pelvic floor rehab: biofeedback training for IC
The pelvic floor muscles are shaped like a sling and attached to the pubic bone in the front, and the tailbone (sacrum and coccyx) in the back. The job of the pelvic floor is to support the bladder and form the urethral sphincter and control urination. The medical world believes that if you can learn how to improve your control of these muscles, then you can decrease bladder problems and control the symptoms of the pain and bladder hyperactivity that occurs when you have interstitial cystitis.
Like I said, for some IC sufferers, pain and burning occurs because the pelvic floor muscle group is abnormally tense or tight. This goes against what we mostly hear about the pelvic floor, which is “you need to strengthen that pelvic floor with kegels!” Well, for an IC patient with a pelvic floor as tight as a rubber band, kegels just aren’t gonna help.
That’s why biofeedback therapy can help with interstitial cystitis flare-up. Through the use of biofeedback, you can teach yourself to effectively relax your pelvic muscles. In fact, biofeedback is used quite successfully in many urological practices (during a procedure called Urostym) for people with dysfunctional voiding.
Now doesn’t that sound great? Something a person with IC can actively DO to control symptoms. Not a pill to pop, a food to avoid, another thing to cut out of your life…but something you can take action on. It feels empowering because it is empowering.
You have a tool to fight back.
For now, the best option for home biotherapy is to use a biofeedback machine that is actaully designed to “strengthen” your pelvic floor.
WWHHAAATTTTT??? But you just told me kegels are usually BAD for IC people. WTF?!?
Correct, but you aren’t going to use it that way. It’s just a tool to hlep you identify and isolate the pelvic floor muscles. Once you do that, you can either train yourself to contract them or, yep you guessed it, relax them.
So for now, that’s what most IC’ers use. If you happen to be an inventor, please take note: there is a large group of people who want a biofeedback home machine to learn how to relax our uptight pelvic muscles. So can you make us one please?
Best deals online:
We have 2 tools that we think may help: Elvie and the Magic Kegal
Elvie is an award-winning, science-backed, pelvic floor muscle exercise tracker that connects wirelessly to your phone. Simply place inside and Elvie links to an app that gives you feedback as you exercise. Just remember that your goal is not to pump up your pelvic floor, it is to learn how to relax it. This tool will help you isolate the muscles involved and you get instant feedback on your cell phone screen when you are doing it right. The personalized workouts were designed with the help of physiotherapists and experts from Imperial College and the University of Oxford. This is a high quality, well-designed tool and so it carries a higher price.
This is a fairly inexpensive wireless pelvic floor muscle trainer. It can record 4 sets of pelvic floor muscles and provides you with tracking on initial pressure, endurance, control ability, and maximum grip (this is per the manufacturer’s information). Please note that there are very few reviews on this item since it is so new. I will update my post once more data comes in.
As you can see, there aren’t a lot of home biofeedback units on the market that fit what we IC folks need. As more units become available, I will add them to the list!
Still want to know more about biofeedback, pelvic floor dysfunction, and interstitial cystitis? Take a look at this excellent (and controversial) in-depth article that covers the appropriate use of biofeedback of the pelvic floor muscles for IC patients. Go here to read!
**Disclaimer: NO information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition. See more information here By reading this website, you acknowledge that you are responsible for your own health decisions. Do not take anything from any website, including this one, and try it without proper research and medical supervision.