By Jandra Meuller
Here at PHRC we regularly discover all sorts of new and cool products that are available for people’s pelvic health needs. I am amazed at some of the products available and that are being developed and am so thankful there are people that are creating these products because they are SOOO helpful!
Pelvic health physical therapists treat a multitude of conditions that can include, but are not limited to, urinary dysfunction, sexual dysfunction, bowel issues (aka pooping), as well as pelvic pain. Pelvic floor dysfunction is not a gender-specific disorder and can affect all people at different phases of their lives.
Over the next two weeks we will share a few of our favorite products we like to use for these various conditions and why we like them!
Products for Urinary Dysfunction
Urinary incontinence (leaking pee when you have an urge, cough or sneeze), dysuria, or pain with urination, or even just difficulty going pee are very common symptoms that we treat here at PHRC. Going camping or just don’t want to go in those nasty toilets? There are devices that can help that! Also, for more information on the importance of not hovering over the toilet please read our blog “Sit yo’ a$$ down! The importance of sitting on the toilet”.
GoGirl – This device is used for women so that we may be able to avoid those dirty porta-potties or less than ideal public bathrooms and not have to strain our pelvic floors by trying to gracefully balance ourselves over the seat of a toilet and strain our pelvic floor. These devices are available through Amazon, Target, Walmart, etc.
Poise Impressa – I love these! These look similar to tampons but they are for a different purpose, bladder leakage, and can help with some prolapse symptoms. Whether you are postpartum, an athlete, or you’ve suddenly noticed your panties have become wet (and not in the good way). There are devices known as pessaries that you need to be fitted for by a medical doctor or qualified nurse that are reusable. Poise impressa offers an alternative to this and are available over the counter so women can buy them and see if they are right for them. They are inserted into the vagina similarly to a tampon and provide support to the tissues that support our pelvic organs. These tissues can become lax after pregnancy and as a result of age-related changes and the hormonal insufficiencies of menopause. If women are using a bladder support or a pessary, they should ALSO be in pelvic floor physical therapy. These devices should be used as an aide to rehab to optimize the function of their pelvic floor muscles, not the solution.
Elvie Pelvic Floor Trainer – So, Kegels. Well, this device is pretty handy when you ACTUALLY do need to do Kegels, because yes, your pelvic floor should move – contract, relax and bulge. Studies show that given verbal instruction alone women cannot properly do a kegel. We advise seeing a pelvic floor physical therapist to assess if you need to do kegels and how to do them properly. Read Katie Hunter’s blog on movements of the pelvic floor for more details on these movements we need to do to maintain the normal functions of our body. We like the Elvie because out of all the “kegel” tools, it is a bit more accurate and interactive. It will tell you if you are doing what you are supposed to be doing, eliminating the mystery of if you are doing the exercise correctly or not. You can link it to your smart phone and based on your strength, it will create a program for you to help strengthen. It is definitely one of the more “fun ways” to do these exercises.
Products for Bowel Dysfunction
Squatty Potty – It is old news that american toilet seats are not optimal heights to allow the needed pelvic floor relaxation for stool evacuation. The squatty potty is a stool that fits around your toilet. When you prop your feet up on it the squatty potty puts your pelvic floor in the optimal position to do your business and limits the unwanted pushing and straining that some experience. EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE ONE! They also come in travel folding ones as well as fancy bamboo!
Natural Calm – To go with your squatty potty, if you’re one that tends to have a harder time going to the bathroom or harder stools, this is a great, natural remedy you can use at night. Magnesium is a micronutrient that honestly, many people are lacking in their diet. It is used to relax smooth muscles (like your anal sphincter), helps you sleep, and also helps your regulate your bowels. The type of magnesium in this is magnesium citrate.
Femmeze Vaginal Trainer – This product was designed for women that suffer from prolapse, specifically a rectocele (where the rectum protrudes into the back wall of the vagina), and causes women to have a difficult time using the bathroom or requires them to use their fingers to help evacuate stool. This device inserts in and puts pressure to help realign the anatomy to make pooping much easier!
The products listed next can be used for general pelvic health throughout and/or after your treatment and are more focused on pain relief!
Intimate Rose Pelvic Wand – Many patients ask us, “so how can I do this on my own?” Well, the pelvic wands offer just that. With the S-shape meant to help with your ergonomics of gripping, this slides right in and allows you to access the muscles of your pelvic floor. With the tapered end, it’s great for trigger point release. They also offer a wand with a vibrating feature as well.
Theraseat – This foam cushion is meant for those that suffer with pain while sitting down. They offer a variety of options for cut outs, as well as a DIY cutout for those that can’t quite find the exact right fit. They can be used in the car, at home, work, or restaurants and have a nice handle so it’s easy to carry around!
IntelliRoll – Courtney from PHRC – LA recently did an entire blog article with video instruction on how to use it for pelvic pain relief! You can check it out here. Why is this one so special? Courtney states: “My personal favorite and recommendation to every patient is the IntelliRoll because of a groove built for the spine and curves on each end that contour around the body. The grooves improve the comfort of foam rolling and allow great access to tissues around the spine and tailbone – a HUGE bonus for our pelvic pain patients.”
She also taught all of us about it in one of our inservices and you can watch it here.
The Stick Roller – a good follow-up to the product above. The stick roller is handheld and is a little better when needing to get to some awkward body parts, like your inner thigh at the very top of your leg! Sometimes we have to get in weird positions to get those spots on the foam roller so this makes it a little easier, it also allows you to control the pressure a bit more for those extra sensitive spots.
Serola Belt – This belt is used for those who have sacroiliac joint laxity, this is especially common in pregnancy and in our postpartum population. It is used to compress the two joints together in the back to provide extra stability. You can adjust each side individually to provide a more individual fit.
If you have ever been a patient here at PHRC or visited our office, you may recognize these products because we really do use them all the time! If you have feedback about these products we’d also love to hear so feel free to comment below and share some of your favorites! Next week we will get into dilators, lubricants, and other things to help with pelvic pain so stay tuned!