Wellness

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Shopping with a Scientist:
Gerda’s Pelvic-Floor-Care Recommendations

In partnership with our friends at Thinx

Gerda Endemann

Gerda Endemann, our senior director of science and research, has a BS in nutrition from UC Berkeley, a PhD in nutritional biochemistry from MIT, and a passion for cherry-picking from our wellness shop. A few other things about Gerda: She’s a mom. She’s postmenopausal. She lets us (regardless of our age) ask a lot of questions about pelvic floor health.

Pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause are all normal, wonderful parts of the female life cycle. But they can be hard on the pelvic floor structures that you need for healthy bladder control, sexual function, sensation, and pleasure. Definitely keep up your Kegel exercises—research has confirmed their benefits for all of the above—but they can be pretty boring, so it’s worth checking out additional approaches to pelvic floor health.

Pregnancy, childbirth, menopause are all normal, wonderful parts of the female life cycle. But they can be hard on the pelvic floor structures that you need for healthy bladder control, sexual function, sensation, and pleasure. Definitely keep up with your Kegel exercises—research has confirmed their benefits for all of the above—but they can be pretty boring, so it’s worth checking out additional approaches to pelvic floor health.

Rebecca Nelken, MD, whose specialty is female pelvic medicine, shared with goop multiple options for supporting bladder health, including laser treatments, Botox, and nerve stimulation. Another option for pelvic floor care is physical therapy: Allison Oswald, PT, DPT, WCS, has a series of postnatal education videos focusing on pelvic floor and back care after childbirth—or you can work with her in person if you’re in Los Angeles. Every Mother offers online exercise programs for pregnancy, postpartum, and beyond. Every Mother specializes in mommy tummy, or diastasis recti, but the implications go way beyond appearance, with benefits for pelvic floor, core, abdominal, and back strength.

Pretty impressive research has been published on the benefits of pelvic floor muscle training, and we’re not just talking about a study here or there. Multiple clinical trials have reported improvements in urinary incontinence, and there are likely benefits for sexual function. Training yourself to contract these muscles just before sneezing or laughing—called “the knack”—might be something else to try. However, leaks do occur, which is why we like Speax by Thinx, so you don’t have to worry about wetness or odor.


  1. Wear

    All underwear should be made this way. Occasional leaks happen, and it makes sense to choose underwear that uses a high-tech fabric to absorb liquid without bulking up. Speax is lined with an ultrathin wicking layer to keep you dry, and even better, one of the super thin layers in Speax is odor-absorbing. The Hiphugger is smooth, stretchy, flattering, and great under formfitting clothes. And Thinx has a mission: promoting access to basic hygiene and support services in underserved communities.

    Thinx Hiphugger underwear
    Speax by Thinx
    HIPHUGGERS
    goop, $37
    SHOP NOW
  2. Wear

    All underwear should be made this way. Occasional leaks happen, and it makes sense to choose underwear that uses a high-tech fabric to absorb liquid without bulking up. Speax is lined with an ultrathin wicking layer to keep you dry, and even better, one of the super thin layers in Speax is odor-absorbing. The Hiphugger is smooth, stretchy, flattering, and great under formfitting clothes. And Thinx has a mission: promoting access to basic hygiene and support services in underserved communities.

  1. The Kegels Game

    You’re likely convinced of the value of doing pelvic floor exercises, but something keeps you from doing them regularly—maybe boredom? Maybe not being sure that you are doing them correctly? The Elvie trainer helps you do Kegels and makes a game out of it. It’s nicely made and simple to use. You’ll be motivated to beat your best score because playing games is not boring.

    THE ELVIE TRAINER
    Elvie
    ELVIE TRAINER
    goop, $199
    SHOP NOW

    The Kegels Game

    You’re likely convinced of the value of doing pelvic floor exercises, but something keeps you from doing them regularly—maybe boredom? Maybe not being sure that you are doing them correctly? The Elvie trainer helps you do Kegels and makes a game out of it. It’s nicely made and simple to use. You’ll be motivated to beat your best score because playing games is not boring.

  2. Not Just a Toy

    A combination of intravaginal red light, pleasant warmth, and sonic vibration is designed to boost circulation and metabolism to help maintain healthy vaginal tissues. Preliminary research supports the benefits for pelvic muscle strength, sexual function, and bladder control with the recommended use of just ten minutes three to four times a week. It’s easy to use—all you’ll need is a little lube.

    VFIT INTIMATE WELLNESS SOLUTION
    VFIT INTIMATE WELLNESS SOLUTION

    Not Just a Toy

    A combination of intravaginal red light, pleasant warmth, and sonic vibration is designed to boost circulation and metabolism to help maintain healthy vaginal tissues. Preliminary research supports the benefits for pelvic muscle strength, sexual function, and bladder control with the recommended use of just ten minutes three to four times a week. It’s easy to use—all you’ll need is a little lube.

    vfit
    VFIT INTIMATE WELLNESS SOLUTION
    goop, $495
    SHOP NOW
  3. Get Out of
    Survival Mode

    This isn’t a “workout” book, although it does contain plenty of clearly described exercises, using a squishy ball, starting with its main focus, the pelvic floor, and ending with the head and neck. Lauren Roxburgh addresses the health of the pelvic floor as a key to overall physical and emotional health. The book is beautifully written and easy to read. It’s about listening to, realigning, and empowering your body. About releasing stress and tension. And about shifting the paradigm away from the false belief that you have to abuse your body to see physical results. Treat yourself to some healing movements, breaths, baths, teas, and self-massage. I could roll the back of my neck on Lauren’s Body Sphere forever.

    the power source book
    goop Press
    THE POWER
    SOURCE
    goop, $27
    SHOP NOW
    goop Press
    THE POWER SOURCE
    goop, $27
    SHOP NOW
    the power source book

    Get Out of
    Survival Mode

    This isn’t a “workout” book, although it does contain plenty of clearly described exercises, using a squishy ball, starting with its main focus, the pelvic floor, and ending with the head and neck. Lauren Roxburgh addresses the health of the pelvic floor as a key to overall physical and emotional health. The book is beautifully written and easy to read. It’s about listening to, realigning, and empowering your body. About releasing stress and tension. And about shifting the paradigm away from the false belief that you have to abuse your body to see physical results. Treat yourself to some healing movements, breaths, baths, teas, and self-massage. I could roll the back of my neck on Lauren’s Body Sphere forever.

  4. A Gift

    This squishy ball is what I use for the self-massage and pelvic floor exercises in Lauren Roxburgh’s book. Inflate the ball about two thirds full, allow your pelvic floor to expand over it, and follow along with the book or the videos. Or order the sphere and The Power Source as a gift for a friend in need of self-love and feel-good suggestions. Also, the pump—with a needle in the handle—will come in handy for any ball.

    OPTP LOROX BODY SPHERE
    OPTP
    LOROX BODY SPHERE
    goop, $19.95
    SHOP NOW
    OPTP LOROX BODY SPHERE

    A Gift

    This squishy ball is what I use for the self-massage and pelvic floor exercises in Lauren Roxburgh’s book. Inflate the ball about two thirds full, allow your pelvic floor to expand over it, and follow along with the book or the videos. Or order the sphere and The Power Source as a gift for a friend in need of self-love and feel-good suggestions. Also, the pump—with a needle in the handle—will come in handy for any ball.

  5. Is Sex Just Fun?

    The Journal of Sexual Medicine published an article titled “Controversies in Sexual Medicine: Is Sex Just Fun? How Sexual Activity Improves Health.” In it, the authors conclude that pelvic floor structure and function are positively influenced by sexual activity. There isn’t a lot of research directly demonstrating this, but it would seem logical that increasing blood flow and muscle contraction vaginally would be beneficial. And again, self-love is important. This vibrator—called the Millionaire—has one button and several speeds and modes. It’s waterproof. And very quiet.

    smile-makers the millionare vibrator
    Smile Makers
    THE MILLIONARE
    goop, $55
    SHOP NOW

    Is Sex Just Fun?

    The Journal of Sexual Medicine published an article titled “Controversies in Sexual Medicine: Is Sex Just Fun? How Sexual Activity Improves Health.” In it, the authors conclude that pelvic floor structure and function are positively influenced by sexual activity. There isn’t a lot of research directly demonstrating this, but it would seem logical that increasing blood flow and muscle contraction vaginally would be beneficial. And again, self-love is important. This vibrator—called the Millionaire—has one button and several speeds and modes. It’s waterproof. And very quiet.

  6. Self-Care

    Not your standard air freshener in an aerosol can, this glass bottle is filled only with distilled water and essential oils and uses a simple spray pump. Self-care is about so much more than exercises and muscle tone. It’s also about allowing muscles to relax, which is a necessary part of healthy muscle function. And it’s about self-love. Imagine a space delicately scented with complex layers of ylang-ylang, jasmine, and a little earthiness from patchouli and vetiver.

    SANDOVAL INTERIOR AROMATIC - LOVE
    Sandoval
    INTERIOR
    AROMATIC – LOVE
    goop, $46
    SHOP NOW
    Sandoval
    INTERIOR AROMATIC – LOVE
    goop, $46
    SHOP NOW

    Self-Care

    Not your standard air freshener in an aerosol can, this glass bottle is filled only with distilled water and essential oils and uses a simple spray pump. Self-care is about so much more than exercises and muscle tone. It’s also about allowing muscles to relax, which is a necessary part of healthy muscle function. And it’s about self-love. Imagine a space delicately scented with complex layers of ylang-ylang, jasmine, and a little earthiness from patchouli and vetiver.

  1. Handy

    Pelvic floor care requires having a clean lube handy. The Sex Gel is water-based—made with organic aloe vera—and unscented, so it can be used anywhere, anytime, with any toys, trainers, or devices. The pump dispenser is well designed and easy to use.

    SANDOVAL INTERIOR AROMATIC - LOVE
    Nécessaire
    THE SEX
    GEL
    goop, $20
    SHOP NOW
    Nécessaire
    THE SEX GEL
    goop, $20
    SHOP NOW
    SANDOVAL INTERIOR AROMATIC - LOVE

    Handy

    Pelvic floor care requires having a clean lube handy. The Sex Gel is water-based—made with organic aloe vera—and unscented, so it can be used anywhere, anytime, with any toys, trainers, or devices. The pump dispenser is well designed and easy to use.

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