Thursday, February 23, 2017

How to avoid adult diapers: a kegel journey

I remember the first time it happened to me. I was about 6 weeks post-partum taking a bootcamp class at the training center where I currently teach. I went to the instructor’s class who was subbing for me while I was on maternity leave in hopes of supporting her and getting my body back. Somewhere in the middle of burpees and jump roping it happened, although I remember not being completely aware. At the end of class I was horrified and glad I was wearing black pants and couldn’t get out of the gym fast enough.

Yes friends, I had peed my pants.

Let’s be clear, I’m not someone who pee’s my pants. Before I was pregnant I could count on my hands the number of times it had happened and most of those incidents were before the age of 8. My doula use to text me when I was pregnant reminding me to do my kegels, which I thought was more to be funny than anything else. I wasn’t even sure what a kegel was, let alone how to do one to be honest. What I experienced in the gym that night I wrote off as a fluke, something that would get better over time.

Only it didn’t.

I didn’t really recognize I had a problem until I found myself wandering the aisle of Walgreen’s one day looking at the “Bladder Control” products. Let me tell you, that’s a lonely aisle to find yourself stranded on. My only options, it appeared, were glorified maxi-pads and oddly shaped tampons unless you count the full on adult diapers. These might be an OK alternative for some, but not for myself who teaches 4 hours of spin classes a week. Let’s just say I tried it all and none of it stayed in place, provided adequate protection or helped the situation. My doctor suggested wearing a pad or surgery as options.
Fabulous. I had one kid and suddenly I’m doomed to pee my pants the rest of my life unless I want painful surgery or embarrassing products.

Then I met Rebecca.

Rebecca came on my yoga retreat in Tulum and the first thing I noticed about her, besides her amazing red hair was her necklace. When I complimented her on the silver bullet looking object hanging around her neck she told me it was a vibrator. This is how I was introduced to her company, Vibrant ( and all the products they had to offer. She invited me to the warehouse upon our return from the retreat and I accepted this offer with a mix of curiosity and excitement.

Rebecca and her colleagues at Vibrant make you feel so comfortable talking to them that it’s almost like therapy. Within minutes you’re confessing your most intimate secrets in hopes that maybe they have a product that can help. She told me about their variety of kegel strengtheners and offered me two choices: the standard silicone balls or the kGoal. Anyone that knows me knows my phone is pretty much glued to my hand 24/7 so the idea of a new age device that came with Bluetooth and an app was most appealing. Plus, I still wasn’t sure what a kegel was or why I needed to strengthen them. But I was promised I might not pee my pants and better orgasms so it was worth a shot right?

So began my love affair with the kGoal.

The kGoal by Minna is a small blue half-deflated balloon shaped exerciser designed to give one bio-feedback on how your internal muscles are functioning. There’s an app with games, yes I said games, which you download on your phone and sync with reminders on how often you’d like to “work-out.” My
personal favorite is shape shifter, which is a five minute workout where you use your pelvic floor muscles to open up gates to fit shapes through. The app keeps track of your progress and lets you know how you’re doing from one day to the next. How do you know you’re doing it right you ask? It vibrates when you squeeze and stops when you don’t. Having a husband who finds it sexy and encourages you to use the product is an added bonus.

So what was the result? After a month of using the kGoal I feel not only more in touch with myself, but have also noticed more control over my pelvic floor when teaching. The worst part about teaching a cycle class is that, not only are you riding the bike, you’re yelling instructions at the students which means everything down below relaxes. Using the kGoal twice a week has strengthened my pelvic floor as well as my confidence. Using the games, getting text reminders and the bio-feedback from the kGoal has contributed to the success of the product because now I know I’m actually doing my kegels right. I liken it to trying to teach yourself yoga versus going to an instructor and actually having someone show you the correct form.

After I had my baby my focus was on the outside of my body and how it looked. I wasted several years and a lot of time by not bringing focus to the internal parts of my body as well. Will my pelvic floor ever be back to where it was pre-baby? Let’s just say I’m not going out to buy a trampoline anytime soon, but I feel myself getting stronger by the day. My hope is that other women out there realize they aren’t alone in this journey and there is a better alternative than the dreaded bladder control aisle at Walgreen’s. You don’t have to be embarrassed or wear black pants at the gym forever, trust me.

There’s help and there’s hope and it starts with a kegel strengthener!

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