelvic floor feels noticeably stronger after a few weeks - which you will notice above all if you lose less urine, among other things - you can increase the weight and also the size of the love balls. Alternatively, you can also try models that vibrate to stimulate the muscles more. There are even love balls that you can use a remote control to control when you want them to vibrate, like this one.
In order to train the pelvic floor, you simply have to tense and relax it regularly - but this is exactly where the problem lies: "Only 30 percent of all women can voluntarily tense their pelvic floor well, all the others can only tense their bottom, pull up their stomach or Nothing happens at all. Or they press down counterproductively," Naumann points out and clarifies: "Anyone who can't tense their pelvic floor won't learn to do so through verbal explanations either." For this reason, he considers the use of aids to be useful: "Love balls or other vaginal aids have a great advantage. They are perceived in the vagina and automatically train the muscle because it contracts around the 'foreign body'. The result is more pleasure through stronger muscles and a narrower vagina, less sagging and the prevention or improvement of incontinence," is his summary.
If you have already tested the love balls a few times and developed a good feeling for them, you can train your pelvic floor - while wearing the balls. The following exercises are best suited for targeted training of the pelvic floor muscles:
Take a chair and sit on the front edge. Now place your feet parallel to each other and rest your palms on the chair surface next to your bottom. Try contracting your pelvic floor while slightly elevating your feet for 30 seconds. Repeat the exercise a few times in a row.
Lie on your back and bend your knees so your feet touch the floor. Now lift your buttocks slightly until your thighs form a straight line with your back. Be careful not to fall into a hollow back! Hold this position for 30 seconds as well. If you want to increase the level of difficulty, raise one more leg.
Lie on your back, bend your knees again, and then lower them sideways to the floor (each on a pillow, for example) so that the soles of your feet touch. Take a deep breath until your lower back touches the floor and press your feet together. Then exhale and relax the position. So always breathe in: tense, breathe out: relax.
So that your pelvic floor doesn't weaken in the first place, you can take preventive measures: "A healthy diet, exercise, no lifting and carrying heavy loads over ten kilograms and a healthy bowel movement," are Naumann's suggestions. And women who are already pregnant can also start exercising their pelvic floor before the birth – it would of course be even better if you started exercising before the first pregnancy. In any case, you should start after the birth at the latest. If you strengthen your pelvic floor and refrain from risky pelvic floor maneuvers, this has positive effects. "There would be a significant reduction in bell and forceps births, no long expulsion phases during childbirth and fewer hysterectomies," Naumann is convinced.
In addition to the exercises mentioned above, you can also prevent pelvic floor weakness in everyday life by observing the following points in the future, for example:
If you have a cold and have to cough all the time, you quickly overload your pelvic floor. That's why you should always try to tighten your pelvic floor muscles when you cough or sneeze - and always sit up straight when you have to cough or sneeze, so that you cough backwards (up) over your shoulder.
Your drinking behavior in everyday life can also help to train your pelvic floor. It is not without reason that it is said that it is healthier to drink up to three liters of water a day. Because if the bladder is never filled, the pelvic floor has nothing to do and remains untrained. This in turn causes the muscles to weaken.
When you go to the toilet, tilt your upper body backwards a little. This allows your abdominal muscles to support the bowels. A good exercise when urinating is to briefly stop the stream of urine and then let it flow again. On the one hand, you know what the pelvic floor can do, and on the other hand you strengthen its muscles.
Do sports regularly: Cycling, Nordic walking and swimming in particular strengthen your pelvic floor. Apart from that, you counteract a possible obesity. In combination with a balanced and healthy diet, you meet the best requirements for keeping your pelvic floor strong.
After the hardships of a natural birth, the pelvic floor is particularly weak, so many women suffer from temporary bladder weakness in the first few weeks after giving birth. So that no serious incontinence develops, new mothers should definitely attend a postnatal course.
Even if love balls have a positive effect on a woman's pelvic floor, they should never be used if you have just had a child - in the first six weeks after birth, inserting and wearing them is absolutely taboo. The same period also applies to operations in the pelvic floor area: Even then you should avoid using the love ball for at least six weeks.
If you suffer from a vaginal infection caused by bacteria, fungi or viruses, wearing love balls is also not recommended. Do not use them again until the typical symptoms (including itching and burning) have been alleviated with the help of the right treatment - antibiotics help against bacteria, antifungals help against fungi, antivirals help against viruses.
Love balls should also not be used if you are using a cervical cap, a contraceptive ring or a diaphragm. Otherwise you risk that the contraceptive method you want will slip and the protection will no longer be 100 percent. Otherwise, talk to your gynecologist again about the possible risks of using love balls.
And one last tip: There are also special pelvic floor training aids that are inserted like a tampon, similar to love balls. The medical product made in Germany can even be prescribed by a doctor (aid number: 15.25.19.0027). You can get the set here.
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