A revolutionary way to heal your pelvic floor
What’s the best thing you can do if you have pelvic floor symptoms such as incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, or pain with intercourse? See a women’s health pelvic floor physical therapist (PT), of course! I may be biased, but I’d be amiss if I didn’t give a shout-out to all of my fellow PTs, especially during National Physical Therapy Month!
However, if seeing a pelvic floor PT isn’t feasible for you, whether that be your location, time, money, or COVID, what could be the next best thing? Perhaps, the Perifit.
Disclosure: Perifit asked me to do a review of their product. All opinions are my own.
According to their website:
The Perifit is a Kegel exerciser that lets you control videos games with your pelvic floor. Our Perifit exercises are a series of fun smartphone games that you play by utilizing your pelvic floor muscles. When you contract your pelvic floor, the bird goes up. When you relax it, the bird goes down. These games were designed by doctors to help properly strengthen the pelvic floor.
The Perifit device is only 26mm wide. It is designed to comfortably fit all body types and accurately measure your lift strength.
The Perifit app gently guides you through your initial training. It provides a clear and simple explanation for every exercise, and lots of advice for a perfect workout, every time.
The Perifit app asks you questions and tests your skills to individualize your program. It claims to address all of the following listed below, and I believe it has the capability to do so.
Reasons the Perifit is appealing to me as a mom:
- It’s convenient. It allows us to perform our exercises with feedback in the comfort of our home while our children nap or after they go to bed at night.
- It helps us keep focus. So many things are on our minds at all times as moms, and it’s easy to get distracted when doing the standard, yet arguably boring, “squeeze and relax” exercises often prescribed.
- It is challenging. It’s easy to fall into the trap of laziness, especially with the typically prescribed pelvic floor home exercise program. That “elevator” exercise your therapist recommended becomes a whole lot more real when there are bombs coming at you and fish to be eaten as you play shark attack on the Perifit.
Reasons the Perifit is appealing to me as a physical therapist:
- It doesn’t let you cheat. It prevents compensatory strategies for the most part. Although not as ideal as a pelvic health therapist manually assessing your pelvic floor contraction, the Perifit does a nice job of sensing isolated pelvic floor muscle contractions. It’s often easy to “cheat” and squeeze your glutes when attempting pelvic floor contractions. However, the little butterfly on the app won’t fly as high if you use this strategy.
- It accounts for bearing down. Because it is physically inserted inside of you, it could also fall out. Often times I see a disorganized activation pattern in such that a momma will bear down if trying to have a bowel movement when attempting to contract the pelvic floor. This is the exact opposite of what needs to happen to strengthen the pelvic floor. Electronic sensors used in order to provide biofeedback simply detect electrical activity. Therefore, whether the muscles are contracting by pulling up and in (as we want them to) or producing pressure by bearing down (not preferred), a signal will be made that could be mistaken for doing it “right”. If you do this with the Perifit though, it will get pushed out of your body. It makes it very obvious if you’re contracting in the wrong direction.
- It allows you to work towards function. Although, lying on your back is the recommended place to start, it works in side-lying, kneeling, on hands and knees or even standing. For example: the traditional clamshell exercise for synergistic glute activation for running or squats to work on preventing stress incontinence from happening when you go from sit to stand are practical with the Perifit. This allows you to make the exercises you’re doing for your pelvic floor muscles more functional by bringing meaning to them. (Sitting is not going to work so well for obvious reasons so I don’t recommend that.)
- It promotes good muscle health. By stressing the importance of relaxing the pelvic floor muscles during the games just as much as contracting them, you are learning proper neuromuscular activation patterns.
Reasons the Perifit is appealing to me personally:
- It’s good for my core too. It helps me contract my deep abdominal muscles better. After each of my three C-sections, it’s taken me awhile to relearn how to contract my transversus abdominis muscle. I can feel this muscle working as I perform my pelvic floor exercises. The better my pelvic floor contraction (according to the app), the stronger I feel my abs working. It makes sense because of the fascial connections these muscle groups share. Without having a direct biofeedback device specific for my abs, this is the next best thing.
- It will make me a better runner. Since running is a single leg stance sport, I tried using the Perifit in standing while on one leg. I found that when doing the kegel exercises with the Perifit in this position, it was significantly harder when balancing on my right leg than my left. Prone to overuse injuries on my right side, I’m certain this is related.
Reasons the Perfit might not be right for you:
- You’ve been diagnosed with vaginismus.
- You have pain with penetration (tampons, intercourse, etc).
- You have a history of sexual trauma or abuse.
- You are a strong breath holder when you exercise. (This can be relearned though so don’t throw out the idea for this reason alone. Just be aware that you will need to change your breathing pattern to make the Perifit work for you. Refer to “ A Better Way to Breathe and The Right Way to Kegel”.
In summary, if you aren’t able to see a women’s health pelvic floor physical therapist in person or would like to supplement what you’re doing there with something you can do at home, I’d recommend considering the Perifit.
On that note, Happy Kegeling!