Welcome to the V-Series, where Charlotte’s Book will explore the vagina—especially as it relates to women’s health and wellness. We started the series after receiving an avalanche of lady parts-related reader questions. Curious about something and don’t see it here? Write us.
The vagina is like an intricate snowflake in all of its unique perfectness: each one is an original work of nature’s art. It is the most wondrous, magnificent feature of the female body, or any body for that matter. Designed to relieve the bladder, have sex, and bestow the luckier lot with a dual orgasm, the vagina’s most astounding function is being the portal from where new life emerges. Yes, childbirth is an absolute miracle, but once it happens, our beautiful snowflake—well, let’s just say it melts a little bit.
My Post-Baby Pelvic Floor Status
Since my baby boy came on the scene eighteen months ago, I’ve noticed some changes in my nether region—some slight and some not so slight; the latter being that I cannot do a bunny hop or sneeze without peeing myself. Forget about jumping jacks and hysterical laughter. This, I’ve learned, is because my pelvic-floor muscles, the ones that keep my bladder and vagina intact, have become stretched during the birthing process. Another teeny bit of stretching also occurred to the exterior of my delicate flower—its petals have unraveled a small degree. Not that I plan on entering it into a beauty pageant any time soon, but I liked it better the way it was.
Considering My Options
Lucky for me, vaginal rejuvenation procedures are all the rage these days: from foam rolling pelvic floor exercises (featured here on GOOP) to iPhone devices like the elvie (marketed as your most personal trainer!), all the way to in-office lasers and invasive surgical options. It’s one of the hottest topics amongst the Charlotte’s Book community, with a significant amount of post-baby readers writing into Team Charlotte with a host of inquiries on the matter. The cosmetic tech industry is on par with the trend, introducing new lasers marketed specifically for rejuvenating vaginas. Dr. Cybele Fishman tells us: “At a recent roundtable discussion with cosmetic dermatologists and plastic surgeons, 2 of the 8 physicians said vaginal rejuvenation was the ‘it’ thing of 2016. There are already 2 machines marketed specifically for it.”
Frankly, I’m just too chicken shit to partake in vaginal surgery at the moment (but this may change later!). Further, I cannot spare the downtime with a rambunctious toddler climbing onto my counters. So for now, I’m going to explore some of the noninvasive ways to help undo to my vagina what childbirth has done to it.
Meet Elvie, Your Most Personal Trainer
For my first experiment, I’m aiming to improve my pelvic floor strength (and hopefully stop peeing myself) with a new kegel exercising and fitness tracking device called the elvie. Co-founded by Tania Boler, an advocate for women’s issues and founder of the women’s tech company Chiaro and Alexander Asseily (creators of Jawbone), the elvie is a small pebble-shaped pod designed to help you exercise and strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. Using Bluetooth technology, it connects to an app on your Smartphone to guide you through five-minute pelvic floor workouts and chart your performance over time.
When used as instructed, the elvie promises to help you regain control, increase core strength, and improve the quality of your sexy time. It can also be used by the nulligravida as a way to take preventative measures before pregnancy. For me, I’m just hoping to be able to bust a move without wetting myself. And the results are, so far, astounding!
My 6-Week Experiment
Similar to the feeling I get from a fresh iPhone, the moment I held the box I felt as though I was in possession of something awesome. The packaging is gorgeously simplistic and ultra sleek. Open the box and the elvie is hiding inside a retractable, cylinder-shaped charger that gives elvie life through a USB cord. Retract the charger to find elvie, a little mint green pod with a curled tail, covered in silky, smooth silicone that is so soft to touch. There is also a silicone cap accessory that fits snuggly over the elvie for the option of a tighter fit.
Getting Up Close & Personal With Elvie
The whole set-up process is indubitably simple and straightforward. Once I activated my iPhone Bluetooth and connected my elvie to the app, I inserted this sleek, egg-shaped biosensor into my vagina (similar to the way you’d put in a tampon) and was ready to go.
The app itself is also minimal, straightforward, and visually appealing. It walks you through a sequence of quick tests, like a game, so the experience is fun as it is challenging. There are three different levels: beginner, intermediate, and advanced (initial default is beginner but you can change that), and advancing to the next level is another fun aspect for my competitive kin.
The first step is a quick assessment to gauge your LV strength. (To clarify, an “LV” is a unit of measurement—created by Chiaro—that quantifies your pelvic floor strength and is determined by how hard your muscles can squeeze the elvie). You do this by squeezing your pelvic floor muscles inward (as if you are holding in pee) to make the pretty “gem” on the app climb up the LV scale. Then, based on your LV score, you move on to a series of short workouts where you have to hit targets with the gem by either squeezing and holding your muscles or quickly squeezing and contracting them (harder than you think!). After the workouts, you’re given another LV assessment and you can see the improvement made over the course of your workout. Once complete, you see a graph of your progress over time, and voila, you’re done.
A Note About Wine & Laughing
While my progress with the elvie showed an incremental up-climb as time went on, there were some instances when I saw a dramatic lull in my performance. It’s no wonder that on all such occasions I had indulged in a glass (or… um, a bottle) of much-needed Pinot Noir before (or during) my elvie workout.
Unfortunately, the law of loosening up is applied equally throughout the intoxicated body: my pelvic floor muscles were just as uncoordinated as the rest of me. I could barely hit a target to save me from a hangover, and my LV dropped tremendously. So, ladies, if you want to get the most of this, you may want to keep it a sober endeavor—even though it might seem like a good idea after sipping on a cup of mommy juice after a long day.
On the other hand, Well & Good reported a serious uptick in performance while laughing, because a hearty chuckle gets pelvic floor muscles rapidly engaging. So if you want to break all the records, nix the wine and Netflix some comedy specials—otherwise, plan to flatline if you’re having a good time and drinking wine.
Wine nights aside, did it work?
Quite frankly, I am amazed. I expected to see improvement, of course, because I know how much research and science went into creating this device, but these results are nothing short of a miracle. Just months earlier, I was living on the edge of disaster, constantly afraid of soaking my pants at any moment. Now, I feel so free!
I’ve been at it for six weeks, using the elvie approximately 4 times a week, and I’m ecstatic to announce that I no longer have to cross my legs and brace myself every time I sneeze. I can laugh as hard as I want without needing to change my pants. I can practice jumping with my son without soaking my uniform (read: yoga pants). And I’m back to being my free, dancing self—no adult diapers needed.
As far as improving the quality of my sexy time? I’ll have to report back on that, but the studies don’t lie—women with super-strength pelvic floor muscles have a better time in bed. Hallelujah!
I am forever grateful for Tania Boler and her life-changing innovation.
But it here for $199. And tell us what you think after you’ve used it for 6 weeks…
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