How Pelvic Devices Can Improve Sexual Health & Reduce Pain and Incontinence
By Julie Blacker
Pelvic Health OT, MS Ed
If you are experiencing pelvic pain and/or incontinence, impacting sexual health and participation, you are not alone. When it comes to pelvic pain, sexual health, and incontinence issues, many individuals suffer in silence, unaware that effective solutions are readily available. A myriad of pelvic devices have emerged as transformative tools that can alleviate pain and tackle incontinence concerns, while also enhancing sexual well-being. Pelvic devices can improve your life, fostering a sense of empowerment, confidence, and intimacy.
Relieving Pelvic Pain
Chronic pelvic pain is a persistent challenge that affects both men and women. It can lead to discomfort, reduced mobility, and hindered quality of life. Pelvic pain often stems from tense and overactive (“too tight”) pelvic muscles.
- Vibrators: Pelvic vibrators have emerged as powerful tools in the quest for pain relief. These devices are designed to provide gentle, therapeutic massage to the pelvic area, using low-level vibration, helping to alleviate muscle tension and discomfort. The adjustable settings on these vibrators ensure a customizable and comfortable experience for users, making it easier to manage chronic pelvic pain effectively.
- Dilators: Conditions like vaginismus, dyspareunia or other diagnoses that impact pelvic floor dysfunction can cause excruciating discomfort during sexual intercourse or routine pelvic exams. Dilators are a lifeline for individuals dealing with these conditions. These graduated devices come in various sizes, enabling individuals to gradually stretch and relax their pelvic muscles. This step-by-step approach minimizes discomfort and pain, helping users regain control of their bodies and their lives.
- Wands: Pelvic wands are innovative and specialized tools designed to provide relief from pelvic pain and discomfort. These slender, ergonomic devices are often used as a therapeutic aid in pelvic floor therapy and self-care routines. They offer a non-invasive way to address various pelvic issues, including muscle tension, tender points (aka trigger points), and myofascial restrictions. By applying gentle pressure and targeted massage techniques, pelvic wands can help release tension and improve blood circulation in the pelvic area, ultimately reducing pain and promoting overall pelvic health. These versatile tools empower individuals to take an active role in managing their pelvic pain and can be an invaluable addition to a comprehensive treatment plan, often enhancing the quality of life for those experiencing discomfort in this sensitive region.
- TENS: Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) has proven to be a valuable non-invasive approach for relieving pelvic pain, particularly for individuals suffering from conditions like pelvic floor dysfunction, endometriosis, or chronic pelvic pain syndrome. TENS units deliver low-level electrical pulses through electrode pads placed on the skin’s surface, stimulating the nerves and interfering with pain signals traveling to the brain. When applied to the pelvic area, TENS can effectively reduce discomfort and provide relief by promoting the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers.
Enhancing Sexual Health
Improving continence and enhancing orgasms are two distinct, yet interconnected aspects of sexual and pelvic health. A strong and well-functioning pelvic floor plays a crucial role in both these areas. Strengthening pelvic floor muscles leads to improved urinary and fecal continence by providing better control over bladder and bowel function. Simultaneously, a toned pelvic floor can enhance sexual experiences and orgasms by increasing blood flow to the genital area, promoting heightened sensitivity, and facilitating more intense contractions during climax.
- Clitoral Stimulators: Women’s sexual health and satisfaction are intricately linked to their pelvic well-being. Clitoral stimulators are meticulously designed devices created to amplify sexual pleasure and satisfaction. Clitoral stimulators are beneficial for women experiencing dyspareunia (painful penetration), as they allow for sexual participation without inserting a device or genital internally.
- Penis Pumps: Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common issue among men that can significantly impact their self-esteem and intimate relationships. Penis pumps offer a non-invasive solution. These devices create a vacuum around the penis, drawing blood into the erectile tissues and promoting a stronger, longer-lasting erection.
- Vibrators for Men: Vibrators are increasingly recognized as versatile tools for enhancing male sexual health and well-being. These devices can stimulate erogenous zones such as the penis, scrotum, and perineum, offering a unique and intense sexual experience. Beyond pleasure, vibrators have shown potential benefits in improving erectile function, aiding in sexual performance anxiety, and even promoting overall sexual health by increasing blood flow to the genital area.
- Vibrators for Women: Vibrators play a pivotal role in women’s sexual health by offering a variety of physical and psychological benefits. These devices are designed to provide pleasurable stimulation to erogenous zones, which can lead to increased arousal, enhanced orgasms, and improved sexual satisfaction. Vibrators can be particularly beneficial for women who experience difficulties with achieving orgasm, as they can help stimulate and awaken sensitivity in the clitoral and vaginal areas. Additionally, regular use of vibrators may aid in promoting healthy blood flow to the pelvic region, improving overall vaginal health.
Pelvic devices have emerged as valuable tools in the battle against incontinence, offering a non-invasive and effective approach to improving bladder and bowel control. These innovative solutions empower individuals to take control of their continence concerns.
- Anal Plugs: Incontinence, whether fecal or urinary, can be a distressing and inconvenient condition. Anal plugs, designed to lengthen and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, offer a practical solution. They provide users with greater control over these muscles through tactile feedback with controlled relaxation and tightening of the pelvic floor. Additionally, anal plugs are beneficial for improving sexual health, as they can provide a gentle stretch of the muscles prior to engaging in penetrative activities.
- Vibratory Devices: Clitoral Stimulators and Vibrators are beneficial for improving pelvic health. While vibration stimulates the muscles and brings blood flow to the region, it is also helpful for causing orgasms. Through stimulation of the muscles and promoting orgasms, the pelvic floor is strengthened.
- Biofeedback/Kegel Trainers: Biofeedback devices provide insights into muscle performance, helping users understand their progress and refine their exercise routines. Kegel trainers, which may or may not have biofeedback technology, help to guide users through targeted pelvic muscle exercises. Through visual and/or tactile cues, they provide real-time feedback on muscle engagement, ensuring that exercises are performed correctly and effectively. Many of the devices recommended by pelvic floor therapists help people learn how to either relax the muscles (to decrease pain and improve pelvic floor coordination) or strengthen the region– both of which improve continence and sexual health.
- Pelvic Weights: Pelvic weights are another powerful tool in the arsenal against incontinence. These small weights are inserted into the vagina and are held in place by the pelvic muscles. By challenging the muscles to support the weight, pelvic weights effectively strengthen the pelvic floor, ultimately leading to better bladder control, as well as improved sexual health because the rhythmic contractions will also be stronger!
- Pelvic Floor Stimulators: Pelvic floor stimulators work by delivering targeted electrical impulses to the pelvic floor muscles, encouraging contractions and muscle strengthening. Regular use of pelvic floor stimulators as part of a comprehensive pelvic floor muscle training program can lead to regaining control over bladder and bowel function, reducing or even eliminating incontinence symptoms and ultimately improving overall quality of life. These devices are particularly beneficial for individuals who have weakened or underactive pelvic floor muscles.
Empowerment and Enhanced Quality of Life
Pelvic devices are revolutionizing healthcare by decreasing incontinence and pelvic pain, and improving sexual health. Beyond their immediate physical benefits, these tools empower individuals to take control of their pelvic health. As individuals regain their physical comfort and sexual satisfaction, they often experience a renewed sense of self-assurance and improved quality of life.
If you’ve been grappling with pelvic muscle dysfunction and it’s causing pain, discomfort, and/or incontinence, impacting your sexual participation, it’s time to explore the options available.
Pelvic Tech, a pelvic device marketplace, is now able to accept FSA and HSA payments for the tools and devices.
** Consulting with a healthcare professional can help you determine the most suitable pelvic device for your unique needs.
Julie Blacker is a Pelvic Floor Occupational Therapist and Yoga Trapeze Instructor. She works as a Clinical Specialist at Pelvic Tech, choosing the best and most effective pelvic tools and devices to help people take control of their own health and recovery. Julie is also working towards becoming an AASECT Certified Sexuality Counselor in order to help people with all abilities participate in sexual activities.