Kegel balls, or Ben Wa balls, have been used for centuries to strengthen vaginal and pelvic floor muscles. The small, weighted balls come in a variety of different weights and sizes to help you contract and release different muscles with ease.
If you have a pair and aren’t sure where to start, or if you’re unsure of what to buy, we’ll walk you through how to choose the right pair and what to do after you get them home.
Who are they for?
As with any physical exercise, Kegel balls come with a few risks, including:
pain or discomfort
The same goes for using Kegel balls. The easiest way to minimize your risk is to ensure that you’re using the correct size, weight, and technique.
Although reading over the product’s packaging is a great place to start, you should also check in with your doctor. They can offer advice tailored specifically to your needs.
You should also check in with your doctor before use if you:
are pregnant or recovering from childbirth
have existing pelvic pain or an active pelvic infection
are recovering from gynecological surgery
have an intrauterine device
use a menstrual cup
You’re more likely to experience pain and discomfort if you use Kegel balls in any of these conditions. If you still want to try Kegel balls, check with your doctor first.
How to prepare your Kegel balls
If you have a pair of Kegel balls but aren’t sure what to do with them, you’re in the right place.
To get your Kegel balls ready for use, you should:
Wash your hands thoroughly with antibacterial soap.
Wash your Kegel balls with warm water and antibacterial soap, and then dry them off with a clean towel or use the special Kegel Ball Cleaner.
Rub a generous amount of water-based lube on the balls so they’re easy to insert.
How to insert them
Now that you’ve prepared your Kegel balls, the real fun can begin.
Make sure you apply a liberal amount of lube to your vaginal opening before you get into position. This will help prevent discomfort as you guide the Kegel balls in.
After you’re lubed up, you should:
Lie down in a comfortable position (spread eagle is often best).
Slowly and steadily insert the first ball.
Kegel balls are usually connected to each other by a small piece of string or plastic, so slip that inside your vagina as well.
Once the string is tucked in, gently start to insert the second ball into your vagina.
Push the balls into your vagina as far as you’re comfortable with. If your balls have a removal string or loop, it should hang outside of your vagina, so make sure it’s not accidentally tucked in with the rest of the balls.
Tighten your pelvic floor muscles to hold your Kegel balls inside of you, and go about your day.
The balls should feel secure inside your vaginal canal. If you feel like they’re about to fall out — or the first ball is visible outside of your vaginal opening —gently push them deeper into your vagina.
How you feel with the balls inside varies from person to person, but it’s generally a subtle, tingly sensation. This feeling usually intensifies with movement, like walking, bending down, or reaching up.
What to do once they’re in
What you do after you insert your Kegel balls depends on why you’re using them.
If you want to strengthen your pelvic floor, targeted exercises will help you identify and tone your muscles.
Once you’re comfortable with traditional Kegels or other pelvic floor exercises, consider adding weighted Kegel balls. They can enhance your workout by adding an extra challenge.
If you want to add Kegel balls to your routine, you should:
Lie on your back and insert the balls. Make sure everything’s lubed up.
Tighten your pelvic floor muscles to lift and squeeze the balls.
Hold the contraction for 5 seconds, then relax for another 5 seconds.
Repeat this step 5 times in a row to complete one set.
You can perform up to three sets a day.
How to remove your Kegel Balls
You can leave Kegel balls in for up to six hours, depending on the balls used and your individual body chemistry. Your doctor can tell you more about best practices for you and your body.
If your Kegel balls have a removal string or loop, you should:
Lay down in a comfortable position.
Add more lube to your vaginal opening.
Slowly pull on the removal string until they slide out.
If your balls are separated, you should:
Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip distance apart.
Slightly bend your knees until you’re in a comfortable squat.
Squeeze your vaginal muscles to push them out, much like with another sex toy or even a tampon.
If the balls don’t come out right away, try to remain calm. You may be able to coax them out by adding more lube. You can also cough, move around, or even jump up and down to help your muscles contract and release.
How to clean and store them
Keeping your Kegels balls clean is crucial. If they aren’t cleaned and stored correctly, they can introduce bacteria into your vagina that could lead to infection.
After you remove your Kegel balls, you should:
Run them under warm water.
Thoroughly clean them with antibacterial hand soap or specific cleaner.
Rinse them in warm soapy water, and then run them under water to wash off excess residue.
Pat them dry with a clean towel. You may want to let them air dry for an hour or two to ensure that they’re completely dry before you put them away.
Once they’re dry, store them in a case of their own.
Are there any risks?
Although Kegel balls are generally considered safe to use, there are few things you should keep in mind.
You should only squeeze for about 5 seconds at a time, with breaks of at least 5 seconds between. Squeezing for too long or without a break could overexert your vaginal muscles and cause a temporary strain.
You shouldn’t keep in your Kegel balls in for more than four to six hours at a time. Any longer and you may begin to overexert your pelvic floor muscles.
You should also clean your Kegel balls before and after every use. Using contaminated Kegel balls can result in infection.
Discontinue use and see your doctor if you begin to experience any of the following:
severe pain or discomfort
How to select the right Kegel balls
If you’re new to Kegel balls, start with a lightweight plastic or silicone set. Make sure the balls are attached and have a removal string.
Although some sets contain three or more, two is the standard. You should always start with two and increase or decrease the number as you become more familiar with the practice.
Once you’re comfortable, you can take things to the next level by swapping:
larger balls for smaller balls
lighter materials, like plastic or silicone, for something heavier, like metal or glass
connected sets for individual balls
Try switching up one element, like size, to start. You can continue to add new elements in as you progress in you practice.