Lucie Loves... Health & Wellbeing // Why it's important to talk about our nether regions – part 1: future-proofing my pelvic floor muscles with the Kegel8 Ultra 20 electronic toner [review]

Lady Garden. Nunny. Flower. Pussy. Tuppence. Flu. Foof. Fairy. Minge. Vagina. Va-jay-jay. Punani. Whatever you call it, make sure you can talk about it. Sometimes not having the right words or the courage to speak up, when something doesn’t feel quite right, can have much bigger consequences than you ever imagined.

 Test-driving the Kegel8 Ultra 20 electronic pelvic toner at home

Test-driving the Kegel8 Ultra 20 electronic pelvic toner at home

It’s been almost 9 and a half years since I started blogging. To be fair, the topics I chose to cover at the very beginning were quite lightweight and inoffensive, in comparison to some of the things I’ve touched upon in the last three years: my decision to go freelance, falling in love, heartache, divorce and choosing to leaving a relationship with someone you’re still very much in love with.

I still enjoy all aspects of the work I get to cover on the blog – food and drinks, health & wellbeing, fitness, travel, art, beauty, fashion, cars, etc. No matter how fluffy or irreverent the topic might be, and I feel ever so grateful for the opportunities that continue to come to the Lucie Loves Team.

However, what I have found is that it’s when I feel most uncomfortable, when writing or sharing something that is deeply personal to me, THAT is when things seem to really resonate with people and become something almost cathartic for me too.

In this post I want to talk about something rather intimate, but incredibly important to me: sexual health and wellbeing.

I know that many people may feel uncomfortable with these topics. However, if I can share just a few things that enlighten, educate, inspire or amuse one or two people, then that will mean a lot to me and link back to the whole purpose of why I choose to blog in the first place: to connect with what really matters, inspire and delight people, occasionally and *hopefully* make a little difference along the way.

 Earlier this year I was contacted by a PR friend of mine Hannah with regards to a company called Kegel 8 (one of a many now championing the need for women to re-think their pelvic floor health in a more proactive manner.) We get many interesting (and some not so interesting) emails, press releases and product review invitations with this blog, so why did I decide to give this one a try?

 Visiting my mum in hospital at UCLH, shortly after her second mesh removal operation

Visiting my mum in hospital at UCLH, shortly after her second mesh removal operation

Well, it all started with my mum and her own horrendous journey with mesh removal. This year she has undergone not one but two complicated mesh removal procedures – read about her mesh experience.

My mum is one of thousands of mesh-damaged women who were given mesh implants to cure stress incontinence (also known as urinary incontinence) caused by giving birth to three children in 5-years and then having a hysterectomy, which left nothing to support her bladder – a risk she wasn’t made aware of before having the operation.

When Kegel 8 offered me the chance to review one of their Kegel 8 Ultra 20 Electronic Pelvic Toners*, I thought it was a great opportunity to have three generations of my family to trial it. Me (33), my mum (52) and my Nan (70). *gifted for the purpose of this review.

I’d heard a lot about the importance of doing pelvic floor exercises – particularly whenever I’ve attended a Pilates class… But I wasn’t ever sure if I was doing it right? Anyway, that’s why having something purpose-built like the Kegel8 Ultra 20 comes in handy. Take a peek at the Kegel 8 blog to read how to do Kegel exercises.

It comes in a discreet little purple case, and has a small probe device and also some electronic pads, that you attach to the device using the wires provided. You then, if using the probe, add a little bit of lubrication to the gold elements, and then pop it inside of you – having selected the exercise programme you want to work its magic on your pelvic floor muscles.

 If you can find 20-60 minutes to exercise your pelvic floor muscles each day – or even just a few times a week – you’ll notice the difference in no time! I prefer to use it lying down or seated.

If you can find 20-60 minutes to exercise your pelvic floor muscles each day – or even just a few times a week – you’ll notice the difference in no time! I prefer to use it lying down or seated.

My mum is now more clued up than ever on the importance of having strong pelvic floor muscles and following her recovery from the second mesh removal operation, after waiting a few months, she was able to speak to the Kegel8 team and get advice on how best to use the pelvic toner to aid her recovery. She told me how in France, women are prescribed 20 sessions of pelvic floor physiotherapy – something that was unheard of in the UK when my mum had us kids in the 80s/90s.

It’s also worth noting that it isn’t just women who can benefit from pelvic floor toners. Men can also exercise their prostate, which can benefit them in a number of ways. From increasing prostate health, helping with incontinence and even erection difficulties and impotence. There’s a few non-pink Men’s pelvic floor toners online here.

 It’s easier to use the device if you’re wearing something with a waistband, to clip the device onto. However, if you’re not going anywhere, you can hold it in your hand or place it beside you.

It’s easier to use the device if you’re wearing something with a waistband, to clip the device onto. However, if you’re not going anywhere, you can hold it in your hand or place it beside you.

Please note: It’s not advisable to use Kegel8 if you are pregnant, currently undergoing cancer treatment or are fitted with a cardiac pacemaker.

I have found the Kegel8 Ultra 20 electronic pelvic toner extremely easy to use. It does come with a rather comprehensive Operator’s Manual, if you’re interested in reading more about each of the 20 programmes available. However, I found the quick start guide just as useful. It eases you in with a couple of First Timer programmes, to test your sensitivity, and then has 18 further programmes – ranging from 9-minutes to 60 minutes in total.

 The hardest thing about using this product is actually remembering to use it! I think I need to set an alarm to remind myself each day to do my exercises. First thing in the morning or just before bed perhaps…

The hardest thing about using this product is actually remembering to use it! I think I need to set an alarm to remind myself each day to do my exercises. First thing in the morning or just before bed perhaps…

 The Kegel8 Ultra 20 takes the confusion out of knowing whether you’re actually doing it right, when it comes to exercising your pelvic floor muscles.

The Kegel8 Ultra 20 takes the confusion out of knowing whether you’re actually doing it right, when it comes to exercising your pelvic floor muscles.

After completing the first couple of first-timer exercises, I moved on to PO6 Sensation Improvement, PO7 Pelvic Floor Endurance and PO8 Pelvic Floor Sensitivity. For me, having not given birth to any children yet, I do not yet suffer from a weak bladder. But I felt like having seen the pain and torment that my mum has gone through with mesh, it made sense to start future-proofing my pelvic floor muscles for a number of reasons.

However, in a purely selfish way, a strong pelvic floor can also benefit your sex life in a MASSIVE way too. According to an article I found on Glamour, strengthening your pelvic floor muscles can lead to “better sex and more intense orgasms” – now there’s nowt shabby about that, eh? It’s said that just a few weeks if exercising the pubococcygeus “PC” muscles will make a difference. I guess this is quite an “out there” thing to add to your 2018 Christmas list… but I swear, you’ll thank me… or your partner will, anyway! ;-)

Another few reasons why it’s important to do your kegels is that having orgasms is really beneficial for those of you who are battling menopause. Did you know that World Menopause Day was on Thursday October 18th? Kegel8 launched a new campaign aimed at the 13 million women in the UK who are in or around their menopause. Their #PositivePause campaign has been designed to empower women to access in-depth, credible menopause management resources online via Hot Flush and Pelvic Roar. So get reading and get kegeling, quick!

One of the most unexpectedly beneficial uses of the Kegel8 Ultra 20 pelvic toner has been the pain relief element. For as long as Ive known, I’ve suffered from really really bad period pains. They are so painful that I’ve lost count of the number of days that have been written off each month, whilst growing up. I have a well-rehearsed routine of waking up with cramps in the middle of the night, dosing myself up on painkillers, cuddling a hot water bottle to my screaming womb, taking multiple, scalding hot baths, and trying to sleep it off.

 Finally, a pain-killer free pain relief for period cramps! Thank you, Kegel8.

Finally, a pain-killer free pain relief for period cramps! Thank you, Kegel8.

The beauty of the Ultra 20 device is that it comes with these handy Kegel8 electrode pads. When my period cramps started to kick in, I’d position them on my lower abdomen and switch to the P18 (Chronic Pain Relief) setting, and let it work it’s magic. The relief was almost instantaneous – enough to get me by, whilst my painkillers were taking effect. If, like me, you really suffer from the curse of being a woman once a month… I implore you to give this form of pain relief a go!

Thank you once again to the Kegel8 team for providing us with our Kegel8 Ultra 20 devices for this review. If you' have any questions, please feel free to drop me a comment below.

Here’s to smiley faces, stronger pelvic floors and more orgasms all round! :-)

Lucie x

Read more about Mesh complications and the removal process

Find out which Kegel8 is right for you at kegel8.co.uk

You can also call the Kegel8 team on 01482 496 932 or even Live Chat or  Email 8.00am - 6.00pm GMT, Monday to Friday, 9.00am - 5.00pm GMT, Saturday for advice and assistance. They are super helpful!