We all know that exercise is essential to a healthy body, and that’s definitely true when it comes to your pelvic floor. Women who start exercising this part of their bodies may wonder whether they can continue to do so during ‘that time of the month.’
It is safe to do pelvic floor exercises while wearing a tampon, so you can continue to do Kegels while on your period. In fact, tampons can actually be a useful tool for performing these types of exercises.
Pelvic Floor Exercises: What & Why
Your pelvic floor has important muscles that need to be exercised just like any others. Pelvic floor exercises, often called ‘Kegels’ after Dr. Arnold Kegel who developed them, can help prevent and/or ameliorate incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. Dr. Kegel found that women could start to see benefits from these exercises in as little as 2-4 weeks.
Kegels involve tightening and then relaxing the pelvic floor muscles, which helps keep them strong, supple, and able to support the organs of the pelvis. You do this in a cycle, on a regular basis. For a Kegel routine you can implement easily, please see here.
It is safe to wear tampons while doing pelvic floor exercises, and you can do them throughout your period? In fact, you may find that exercising the pelvic floor helps reduce cramps (anything’s worth a try, right?). Tampons can provide other benefits, which we’ll cover below.
You may not feel like doing Kegels during certain points of your cycle, and that’s fine, too. Be sure to find a rhythm that is right for your body. And of course, be sure to always follow proper tampon hygiene as well.
Tampons As An Aid For Pelvic Floor Exercises
When you first start doing Kegels, it can be hard to locate your pelvic floor muscles. These are muscles that you don’t consciously control very often, so you may not be familiar with them. That’s where tampons can come in. Tampons can help you connect with your pelvic flood muscles, which in turn can help you perform Kegels properly.
If you wear tampons, let them help you locate your pelvic floor muscles. You can imagine you are wearing a tampon, and visualize squeezing it higher up into your vagina.(1) Or, if you are actually wearing a tampon, you can gently tug on the strings as if were about to pull it out (or just imagine you are doing so). Keeping the tampon in place will activate the same muscles you need to be working in your exercises.
Similarly, the muscles you relax while pulling out a tampon are the same muscles you relax during your Kegel exercises.(2)
An interesting 2019 study used tampons as a form of biofeedback for Kegels. Participants inserted a tampon before performing pelvic floor exercises, and used a mirror to see if they were doing them properly. If the tampon string moved downward while contracting their muscles, they knew they were doing the exercises correctly. If it moved up or didn’t move at all, they were doing them incorrectly.(3) This same method may help women who are still struggling to use their muscles properly.
Need More Help?
If you find you still struggle to locate your muscles, or if you would like to amp up your pelvic floor exercises, talk to your doctor. She can recommend devices and more strategies, including vaginal weights, that might help. You should also talk to your doctor if you are already experiencing the symptoms of either incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse. To find a doctor in your area who specializes in the pelvic floor, please see here.