Caitlin Goodwin MSN, CNM is a Certified Nurse-Midwife with nearly ten years of experience caring for pregnant and postpartum women.
Kegel balls, also known as Ben Wa balls, are weights that you put into your vagina to strengthen the pelvic floor. You may have seen them in Fifty Shades Darker when Ana wears them out to a formal event. However, their primary use is NOT risque or racy.
The first time you use these exercise balls may seem intense, but you quickly become used to them. This article will cover all you need to know about kegel balls, why they help, and how to use them.
What are Kegel Balls?
These pelvic floor exercisers are round in shape and vary in size from marble-sized to two inches. Some Kegel balls even vibrate. The pair of balls are traditionally in a box and either come attached or loose.
The connected balls also have a string that remains outside your vagina for easy removal. Ben Wa balls come in different weights, measurements, and materials. If you use the two separate balls, they require more force and coordination to stabilize your pelvic floor.
The balls range in size, texture, and substance. Materials include
- Body-safe silicone
Where in the World Did Ben Wa Balls Originate?
Kegel Balls were created more than 1500 years ago in Japan by men.
The reason? Men originally designed Ben Wa balls for their enjoyment. When inserted, the freely floating balls gave them more pleasure.
But, women noticed that the balls strengthened their pelvic muscles and improved their reproductive health. Unfortunately, while they improved their health somehow, the early Ben Wa balls proved more harmful than good. Early kegel balls contained mercury.
However, modern Kegel balls have come a long way.
Who Should Use Ben Wa Balls?
All people have a pelvic floor that supports their pelvic organs. However, for women, those muscles support the uterus, bladder, and rectum. The pelvic floor can become weak with age, pregnancy, childbirth, and other pelvic trauma.
Performing Kegel exercises can strengthen the pelvic floor. Some people can strengthen without any additional weight, while others may need to enhance their pelvic floor workout.
These balls’ primary purpose is to restore your pelvic floor, but some opt to use them to enhance their reproductive lives. While some women choose to wear them in public, while others use them privately.
For the first use, it’s best to practice in the comfort of your own home. Become familiar with using them so that you don’t run the risk of the device falling out while running errands.
Kegel exercises improve vaginal health in several ways:
- Reduce urinary symptoms
- Improve pleasure
- Increase pelvic floor strength
Are There Risks to Using Kegel Balls?
Yes, using the balls too much can cause muscle fatigue, vaginal tears, or increase your risk of infection. Balls should always be cleaned and used correctly. The following should speak with a healthcare provider before using kegel balls:
- Pregnant folks
- Those with pelvic floor injuries
- Any vaginal infection
How do you Perform Kegel Exercises?
The pelvic floor acts as a hammock to many of your organs. For example, the pelvic floor muscles support a woman’s rectum, bladder, and uterus. However, the muscles can weaken over time, after trauma, following surgery, or after pregnancy and birth.
How should you insert Ben Wa Balls?
If you are not used to placing anything in your vagina, it can seem overwhelming at first. Lie down on the bed and slowly breathe until you feel relaxed. Some women need relaxing music, candles, or a bath first.
Make sure the balls are clean. If they are a colder material like metal, warm them gently in your clean hands. If you need, you can use a bit of water-based lubricant to insert the balls. Insert them gently one at a time, breathing slowly.
How Do You Use Kegel Balls?
Like Kegel weights, you should start with the lightest weight you can tolerate and insert them one at a time. Many women can only tolerate one ball at first and build up until both are in your vaginal canal at the same time. Once you can handle both balls’ lightest weight in the vaginal canal, you gradually increase as you can manage.
It would be best if you aimed to use them for fifteen minutes twice daily. As they bounce around, they provide a unique sensation. Some women use them for short periods during Kegel exercises, while others leave them for hours.
How to Clean Ben Wa Balls
Clean Kegel balls both before and after use with warm water and antibacterial soap. You use Kegel Balls to promote female health but must be appropriately cleaned to avoid introducing bacteria to your vagina.
- Start by rinsing both balls under warm water, one at a time.
- Carefully clean them with antibacterial hand soap.
- Wash them in warm soapy water.
- Run them underwater to wash off any soapy residue.
- Dry them with a clean towel.
- Let them air dry for an hour or two to verify they are clean.
The Bottom Line
There are many ways to improve your pelvic health and other physical symptoms. However, Ben Wa balls can improve your pelvic floor. So take charge of your well-being today with kegel balls to strengthen your pelvic floor.
This content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for formal and individualized diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed medical professional. Do not stop or alter your current course of treatment. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2020 Caitlin Goodwin
Cynthia Zirkwitz from Vancouver Island, Canada on September 06, 2020:
Interesting. Thank you for the information. I am pretty sure i would prefer the ones connected by a string... sort of like mittens on a string only for adults who don't want to lose their marbles in quite this way.
FlourishAnyway from USA on September 06, 2020:
Well goodness. I’ve never heard of this and you’ve given us all quite an education.