October 15, 2009

Kegels

I have some MALE FRIENDS AND FAMILY who read this blog, so I like to be very careful to let everyone know what they're getting into if I'm about to write about something Personal. So be warned: This post contains discussions of Kegels, which are exercises for the girly-bits. And that is ALL this post contains, so you are safe to bail.

Last chance to leave the room before I start using various v-words.


At my last GYN appointment there was a pop quiz on Kegels. I failed. My grade didn't surprise me any more than failing grade on a physics pop quiz would have surprised me, because Kegels are not in my repertoire of party tricks.

I'll bet our female ancestors were NEVER ONCE asked to exercise their pelvic floors. They may have had to deal with famine, log cabins and mud huts, crop failure, polio, assorted pestilences, but they were never asked to find a muscle by "stopping the flow of urine." I have tried this, and it was unhelpful.

But now I am the owner of an actual pamphlet telling me I must do Kegels or else rue it later. The pamphlet takes a threatening tone with me, and I resent it. It shows me a drawing of a woman awkwardly carrying a large bag of groceries as she frantically pushes open the door of a public bathroom. THIS COULD BE YOU, the pamphlet implies. Wait, she has already checked out? This scenario would make more sense to me if she had a cart.

Then the pamphlet feels it has bullied me enough, and it takes a mollifying, patronizing tone. "Kegel exercises don't require special clothing or equipment," it reassures me, but I hadn't been worrying about that. What kind of "special clothing" could there possibly be---let alone equipment? The pamphlet goes on to tell me that "no one can tell you're doing them, so they can be done almost anywhere." Oh, I am so sure.

But here is the final straw: after assuring me that Kegels don't require special equipment, the pamphlet says: "Eventually, special weights that you place in your vagina may be recommended to help make your Kegels even more effective." I would rather--FAR rather--pee my pants while carrying a bag of groceries.

65 comments:

DCMomma said...

Love this post, and the weights thing is scary!
LOL

Nellyru said...

Besides that, if your pelvic floor is damaged, those things DO NOT HELP. I KNOW THAT THEY DO NOT.

Jewels said...

Special clothing? Like gym shorts for one's vagina? Well, I guess that would be just like *regular* gym shorts....

Anonymous said...

This post is appalling. Kegels are amazing and wonderful. No wonder you've got issues.

Enniferjay said...

Wow, anonymous might have some issues herself! Kegels aren't really my cup of tea, although I'm sure they'd be good for me. I prefer bagels.

Jess said...

Wait, can you reproduce the pop quiz that you failed, so that I can see if I would also have failed?

Michele said...

Kegels are great! (And I don't think less of ANY woman who doesn't agree.) The 'weights' aren't as scary as they may sound in the pamphlet either. Ben Wa balls are heavier than they look, but they're pretty small and look nothing like gym weights.

Alexa said...

I'M DOING THEM RIGHT NOW.

Kidding! (OR AM I?)

I remember seeing those weights in some sort of natural health/yoga catalog when I was young and asking my mother what they were. She told me, and I resolved never, ever to have children (I have since revised that position). Also, I took Biology of Women in college, and we learned that the whole female...system can just FALL OUT. The whole class went around doing fearful kegels for WEEKS.

nikki said...

I now have the sudden urge to make a t-shirt that says "Don't look, I'm doing my kegels"

AndreAnna said...

Oh. My. Dog.

That is all. Carry on.

C (Kid Things) said...

Special weights? How big are these weights?

The woman holding the bag of groceries, frantically searching for a bathroom, THAT IS ME.

Fran said...

LMAO! How exactly was this pop quiz administered? Kinda scary to think of. And I love how the snarky comments are always by anonymous. If you want to be a bitch you should at least own it! WTF??
Swistle, as usual, you have nailed it...:)

Aimee @ Smiling Mama said...

Too funny! I'm actually convinced that doing kegals in my first pregnancy is what made my pushing so quick/effective. I keep making a mental note to do some this time around and keep forgetting...maybe I need a pamphlet, too! Ha ha!

Linda said...

NEED POP QUIZ DETAILS IMMEDIATELY, PLZ.

Nowheymama said...

Alexa and nikki just made giggle out loud. Luckily, I didn't pee my pants.

Scarlett said...

I want nikki's shirt! You know, my doctors haven't said a word about these (first pregnancy). I wouldn't know they exist if they weren't mentioned on mommy-blogs and the various bits of googling I've done.

Jen said...

Oh my. That pamphlet is going about it entirely the wrong way.

I will say that I did kegels nearly every day while pumping because I was having issues (which turned out to need something more than just kegels) but they did help.

But weights? Even vaginas need weights now? Seriously absurd. To each their own. I guess.

Elizabeth said...

I'll be sending you the psych ward bill - the image of VAGINA weights will never leave my mind.

Elizabeth said...

Also, I'm super curious - do your male readers really stop reading when they see these warnings? Because NOTHING makes me want to read something more than being told I might not want to. We need to take a poll, obvs.

Di said...

Five weeks post baby #2 and the Husband and I had a legitimate conversation about kegels last night.

Then as I was walking home from nursery school pickup today, I sneezed twice in a row, and I think I failed that pop quiz of yours...

MYSUESTORIES said...

Do you need a spotter for your vagina while lifting these weights? And what of the poor unsuspecting penis who gets pulverized during sex with those major muscles you're building? Waaaaaah....I want my mommy!

Laura said...

Honestly, if men were wise they'd be doing kegels too: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1194814/mens_sex_health_the_benefits_of_kegel.html

Just something for your male followers who've gotten through your post and this far through the comments -- that would show real dedication :)

The Gori Wife said...

I lol'd at "appalling." How can a post that contains the words famine, polio, crop failure and pestilence inspire someone to be APPALLED at the thought of a complete stranger avoiding vagie squeezies? You know Anon, there are still famines and pestilences TODAY too that might help you gain a little perspective - I know! In this day and age! APPALLING!

Marie Green said...

I once saw a woman on Oprah that had brought some vajayjay weights to show during her interview. She then told a little story of how tricky it was to get them through airport security until she the guy EXACTLY what they were for. I imagine you could get about anything through security if you said they were "weights for the vagina".

I only do kegels when someone says the word, or when I read the word, like here. I've been doing them like crazy since I saw the post title. I've read you should do them at every stop light. Well, our town only has 4 stoplights... so that might explain a few things.

Finally, I love how formulaic the anon commenter is. Take out "kegels" and insert any other topic, lather, rinse, repeat.

Erin said...

Thank you!!! I'm having one of those days and this post made me laugh out loud! THANK YOU!!!

Sundry said...

Well now, just wait a second. What kind of outfit might I be wearing during this grocery-peeing incident? Would I leave a visible puddle? And do the "special weights" involve batteries? There are all sorts of things to consider, here.

Heidi said...

Your post and the following comments made me laugh so hard, that I'm glad that I wasn't drinking my coffee right then.

Also, I don't ever think about doing kegels unless it's mentioned - it just never crosses my mind until then.

Mrs. Dennis said...

In my experience, kegels improve certain parts of my life. Truly and utterly. They make life more enjoyable for me, and I'd recommend them to anyone.

Here's a less scary version of the kegel weight apparatus:
http://www.kegelmaster.pro/

Ashley said...

I've done kegels the whole time reading this post! HAHAHA The only experience I have had with Ben Wa balls (vagina weights)is some one descibing them at a sex toy party (I know anon. Appaling!) and it included a hilarious story about someone forgetting they had them in until they went through airport security, try explaining your way out of that cavity search! LOL

d e v a n said...

omg. *thud*

Michelle said...

This post cracked me up and I didn't even pee myself. I'd like to thank Kegels for that!

OK, so I used to be a sex toy consultant and the weights aren't as scary as they might seem. There are other options besides the ben wa balls, which really are a little more um... advanced. Start with something easier! If you want a recommendation, just shoot me an email.

In all seriousness, they are a really good thing & I recommend them. Highly. Oooooh plus, you get the added benefit of stronger orgasms! {Anon is now chomping at the bit of this appalling talk!}

Jana said...

Tee hee - Thank you for a much needed laugh, Swistle. But now you've got me worried because I thought women who had c-sections didn't have to worry about Kegels (you had c-sections, right?). I think I need to check out that pamphlet.

CAQuincy said...

I seriously love you sooooo much that I want to marry you!

Never a dull moment here at Swistle!

Shelly Overlook said...

Vaggie Weights? I think we'd better corner the market on those ourselves and fast!

I know I'm supposed to do kegels but I rarely do. I just don't think of it. However, my grandmother (who has never done a kegel in her life) had a prolapsed uterus because of it. I mean, seriously, her uterus tried to fall out. Euw, gross.

Alias Mother said...

I hate the Kegel people because seriously? I don't have enough to worry about?

clueless but hopeful mama said...

Okay, so I have a long history with treating pelvic floor issues up to and including kegels (which are difficult to do correctly BTW), vag weights (they look like squat, heavy tampons) and even biofeedback and internal pelvic floor physical therapy (oh yes, it means just what you think it does).

But your post? Made me laugh. And I didn't pee. So there you go.

parkingathome said...

Stopping the flow of my urine is AMAZING and WONDERFUL. I would say that I have a spritual experience every time I remember to make my pee more like a urine gun on semi-automatic mode. Anyone who does not want their urethra on semi-automatic mode is APPALLING. Stop vaginal gun control NOW!

Sylvie said...

This made me laugh!

Christina said...

The OBGYN always reminds me too, but I forget. I do them maybe the next 2 times I pee, then it just leaves my mind b/c --- I gotta pee!

Anon is a leetle weird. Really? This post is APPALLING? And kegels themselves wouldn't be what are amazing and wonderful - I believe you're talking about the results. (or so I've heard, but like I said - I've never made it that far!)

jen said...

My ob/gyn has never told me to do this... The comments are just as funny as the post... and I think you should get some weights and post about it! We could all try out for the couch-to-kegel olympics together.

Swistle said...

Clueless but Hopeful- This is exactly it: the stopping-the-pee is USELESS for figuring out how to do them. I am perfectly willing to do them (though, uh, not with WEIGHTS, and also I am not going to make it as significant an investment of time and energy as the pamphlet seemed to be suggesting, which was ALL DAY EVERY DAY), but WHERE IS THAT MUSCLE?

Anonymous said...

That thing I said above, about how you have issues? I'm so sorry, I'm such a total douche. See how I tied that in? It's a VAGINA joke! Ha ha ha!

Hotch Potchery said...

I have been doing Kegels for the post and comments. Now I don't have to jog today. Thanks.

Oh, and I want the t-shirt too.

desperate housewife said...

I do Kegels almost involuntarily whenever I hear the word now... otherwise I usually forget about it. But I have figured out how to do it, and I DO think it has merit, though I won't go into detail. I'm not exactly an all-day every-day girl though! I mean, who wants to walk around thinking about internal muscles all day? At EVERY stoplight? What the heck. You could cause a car accident with that kind of distracted driving.
Man, the comment section was entertaining today!

Swistle said...

D.H.- Tell a girl how! Er, maybe by email. The stopping-pee thing is not educating me AT ALL, which is probably why I FAILED my quiz.

Leah Rubin said...

So many song lyrics come to mind, most particularly "I Enjoy Being A Girl". The next time my hub complains about shaving, I may hit him with the kegel story!

Steph the WonderWorrier said...

LMAO! I first heard the term "kegels" on a TV show when I was younger... maybe it was on Will & Grace or something, something Karen said. Anyway! My best friend and I thought they were the funniest concept.

I never knew they were truly recommended by OBGYN's and such. Interesting. I never really know if I'm doing them right (when I randomly decide to try them... like while reading this post, hahahaha). Do you just sort of.. squeeze in down there (that "holding pee" movement like you said)?

And like... is there a recommended number of reps and sets??

LOL. Oh my lanta, this is humorous. I'm actually quite curious now and feel the need to Google and research this.

Steph the WonderWorrier said...

Also: I totally thought that starting and stopping when voiding your bladder was super bad for your body... so.. HRM.

Steph the WonderWorrier said...

Oh Em Gee, I am BACK.

With help from the Mayo Clinic!

Here's a technique for ya...

"Insert a finger inside your vagina and try to squeeze the surrounding muscles."

... ahem. Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/kegel-exercises/WO00119

Mommy Daisy said...

Well, the comments were as entertaining as I expected.

I'm with the others who do them...not often...but remember to when reading about them. So I'm thinking, maybe you should just randomly slip the word *kegels* into your posts now and then, and it will help us all out. ;)

Whimsy said...

So what all you uterus-will-fall-OUT-OF-BODY-if-you-don't-do-your-kegels people are telling us is that we should be fearing for the future location of Swistle's uterus?

Which, by the way, seems like a FAR more effective Scare Tactic for that brochure. Pish posh about the peeing your pants stuff. It needs to be telling us PARTS OF YOUR BODY WILL PLUMB ***FALL OUT*** IF YOU DON'T DO YOUR KEGELS.

Dude.

parkingathome said...

OHMYGOD Mayo Clinic! That is not subtle at all and I totally got kicked out of the Target for doing it.

MzEll said...

LMAO!!!! Holy Moly. Parking, you made me SNORT like a gosh darn pig. And, just b/c Swistle's blog does this often, my word verification is "boodi". Mwahahaha....

Kim said...

I don't do them as a practice, but it is impossible for me to either read, hear or say that word without automatically doing one.

Laura said...

*Idly wonders if great-great-grandma's girly bits fell out from lack of kegels* Seriously though, I'm more likely to do butt crunches in public and I am to do kegels. Heck, I barely know what kegels are!

Miz S said...

I always think about Mrs. Duggar when this subject comes up. One has to wonder how her pelvic floor is holding up.

My pelvic floor didn't hold up very well AT ALL. But my doctor said that all the kegels in the world wouldn't have kept my uterus where it belonged.

Shelly said...

Hilarious and informative! Swistle (and commenters, of course), you are a gem!

Cookie said...

I do kegels sometimes, usually after I read an article about them (or a blog post) or visit my gyn. Then I forget. I have heard of the weights before and they scare me. Thanks for the good laugh this morning.

Farrell said...

I am TOTALLY with you.

3carnations said...

I did kegels at my desk while reading this post just because I could. But weights? There? No thank you.

Jenn Mc said...

nikki said...

I now have the sudden urge to make a t-shirt that says "Don't look, I'm doing my kegels"


Nikki - I want that shirt! :)

Kira said...

Parking, you just made me laugh so hard I cried. My sons are begging me to tell them what's so funny, but I just keep reiterating that they'll be happier if I don't.

What bugs me about the Kegal People is the TONE. Like if you're suffering from stress incontinance then well, little missy, someone had best be locating their pelvic floor muscles, hmmmm? Dude. Considering most of us earned our muscle laxness through the valient effort of MAKING and BIRTHING people, mayhap you should drop the "try harder, you lazy slob" attitude? That attitude never helped me lose weight, and it's never going to help me sneeze without crossing my legs either.
And I know this is too long for a comment, but TWO THINGS: first of all, you hear all the time that Kegals will give you better orgasms? But it is also true that orgasms give you stronger pelvic floor muscles. Which I think is a much more intriguing way to look at the issue.
Secondly, every so often my husband will sit across the table from me and stare at a point just above and to the left of me, and look intent. When I finally say WHAT? are you DOING?, he says, "I am doing my Kegals RIGHT NOW."
Makes me laugh EVERY TIME. And now I read in your comments that men actually CAN do Kegals? What a bummer. I'm not going to tell him, because it would kill the funny.

Secret Mom Thoughts said...

Weights? Too funny. Where do you buy those? I'm guessing Sports Authority does sell them.

Kelly said...

loooove it!!
we have a commerical that airs here locally during the soap opera hours that offends me to no end. and I mean no offense to anyone who may have had this procedure, but I am horrified by some male doctor on TV telling me that I should have "vaginal rejuvenation" surgery. really? boob jobs and botox and lipo aren't enough for my gender to endure, now we should have our vaginas REJUVENATED??

my vagina disagrees.

I have friends who religiously do kegels. whatever. I agree with you.
who thinks of this crap. vagina weights. LOL

Good Enough Mom said...

I'm right there with you. I've had the same issues as Clueless But Hopeful...pelvic floor "work" and all. I've heard all the stories about what will happen to my lower half over time if I neglect the kegels, but I still forget them. Incidentally, it would be even more HORRIFIC to hold in your poo on a regular basis...but I doubt you wanna hear about THAT!