24 Jun Popular Pelvic Health Products: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
Celebrity endorsements often cause waves of popularity for different products on the market. Not even the realm of pelvic health is exempt from fads that pique peoples’ curiosity and direct them to using products that are unhelpful, or worse, possibly harmful. Here are a few pelvic health products that have gone onto the market in recent years. While professional opinions are always useful, you be the judge on whether these are good, bad, or just plain ugly.
- Squatty Potty: Originally shown on Shark Tank, the squatty potty (or the squattypottymus for kids), is a simple, white plastic footstool that tucks under the toilet and is designed to, well, help people poop more easily! When using the squatty potty, it promotes improved toilet posture in order to help the pelvic floor muscles relax during defecation. Helping the pelvic floor muscles relax during a bowel movement helps reduce the chances of over-straining, as over-straining leads to other complications in bowel/bladder functioning and pelvic health. Folks who combine optimal bowel/bladder health strategies (ie, drinking water, having appropriate fiber intake, and get the proper levels of sleep and exercise) successfully reduce their constipation levels with the use of the squatty potty.
- The Kegel Throne, also called BTL Esmella (can be found in some medical clinics): According to their website, the BTL Emsella is “intended to provide non-invasive electromagnetic stimulation of pelvic floor musculature for the purpose of rehabilitation of weak pelvic muscles and restoration of neuromuscular control for the treatment of male and female urinary incontinence.” Their claim is essentially physical therapy without the work involved, as the Esmella causes electrical stimulation to the pelvic floor muscles to contract thousands of contractions per session requiring the patient to simply sit there on the throne! While there are several issues with this, it is worth mentioning that electrical stimulation for muscle strengthening originated several decades ago and has been shown to have very limited functional use for long term muscle strengthening. As it turns out, actual muscle work, such as directed physical therapy exercises, is the best way to gain strength, endurance, and motor control within muscle groups. Let the client do the work (not the machine!).
- Vaginal Steaming (V-Steam): This controversial detox method (as previously found on Gwyneth Paltrow’s health site, Goop) is intended to “steam clean” the vagina using the steam from boiling water combined with a variety of seemingly healthy ingredients, such as rosemary, rose petals, and oregano to name a few. However, as far as science goes, there is no (as in, ZERO) research nor clinical anecdotal evidence to support this method of “cleansing.” Not to mention, this technique poses a risk of burns (Imagine: boiling water/steam precariously positioned directly underneath your undercarriage. Doesn’t sound like a good idea…). The vaginal canal is intended to be a low oxygen environment and has a specific vaginal ecosystem that when disrupted, can cause issues. While V-Steaming has been endorsed by a celebrity, this technique is NOT endorsed by any OB/GYN physicians nor any pelvic health practitioners for that matter. This product was most notably called into question by Dr. Jennifer Gunter, OB/GYN and Pain Medicine Physician on the Netflix series “A User’s Guide to Cheating Death”.