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A perineometer is a device used in gynecology to measure the strength of the muscles of the pelvic floor. In conjunction with Kegel exercises, it can assist in the retraining of pelvic floor muscles, which are often weakened following childbirth. Training with the use of a perineometer also helps address the issue of prolapse, incontinence, and premature ejaculation in men.
The device was invented by famed gynecologist Dr. Arnold Kegel, who suggested that exercising the pelvic floor muscles after childbirth can help relieve the muscle trauma suffered during the ordeal. He created the first perineometer to ascertain whether or not a particular patient would benefit from doing Kegel exercises. At the time of its invention, the device measured muscle strength by reading the air pressure changes after pelvic contractions. Developments over the years have refined it into a biofeedback device that measures the strength through electrical impulses instead, resulting in more accurate measurements.
After inserting the device into the vagina or anus, the patient is asked to contract her pelvic floor muscles in such a way that the muscles are pulled up instead of pushed down, as they would be during childbirth or urination. The perineometer measures the electrical activity in the muscles and then reports the measurements on a display. Ideally, women should be able to register a 10 on the scale, hold the contraction for 10 seconds, and repeat the exercise 10 times. Perineometers allow patients to monitor the strength of their contractions and create their exercise programs accordingly.
Training the pelvic floor muscles to a certain level of strength brings several benefits. Other than rehabilitating the vagina after childbirth, strengthening the muscles can help prevent genital or rectal prolapse, in which organs like the uterus slip out of place. The exercises can also help a patient overcome urinary incontinence, as the pelvic floor muscles assist in controlling bladder movement.
Men may also benefit from the use of a perineometer. Those who suffer from problems such as premature ejaculation can train themselves to delay the reaction through pelvic floor contraction. The very same Kegel exercises done by women can be used for training, with a perineometer to keep track of progress.
Although perineometers were once confined to use in the clinic, perineometers for home use are now available. The added convenience allows for pelvic floor strength training to be done in the privacy of one's home. These models are more affordable than previous versions of the Kegel perineometer and are just about as accurate.