Can using Ben Wa Balls for bladder control really make a difference? Could you use them to prevent little leaks? TMI? If you are touchy about reading about girly-mama problems, this might NOT be the blogpost for you! Scrolling down will expose you to serious #girltalk
This is a touchy subject. I don't want to cross any lines here and I have not read the book 50 Shades of Grey, nor do I plan to. WARNING: If you click on any of these links you might get directed to a link talking about improving *gasp* orgasm. That is NOT what this post is about, however, it is a known side effect of working out your pelvic floor by using weights to work out your kegels, which IS what I'm talking about. That is all I will say about that!
This article is about using Ben Wa Balls as a method to improve bladder control (urinary incontinence.) You may have heard them referred to as kegel balls. Many women use them for stress incontinence and other issues pertaining to women's health.
After my 5th child was born, I read this book:
With wellness in mind, I implemented many lifestyle changes recommended in the book such as dietary and posture changes. However, she suggests that doing Kegels doesn't always work. This got me curious so I started reading more and came across several forums where the topic was discussed heavily. It seemed it was a split decision among experts for and against Kegels for prolapse. While I did not actually have a diagnosis, I was in fear that it would happen to me, after all, I had gone through five births at the time.
Ben Wa Balls for Pelvic Floor Exercises
In addition to these changes, I also started using Ben Wa Balls. Pelvic Floor Exercise Balls is what I remembered them being called at the time, back in 2006 after the birth of my toddler, yes you read that right… It was how we described our son who weighed TWELVE POUNDS. Yes, that's right! When he was born we had to exchange all the “Newborn” and “0-3 months” size clothing for sizes in the “3-6 months” category.
Without so much as a pain reliever, he was born at home, with only my brave husband and a midwife in attendance. When I asked my midwife how many stitches I was getting she looked sympathetic and said, “let's just say you had a vaginal c-section” and I remember thinking my life would never be the same again! (in case you are reading and just have little to no experience in childbirth; for vaginal childbirth to occur, the baby must be able to fit past the pelvic muscles and connective tissue, as a result some amount of stretching or tearing allows this to happen, not always, but sometimes. As with this example.
After my sixth child, I still have decent muscle and good bladder control. Not perfect because I love coffee and sparkling water and these drinks stimulate the bladder and cause a sense of urgency which can be avoided by simply not drinking them. Well, we're best friends now, cause this is super personal information right here! You're gonna have to share something about yourself now!
We can talk more in-depth in the private community – if you have any questions about using Ben Wa balls for bladder control, keep reading!
How to use Ben Wa Balls
Because the Ben Wa balls are weighted and must be held in by your vaginal wall muscles, they are great for strengthening the pelvic floor. These Ben Wa Balls are available with elastic-like silicone covering that you can squeeze on, or you can tug on the string or retrieval cord to increase difficulty. I simply use mine when I am going about my daily routines at home.
Ben Wa Balls can be used during sitting, standing, or even while lying down. It does take practice though! Doing Kegel exercises with the Ben Wa Balls daily will tighten and strengthen the vagina muscles which can lead to improved bladder control due to the strengthening of the pelvic muscles, according to women who have used them and doctors who recommend them.
Kegel exercises to strengthen the vaginal and pelvic floor muscles are a new mom's best friend. After the healing process has begun, a new mom can start lifting weights to regain the muscle she had before birth! Let's just say don't forget to do your vaginal weight lifting daily!
There are Kegel exercise balls available with adjustable weights (what I have) that allow the added advantage of increasing strength over time with increasingly difficult exercises, much like you would expect to do with any other muscle in the body. It takes some practice but there are numerous benefits such as improved bladder control and pelvic health, and yes, improved sex life. They are actually recommended by some Physicians who know about them, and also many midwives and doulas as excellent preparation for and recovery after childbirth! Give it a try!
Variety of Ben Wa Balls
Clearly, you'll want to choose the best Kegel balls you can find, but if you're starting out and not sure you want to go all in you may want a less expensive exercise kit. Then later you can upgrade your kegel exercise weights for something fancier.
These are jade and I thought they were really awesome, so I just wanted to show you. Even though newer websites say these are a couple of hundred years old, they actually go way back in the history of China, although they were possibly made from ivory or jade and more egg-shaped. I did read one novel about an Empress of China using them.
WARNING: if you google this topic you are likely to see a lot of talk about sex. Again, that is not the purpose for which I am writing this post, or why I purchased mine. When I did read about it years later in this book I knew immediately what the author was talking about though! Japanese women are said to use a similar item as well.
These are more like what I use, which are available from a website that I will not link here due to the other items sold on that website. Feel free to contact me privately for the link to the website where these are currently sold. (not an affiliate link, just due to the nature of certain websites, I prefer not to have the link published on my site) Unlike the ones pictured above, mine do not have this silicone tail for removal, mine has a string.
Mine is more similar to the ones in the graphic below this paragraph. When I purchased mine they were available from Amazon, but because I have had mine for quite a while things have changed and they no longer carry these. They come with two sets of balls in different weights and colors, attached to a silk string for easy removal, one without a string. Included is a silicone sleeve if you decide to use two at a time, like a barbell for the downstairs! These are called duotone (like the ones pictured below).
I have used mine for a long time and they are still in great shape! A similar weighted pair might be available, so do your research, with caution; as going to these websites you may run across Ben Wa ball instructions for improved sexual relations. If you are touchy about that subject, proceed with caution in your research!
Other recommendations to support good pelvic floor muscles:
- Keep at the appropriate BMI as weight-loss can lessen pelvic floor strain and improve symptoms.
- Avoiding food and beverages that irritate the bladder, such as caffeinated drinks and sparkling water!
- Add lots of fiber-rich foods to your diet to avoid constipation.
- Drinking raspberry leaf, comfrey, and especially horsetail can contribute to the rebuilding of connective tissue.
- Good chiropractic care can actually improve symptoms of pelvic prolapse.
To Keep In Mind
- It's never too late to get started
- Using this technique takes time to get used to
- Don't be afraid they will get stuck, because technically speaking, there's no place for them to go.
- To remove, simply stand up and cough, bear down, use lubricant, or jump up and down. If you are concerned, get the ones with a string.
- The benefits are seen over time, as with other forms of exercise. Consistent, proper use will provide results with TIME.
- Carefully follow the manufacturer's instructions for washing. Especially if you purchase the silicone variety, as some soaps can damage the material. I would recommend using a toxic-free cleanser.
On a side note, concerning childbirth and pregnancy. One great product for healing fissures and hemorrhoids after childbirth is a product called FissureHeal by Imix.
Hopefully, this post can offer help to some moms who just don't know where to turn. It is a real problem, and I tried to handle it lightly, but it is truly something that a lot of moms suffer silently through and never speak to their health care provider.
I am not a doctor, I'm just a mom with a bit of experience. This is what worked for me. Many Ob-Gyn do recommend this technique but check with your doctor first to make sure it is right for you! As with anything you put in your body, make sure to take proper care and cleaning of your Ben Wa Weights to prevent infection, a rare but possible risk. Again, always check with your own doctor before implementing any new health measures.