Meet the personal trainer for your pelvic floor – the PeriCoach

Nikki Parkinson Health 12 Comments

Sponsored by PeriCoach

Hands up if one of your goals for 2015 was to get your pelvic floor muscles in tip-top condition?

Yep, didn’t think so.

I don’t think it would have been one of my goals either until I heard about the PeriCoach device.

I guess the easiest way for me to describe the PeriCoach is that it’s a personal trainer for your pelvic floor. Think fitbit but something you insert and use for a couple of minutes each day.

Yes, you insert.

I thought I’d get that bit out and on the table quick smart.

The PeriCoach is a device that contains sensors that can measure the strength of your pelvic floor contractions AND connect via bluetooth to an app on your smartphone to guide you through an exercise session and keep track of improvement in those muscles.

The thing is – like all but a small percentage of extremely motivated women – I’m more than a little lax on doing my pelvic floor exercises and by lax I mean I rarely never do them.

What I was excited to learn was that just like any muscle in your body, once you start using it again it can build up again and do the job it’s supposed to.

In the case of the pelvic floor muscles, that very important job is to act like a secure hammock for all the organs in your pelvic region and to help prevent little – and big – accidents from happening.

You know what kind of accidents I’m referring to, don’t you?

Yep, the ones we rarely talk about.

The leakage that just happens when you least expect it (hello downward dog at yoga) and when you most expect it (hello trampoline bouncing).

Now, I could blame my kids for their contribution to the weakening of my pelvic floor area – and they did very much contribute to that – but there’s a couple of things you need to know.

1. You don’t have to have had kids to have a weakening in your pelvic floor muscles. It can happen just from not using them.

2. It’s never too late to do something about it. Bladder leakage does not have to be your reality.

I’m choosing to not make it mine.

No more bracing myself when I sneeze or cough. No more fear on the yoga mat. And no more just watching everyone else bounce on the trampoline.

Jump without fear - PeriCoach

The device

This video gives you a good introduction as to how it works. This is an Australian medical device – developed and manufactured in Australia – that has already attracted a lot of interest from clinicians who work with patients with weak pelvic floor muscles.

It’s been developed with support from a clinical advisory board of specialists in urogynaecology, gynaecology and pelvic physiotherapy.

There are other devices out there but none that measure direct muscle contraction of the pelvic floor.

The exercises

I already use a phone app to track and keep me motivated for my regular walks around the neighbourhood so the idea of tracking my pelvic floor exercises via an app was one that appealed.

The exercise programs on the PeriCoach smartphone app have been designed by leading pelvic floor specialists.

Your device is calibrated to your current muscle strength before you do your first exercise. The device will “read” what that is and set it as a base for your future workouts.

This means it will be able to tell – and share with you – when you’ve had improvement in strength of those muscles.

The short exercise programs involve contraction and relaxation of the pelvic floor muscles. The relaxing of these muscles as part of the exercise is as important as the contraction as it shows control.

You can start at the beginner level and work your way through. Like any exercise program, you don’t get to a point where you just get to stop. There is an “ongoing” program you can choose once you’ve seen/felt the improvement.

You have the choice of lying down or standing up to do each program.

I’ve done a combination of both. Lying down works if it’s something you want to do before you go to bed. Standing up is an easy add-on to your morning bathroom routine.

PeriCoach - the personal trainer for your pelvic floor

The habit

That’s the key, isn’t it?

Just like anything in relation to our health, there are no quick fixes.

It’s about committing to improving an aspect of our health and sticking to it (the app is, however, great for motivation as it sends you a reminder when you’ve slacked off and missed a session).

It’s a commitment just purchasing the device. They cost $298. That’s money well spent in my opinion – but only well spent if you use it!

Yes, you could do pelvic floor exercises yourself but often we either don’t or we don’t do them effectively.

If you think you’d still like the support of your GP, specialist or physiotherapist then use the Find a Clinician page on the PeriCoach website to help you locate a health professional who has tested and is recommending the device.

It’s no joke

I may laugh and joke from time to time about needing incontinence pads but the thing I’ve realised is that weak pelvic floor muscles (and light bladder leakage) is no laughing matter.

Laughing may even bring on said bladder leakage, which is just not something we should put up with.

What we should do is talk about it. What we should do is take action.

And this year I am.

Who’s with me?

The PeriCoach is $298. It’s available online or through your pelvic health specialist. Once you’ve purchased the device, you can download the smartphone app and set up your device. For more discussion about PeriCoach, head to the PeriCoach Facebook page.

Coordinated by The Remarkables Group

Comments 12

  1. Good on you Nikki ,that is one exercise that I DO do ,because after I had my hysterectomy I had a problem with incontince and saw a specialist physio,which helped to retrain my bladder though I do think having surgeries with catheters involved didn’t help.
    Thank you Nikki for bringing up this very important topic.

  2. Snaps to you Nikki Parkinson for talking about the pelvic floor! The trick is making sure you are using the right muscles in the right way. Too many of us, including fit athletes over use abdominal obliques, instead of using lower abs (transverse abdominis). Or some can switch pelvic floor on but not sustain it over time or while moving, indicating issues with muscle endurance. Just one appointment with a physiotherapist can set you on the right path and then apps and aids like PeriCoach can keep you there. As you say, it is never too late, all is fixable, if we commit and make it part of what we do. A strong, healthy pelvic floor is a measure of a strong core (glutes & abs) which is associated with good bladder control, healthy back, less falls as we age, looking good in jeans and good sex life. It’s a win win in my books : ).

  3. this is a very good reminder post nikki!
    I’m all good with that!
    probably because I always did yoga, even before my child was born and ever since! downward dog no probs! … enjoy the rest of your holidays!
    looking gorgeous there! … love m:)X

  4. I religiously did 40 pelvic floor rolls every night during my three pregnancies – sooo, the last time I did one was 24 1/2 years ago! Probably about time I started that habit again. I don’t have any issues with lbl, nor do I want any. And yes Kirsten, I too started doing the contraction exercises while sitting here reading this post. That’s so easy to do and no one even knows you’re doing it, so really you can do them anywhere. Good reminder, thanks Nikki. x

  5. It only took you talking about pelvic floor for a few sentences Nikki and I started doing my exercises whilst reading this post.

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