This article is written in partnership with Yarlap®—they’re dedicated to helping us enjoy the benefits of better pelvic floor health and we’re honored to work with them. ~ ed.
It’s about time you had a healthy relationship—with your pelvic floor, that is.
Quite frankly, when it comes to this particular “female health” issue, most of us are clueless.
Until one day…we pee ourselves.
While this is the most obvious symptom of poor pelvic floor health, it’s certainly not the only one. In fact, your pelvic floor (otherwise known as your PC or pubococcygeus muscles) is pretty much the foundation of your whole house, especially, but not limited to your “downstairs.”
The primary function of the pelvic floor is postural. These muscles not only hold our visceral organs in their proper position, but they are also the same muscles that contract during orgasm.
If the pelvic floor muscles weaken, everything else shifts out of place. Your PC muscles are quite literally the “key-stones” that stabilize your entire body, and even more so for women. If they atrophy, other muscles are forced to compensate, and the resulting stress can ricochet all the way up our spine and down to our ankles.
But it’s the lackluster orgasms we’re bound to notice well before the back, knee, and ankle pain kicks in. Feeble orgasm muscles just aren’t the bearers of mind-blowing moments.
Pelvic floor problems swing both ways, as well. Experiencing pain during sex? Pelvic floor excess tension could be the cause. Whether too much or too little, the tone of our pelvic floor has knock-on effects, especially when it comes to our intimate lives.
It’s just one reason MaryEllen Reider is on a mission to educate and empower women when it comes to our pelvic floor health. She co-founded Yarlap® with her medical-device engineer dad, Brent, to help us do just that. They make the only FDA-approved AutoKegel® device that’s endorsed by doctors, medical insurers, pelvic floor rehabilitation specialists, and sex therapists alike.
More than Just a Leak: Why our PC Deserves TLC.
This is about much more than peeing ourselves when we sneeze—or not. It’s a point that MaryEllen is passionate about conveying.
An unhappy pelvic floor can have a profoundly negative impact on our sexual health and confidence. And urinary incontinence (the medical term) is just part of the picture.
It’s pretty shocking when you consider that more than 24 million women in the U.S.A. still live with the emotional burden of shame and embarrassment, low self-esteem, and potentially diminished sexual activity and fulfillment that pelvic floor-related bladder leaks can cause.
Research suggests a convincing link to a variety of sexual dysfunctions, including dyspareunia (painful intercourse), vaginismus (uncontrolled, involuntary spasm of the vagina muscles), and orgasm disorders (difficulty or inability to reach orgasm).
Hello, Pelvic Floor. It’s Nice to Meet You. Let’s be Friends with Benefits.
What and where are our pelvic floor muscles, exactly? It might seem obvious but most of us need to start by getting clear on this.
Imagine a hammock zigzagging across your pelvic bone. These are your pelvic floor muscles.
Together, they support your inner universe by holding everything in its proper position, including your bladder, your uterus, and your visceral organs that lie on top of that.
While everyone has pelvic floor muscles, and men can also do Kegels, it’s predominantly women. Trauma to the pelvic floor can weaken the muscles. This includes childbirth, pregnancy, running, horse-back riding even—anything that has a repetitive movement, especially if you have never engaged these muscles before.
Imagine that hammock again, now imagine it sagging. You can quickly see what’d happen with all the internal structures it’s supposed to be supporting. They just slide and shift out of place, since there’s nothing there to support them. Then, one day you find that when you laugh, cough, sneeze, jump too high, or have any kind of sudden movement really, you pee yourself. This is known as stress incontinence.
Mary Ellen describes it perfectly as “an involuntary bladder hug.” This atrophy and weakness are also what cause that sudden urge to go to the bathroom as well, known as urge incontinence.
So, How Much do Pelvic Floor Muscles Really have to do with Orgasms?
Everything! Your pelvic floor muscles are your orgasm muscles. Or, medically speaking, the female orgasm is an involuntary contraction of muscles in response to stimulation. These contractions include the pelvic floor muscles.
The type of stimulation, muscle tone, and differences in anatomy suggest stimulation to orgasm varies with the individual. The variety in orgasms that arise from clitoral stimulation alone and from non-genital stimulation (e.g., erotic thoughts, nipple play, anal stimulation, etc.) suggests the female orgasm is highly variable and not necessarily by an erect penis into a vagina.
Dr. Kegel (for whom the exercises are named) observed “sexual feeling within the vagina is closely related to muscle tone, and can be improved through muscle education and resistive exercise.” The ability to clench and relax these muscles with control, including those around the pelvic floor’s orifices is critical to women’s sexual performance and fulfillment.
Healthy pelvic floor muscles are able to contract as well as relax effectively. A pelvic floor that is strong enough to be leak-free, but not so tense that sex is painful improves sexual expression and confidence.
To Kegel or to AutoKegel®, that is the Question.
Ladies and vagina-owners of all varieties, we have a choice. Either we can:
1. Do our Kegels.
Okay, but do you have the patience, discipline, and know-how? Most women don’t.
2. See a Pelvic Floor Rehab Specialist.
A great option for those who can afford the time and investment. May also involve logging your pee breaks, having probes placed on your anus, and getting “vagina homework for life.” True story.
3. Get Surgery or Drug Intervention.
Invasive much? Nasty side effects, anyone?
4. Use Yarlap® with AutoKegel®
Simple, non-invasive, and effective? Yes, please! I’ll take Door #4.
Simple, Non-Invasive & Effective: Yarlap Takes the Guesswork out of Kegels.
In as little as 20 minutes a day, 3-5 times a week, you can train your pelvic floor muscles to work correctly.
You simply insert the Yarlap® like a tampon, 2-3 times a week for 15-20 minutes, and the device does the work of re-educating your pelvic floor muscles.
Not only does it eliminate the guesswork and tedium of Kegels, but it also eliminates the risk of over-toning. It works just as well for those with weak PC muscles as it does for those with pelvic floor excess tension. There are pre-set programs for strengthening and massaging/relaxing the muscles. It works by neuro-muscle-electro-stimulation (NMES), which is a mouthful, but all it means is that the device sends a mild, gentle signal to your pelvic floor muscles.
Basically, you can just add your Yarlap® routine to your regular Netflix show routine, and within a few weeks, you’ll start to feel the benefits. I know because it worked for me! Read my whole story, here.
“I started using Yarlap® three times a week for 15-20 minutes each time…after three weeks, I was able to enjoy a whole hour of non-stop, leak-free jumping at an indoor trampoline park for my eldest son’s 10th birthday.
After years of wondering whether I’m doing them right, I’m now familiar with what a Kegel should actually feel like, so I’m able to isolate my pelvic floor muscles with more ease, too.
I still favor the Yarlap®, though, because I can literally fall asleep while it does its work. And it switches off automatically once the program is complete. It’s polite that way. Easy to clean and store, too.
And the sensation itself? Well, I was a little nervous at first…but I was pleased to discover how perfectly comfortable, even reassuring it feels. As one eloquent user explained, ‘It’s like a firm handshake in your vagina.’”
Better Sex Awaits Those with Good Pelvic Floor Tone.
“Just because it’s common, doesn’t make it normal,” is the affirmation at the heart of the Yarlap® mission.
You should not have to live with the physical discomfort, emotional distress, and sexual dissatisfaction of a less-than-healthy pelvic floor. So, don’t!
The Simplest, Safest Way to a Toned Pelvic Floor.
The Yarlap® Kegel Exercise Kit & System
1. Kegels, Done for You
6 safe, preset programs to tone your PC muscles
“I got the Yarlap after I had my son & realized that I was having some issues with peeing when I laughed or jumped. I noticed a difference very quickly, I could feel the muscles moving & realized that I had been doing Kegels incorrectly for a long time. I read the instructions and found it very simple and comfortable to use! I highly suggest it to anyone who is having pelvic floor issues." ~ Happy
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