Aquaflex Review – Aquaflex Pelvic Floor Exercise System for Women
Aquaflex is a popular system of vaginal weights designed to improve pelvic floor strength and treat stress incontinence (leakage of urine e.g. with coughing and sneezing).
This Aquaflex review is designed to help you know whether Aquaflex suits you.
Aquaflex Review Contents
Read on now to learn;
- Aquaflex contents
- Benefits of using Aquaflex
- Is Aquaflex right for you?
- How the system works
- Who may find Aquaflex beneficial
- What is great about this product
- Potential drawbacks of using Aquaflex cones
- Who may find Aquaflex difficult to use
- Potential issues with sustained contractions with vaginal weights
The Aquaflex weights are housed in a durable plastic, aqua coloured storage case (shown right)
Inside the case you will find:
- 2 hollow plastic cones each with a cord attached to the base
- 1 Large cone: 27 mm diameter, 65 mm long
- 1 Small cone 20 mm diameter, 65 mm long
- 4 circular weights (2x20g, 1x10g, 1x5g)
Benefits Aquaflex Pelvic Floor Exercise System
This system of vaginal weights is promoted by the manufacturers for a range of pelvic floor health issues including:
- Stress urinary incontinence (leakage with increased pressure on the bladder e.g. coughing, sneezing, laughing or exercising)
- Strengthening pelvic floor muscles for general health
- Preparation for pelvic floor muscles strength prior to pregnancy (not during pregnancy)
- Postnatal pelvic floor strengthening.
Women can benefit from Aquaflex appropriate are those with:
- Small to moderate vaginal vault space (usually women who have had minimal pelvic floor muscle trauma during childbirth). See next section for how to measure your vaginal vault space.
- Awareness of their pelvic floor muscles.
- Ability to contract their pelvic floor muscles.
What is great about Aquaflex ?
- Using the cones correctly may improve your awareness of being able to contract your pelvic floor muscles.
- You can progressively increase your weights by increasing the weight you can lift and thereby increase the challenge to your pelvic floor muscles.
- The weights can be used to strengthen in standing which is the position pelvic floor muscles need to be trained in to improve pelvic floor control for your ever day activities.
- The cones are smooth as they are well moulded and screw apart readily for cleaning, decreasing likelihood of contamination or infection.
- The carry container closes firmly and is discreet
Any potential drawbacks using Aquaflex?
- They may not suit the woman with a larger vaginal vault for whom the larger vaginal balls may be a preferable weight.
- They are not recommended for use by women with pelvic prolapse owing to the difficulty in correct positioning of the cones.
- Many weighted pelvic exercisers carry the risk of being used incorrectly; if weights are too heavy, incorrect technique and inappropriate training volume so you need to ensure that you use them correctly.
How Aquaflex Works
The manufacturers say that the cones work through an automatic reflex mechanism that they say occurs when the cone is inserted into the vagina. Mobilis state that the pelvic floor muscles contract automatically around the vaginal cone and that this helps the woman identify her pelvic floor muscles.
It is well known however that following a vaginal delivery, many women lose the ability for reflex contraction of their pelvic floor muscles. Placing a weight in the vagina will not regain the reflex ability of the pelvic floor muscles to work.
Instead Aquaflex can be used with active pelvic floor exercises for strengthening and challenging the pelvic floor muscles to work harder.
Who may find using the Aquaflex cones challenging to use?
1. Women with very weak pelvic floor muscles
Many women have pelvic floor damage as a result of pregnancy and childbirth. These ladies are often completely unable to contract their pelvic floor muscles and also have very poor sensation in their pelvic floor as a result of associated nerve damage or lack of use.
Women often lose the ability of their pelvic floor muscles to contract automatically with childbirth and as a result they leak urine when they cough, sneeze or exercise. These ladies benefit most from professional guidance from a physiotherapist or continence nurse to learn how to correctly find and feel their pelvic floor muscles, and then work towards progressively strengthening them before using vaginal weights.
2. Women with larger vaginal vault
Some ladies who have had pelvic floor damage from very large babies, forceps deliveries and breech births, have a large vaginal vault space.
It is fairly easy for you to test your vaginal size simply by inserting one or two lubricated fingers into your vagina. If you can feel the inside walls of their vagina sitting against your finger or two fingers can usually manage to use the smaller or larger cone. Women with a larger vaginal vault (more than two finger spaces), sometimes cannot feel the larger 25mm diameter sized cone and/or they report that it falls out of their vagina.
Women that have difficulty retaining a vaginal cone in the vagina will often benefit from trying pelvic exercise balls which are are elliptical in shape and have a larger diameter than vaginal cones, making them easier for some women to sense their pelvic floor muscles working.
How to use and strengthen with the Aquaflex Pelvic Floor Exercise System
1. How to feel your pelvic floor muscles working using Aquaflex cones
Mobilis provide worthwhile advice that having appropriately inserted the empty cone, rest your finger on the base of the cone and to try to contract your pelvic floor muscles.
You should feel the cone lifting away from the tip of your finger. If the cone pushes out of your vagina you are probably not using the correct muscles. This can be a useful way for you to find your pelvic floor muscles and can be performed when you are lying down on your side or standing up to give you some feedback about whether or not your muscles are actually lifting and squeezing as they should.
2. How to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles
The manufacturer’s recommendations for strengthening using the cones:
Insert the cone, standing and walking around for one minute and then start to add weights if you experience no problems. The goal is to work up to the weight you can retain in your vagina for one minute as your ‘exercising cone weight’ and then progress to using this weight walking around for 15-20 minutes.
There may be some potential problems with sustained (prolonged) pelvic floor muscle holds using vaginal weights:
- Research into strength training tells us that our muscles strengthen best when they contract and fully relax rather continually contraction for long periods of time. This is the reason that when you go to the gym or fitness class you lift and lower a weight repetitively rather than holding it up for 15-20 minutes at a time. Pelvic floor muscles are skeletal muscles, just the same as the other muscles we perform strength exercises for in the gym and we may benefit from training our pelvic floor muscles using weights in this manner.
Manufacturers recommendations for when not to use Aquaflex:
- During or just after intercourse
- Whilst using a vaginal diaphragm or cap
- During pregnancy
- With a pelvic prolapse
- During menstruation
- In the presence of vaginal infection.
Where to Buy Aquaflex
Aquaflex can be purchased through some online women’s pelvic health specialist stores.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR, Michelle Kenway
Michelle Kenway is a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist and author of Inside Out – the Essential Women’s Guide to Pelvic Support, along with Dr Judith Goh Urogynaecologist. The Inside Out exercise DVD and book show women how to strengthen the pelvic floor and exercise effectively with pelvic floor safe exercises.