Kegels, Kegel Weights & a Hypertonic Pelvic Floor

By Courtney Virden

Hypertonic Pelvic Floor aka Tight Vagina and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

Maintaining optimal pelvic floor health is a vital aspect of overall well-being for women. So, any women hear Kegels are what they need to be doing, but are they the must-do exercise, especially several times a day? Are Kegel weights, Kegel balls, and vaginal weights a good thing? Should we be doing vagina-tightening exercises and wanting to learn how to tighten the vaginal walls, or is there something better?

Get ready to discover a path toward a strong, toned, and elastic PF that promotes overall health and vitality.


What Are Kegel Exercises?

Kegel exercises, named after Dr. Arnold Kegel, who popularized them in the 1940s, involve the repetitive contraction and relaxation of the pelvic floor muscles. Kegels primarily aim to strengthen these muscles, which support the bladder, uterus, and rectum. They are often recommended for women experiencing urinary incontinence, post-pregnancy recovery, and other PF-related concerns. But are there better options for natural vaginal rejuvenation and deep core and pelvic floor exercises?

Kegels focus primarily on concentric contractions. Women who already have a hypertonic pelvic floor need pelvic floor relaxation exercises and pelvic floor breathing exercises, not exercises that lead to tight pelvic floor muscles, which can lead to pelvic pain. Breathing techniques and deep breathing are essential for the vaginal muscles and those with vaginal tightness.

While some women have an entirely low-tone PF, more women tend to have a combination of high and low-tone muscles or are overly tight throughout. While many pelvic they will have a loose vagina after a baby and focus on tightening the vagina, strengthening and restoring tone and flexibility in the pelvic muscles is critical. Postpartum pelvic floor exercises and hypertonic pelvic floor exercises should focus on restoring proper length-tension throughout the muscles and fascia of the PF.


The Pitfalls of Kegels for Women

Kegels are not a one-size-fits-all solution, and for many women, they can worsen high-tone pelvic floor dysfunction or even create new symptoms. Here’s why:

  1. Emphasis on Tightness: Kegels focus heavily on muscle contraction, which can lead to over-tightening of the pelvic floor muscles. Just as excessive tension in any muscle group can cause discomfort, an overly tight pelvic floor can lead to pain, urinary issues, and sexual dysfunction.
  2. Ignoring Muscle Balance: Pelvic floor health isn’t just about strength but balance. Excessive Kegel exercises without proper relaxation can disrupt the balance between the pelvic floor muscles and surrounding muscle groups. This imbalance can result in chronic tension and pain.
  3. Lack of Individualization: Every woman’s pelvic floor is unique. Kegels fail to address individual variations in muscle tone, body structure, and existing issues. This can lead to suboptimal results, exacerbate existing problems, or create new ones.


Common Symptoms of a Tight Pelvic Floor

  1. Bladder Issues – Urinary incontinence (urine leakage), painful or frequent urination, or difficulty urinating. Remember that some of these are also symptoms of low tone in the pelvic floor. With a hypertonic pelvic floor, the muscles are tight and overactive. They can’t engage appropriately when sneezing, coughing, jumping, etc., and protect you from bladder leaks.
  2. Painful Intercourse – Pain during penetration and non-penetrative sex is often due to the pelvic floor’s inability to relax and stretch appropriately. Pain with orgasm or moments after sex (Aka dyspareunia) and pelvic floor pain are also signs of an overly tight pelvic floor.
  3. Tailbone Pain/Lower Back Pain – The pelvic floor is connected to the coccyx (tailbone), and a tight pelvic floor can cause pain, especially when sitting.
  4. Constipation, Bloating, and Difficulty Passing Stool – The pelvic floor muscles have a hard time relaxing and lengthening when they are too tight, resulting in straining and constipation.
  5. Vulvar and Urethral Pain – When the pelvic muscles are too tight, it can lead to pain and burning. Some women get recurring UTI infections.
  6. Difficulty Achieving Orgasm or Complete Inability to Orgasm – When the muscles are spasming and too tight, they are often unable to relax enough to achieve orgasm. Misalignment can also entrap nerves, leading to lower sensations and difficulty climaxing.

Hypertonic pelvic floor dysfunction is quite common, and most women who do Kegels, even if appropriate for a while, do not know the signs of overdoing Kegels. I and many others recommend focusing on more comprehensive exercises, teaching the muscles to relax and contract when appropriate. Pelvic floor exercises for vaginismus and a tight PF should focus on restoring strength and the ability to lengthen and relax. Tight is weak, not strong. The goal should be strong, toned, responsive, and elastic pelvic floor muscles, not tight.


The Benefits of a High-Functioning Pelvic Floor

  1. Improved Core Strength: A strong pelvic floor is essential for strength and stability. It is pivotal in maintaining proper posture and preventing lower back pain.
  2. Enhanced Intimacy: A balanced pelvic floor can improve sexual satisfaction and comfort. Say goodbye to discomfort during intimacy and hello to a renewed sense of confidence and stronger orgasms.
  3. Urinary Control: Unlike Kegels, which can lead to tightness and exacerbate urinary issues, the iCORE Method helps you gain better control over your bladder and bowel functioning without unnecessary tension.
  4. Reduced Pain: Many women experience pelvic pain due to muscular and fascial imbalances. Restoring proper tone and tension helps many women reduce and even eliminate their pain.


Achieve Optimal Pelvic Floor Health

Ready to transform your pelvic floor health? Train your pelvic floor with exercises that restore proper tone and tension. The 90-Day Pelvic Floor Challenge with me and Ashley Black, a leading authority in fascia and pelvic floor wellness, addresses the muscles and fascia of the pelvic floor with a supportive community and the resources and tools needed and is perfect for anyone wanting to improve their pelvic floor health. Also, the iCORE Method Restore and All Access programs are accessible and provide the workouts needed for your pelvic floor.

Here is what women should focus on to help fix pelvic floor dysfunction, improve their core strength, and discover the power of their pelvic floor.

  1. Targeted Workouts: Exercises and programs that help you achieve a balanced and functional pelvic floor are key. Strength and elasticity can be restored from the right exercises. My favorite way to train the pelvic floor is to use a stability ball, which improves deep core activation, balance, connection, and appropriate tension and responsiveness.
  2. Fascial Care: Help restore your fascia. My favorite way is by Ashley’s FasciaBlaster tools and guided tutorials on FasciaBlasting for your pelvic floor health.
  3. Maintenance: The first step is to restore the muscles and fascia, but maintaining pelvic floor health is vital, especially as we age. Pelvic floor exercises and fascial work should be done throughout your life. Sitting, stress, and many things we do daily negatively impact our pelvic floor health, so having the tools to maintain and even further improve pelvic floor health is vital to help prevent issues.

Too many women live with pelvic floor issues when, most of the time, they can be fixed at home. As women, when we take control of our health, it is empowering. Issues can go away, we become more confident, and life feels easier and more enjoyable.


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