Pelvic floor health is becoming a more common discussion than it once was. Everyone from your Pilates instructor to your massage therapist, might be telling you to “do your Kegels”, but do you even understand what that means? And do you really need to do them? What is the pelvic floor anyway? And why is it so important now?
Allison Oswald has devoted her career to pelvic health, letting women know they don’t need to live with the symptoms of poor pelvic floor health — something many women don’t even know is in their power to control. She is on a mission to help dispel myths, empower women with knowledge, and shed light on a topic that needs to become more accessible and less taboo.As a Doctor of Physical Therapy, Board Certified in Pelvic Health, Oswald has over 16 years of experience and is a go-to pro for half of the women we know here in Los Angeles. We asked her to answer a few of the most common questions on pelvic floor health issues and to review a much buzzed about home device called the Yarlap. Here’s what Allison had to tell us…
What The Heck Is The Pelvic Floor Anyway?
The pelvic floor is a sling or hammock of muscles that lie at the base of the pelvis. These muscles attach from the pubic bone to the tailbone front to back, and across the sitz bones side to side. They are a component of the deep core system along with the deep abdominals, deep back muscles and breathing diaphragm.
Together these muscles create stability in the pelvis, support the internal organs, allow control of bowel and bladder, contribute to sexual health and even lymphatic flow. They are the same muscles that contract during orgasm.
The pelvic floor is also connected with our autonomic nervous system and therefore plays a role in nervous system regulation. Energetically, at the root chakra, the pelvic floor ties in with our sense of safety, groundedness and stability.
When there is dysfunction in the pelvic floor, there could be symptoms like:
+ Incontinence, or the inability to control the bowel and bladder function.
+ Pain, such as tailbone pain, back pain, pain with intercourse or unprovoked pain.
+ Pain during sex from excess pelvic floor tension.
+ Issues with digestion such as constipation, diarrhea, hemorrhoids and IBS.
+ Pelvic floor dysfunction is also often associated with issues such as diastasis recti and even TMJ.
In light of what is called the biopsychosocial model of care, beyond biology, the emotional, mental and social state of a person can also impact the pelvic floor health and vice versa, especially as it related to the root chakra as noted above.
So, Do I Just Do Kegels?
The short answer is no. Kegels are not for everyone, but pelvic floor connection is.
Did you know that evidence supports that most women cannot do a Kegel properly with verbal cueing alone? They need some sort of internal feedback.
Learning how to contract the pelvic floor as well as how to lengthen the pelvic floor is integral. The ability to do this can impact daily function, exercise, sex and overall mind-body connection.
The female orgasm is an involuntary contraction of muscles including the pelvic floor muscles, so, yes, Kegels and the proper internal stimulation devices could result in better orgasms for some women.
Meet Yarlap: An At-Home Device That’s Practitioner-Approved
For those women with pelvic floor weakness, meaning they cannot squeeze and contract the pelvic floor up and in adequately, feedback directly to the muscles can be very helpful. For those women who are unable to see a practitioner consistently to teach them, an internal stimulation device can be an absolute game changer. Building proper muscle tone in your pelvic floor can be transformative for sexual intimate wellbeing.
The Yarlap is a discreet at home device that upports strengthening the pelvic floor muscles in only 20 minutes a day—hand’s free. The device is so gentle and comfortable that it can be used anytime, meaning that women can use the Yarlap while going about their day—while the device does the exercises for you.
Kegels while on Zoom calls or while bingeing your favorite new show? It’s definitely possible, quite easy, and more important for your health than you may think.
Dr. Kegel himself (for whom the exercises are named) noted that “sexual feeling within the vagina is closely related to muscle tone, and can be improved through muscle education and resistive exercise.”
The Yarlap device is a very useful tool as part of a rehabilitation program for the pelvic floor. A healthy pelvic floor can also help with intensity of sexual pleasure. It can improve symptoms such as urinary incontinence and prolapse, which is when the pelvic organs (bladder, uterus, bowel) begin to descend down on the pelvic floor muscles.
Are you ready to try the gentle workout you never knew you needed?
Here’s how it works: The device has an internal sensor (similarly shaped to a tampon) that goes into the vaginal canal and is attached to a small handheld device. The sensor activates the pelvic floor muscles to contract at a rate and strength that is automatically set by the machine. Again, the device is hands-free. Once comfortable with the use it can be a simple addition to any routine. I appreciate that Yarlap has a ton of online support and education for users.
Simple, Non-Invasive + Effective: Yarlap Takes the Guesswork out of Kegels
A stronger pelvic floor and the potential for better orgasms? Where do we sign up? You can try the Yarlap at home with an exclusive offer provided for Chalkboard readers: shop the site for $35 off with code TCM35.
Pelvic floor health should not only be considered when there is dysfunction, it deserves a spot in the preventive wellness space to improve overall health, awareness and early intervention if symptoms arise. Pelvic floor health is important for everyone and it’s time that women get the education they deserve on the topic. This often neglected area of our bodies impacts many daily functions and is a key to create a deeper connection with self. From pregnancy to changes in age, hormones and activity levels, it’s my mission to help more women navigate their health journey with ease and make pelvic floor health a key component in the conversation about our health.
Questions for Allison about pelvic floor health and tools like the Yarlap? Ask us in the comments! Try Yarlap for an exclusive $35 off with code TCM35.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This story is brought to you in partnership with Yarlap. From time to time, TCM editors choose to partner with brands we believe in to bring our readers special offers. All material on The Chalkboard Mag is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programs.