One of the questions I am asked most frequently by my patients is how do I know if I am doing my pelvic floor exercises correctly? Well help is at hand. The Educator has been designed by Neen and specialist women’s health physiotherapists to let you know if you are tightening the muscles in the right way.
The Educator is based on Neen’s award winning vaginal probe, the Periform. It consists of a probe that you slip inside your vagina with a thin plastic stick attached to it. When you tighten your muscles correctly, the stick moves down and when you tighten the wrong muscles (usually your tummy muscles) it moves up.
When we tighten our pelvic floor muscles, the walls of the vagina move. The Educator moves with those walls and that’s how it can show whether or not you are doing the right thing.
We know that over a half of women who simply follow instructions on how to do a pelvic floor contraction will not perform them correctly. That’s why it’s so important to have someone show you how to do them or to use a device that can tell you if are doing it the right way. The Educator lets you know this from the comfort of your own home.
Many women find that they are actually bearing down when they try to tighten their pelvic floor muscles. If this happens, the stick moves up. By practising with the Educator, you can train yourself to stop bearing down and find the correct muscles. If you bear down rather than tighten up, you will actually make your bladder problem or prolapse worse.
The Educator can also let you know if your muscles are getting stronger. To begin with, you might find that it only twitches but as you find your strength and work on those muscles, it will begin to show more movement.
What do I do if the stick doesn’t move at all?
Sometimes this happens if you don’t have the Educator in far enough or if you have it in too far. There is a little plastic circle close to the handle and this should sit at the entrance to the vagina with the rest of the Educator inside you. All you should see is the little handle and the stick.
Women’s Health Physiotherapists recommend the use of a stimulator such as the Pericalm if your muscles are so weak that the Educator won’t move at all. A physiotherapist will check your muscles and will then try a course of the Pericalm. There is nothing to stop you trying the Pericalm yourself at home but it can be useful to check with a health professional first.
By Alison Bourne MA (Cantab) BSc MCSP ACPWH