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United States Patent 3,752,150
Harris August 14, 1973

EXERCISING APPARATUS

Abstract

An elongated resilient core member is surrounded by an oversize flexible covering having one open end through which a portion of the core extends. The covering adjacent the opening is sealed to the core. A first tubing attached to the core and extending from the covering provides a supply of pressurized liquid through a channel in the core to the covering interior for filling and distending the same, spacing it from the core at all points except where sealed. A second tubing provides communication between the contained liquid and an externally located pressure measuring device, e.g., a manometer. In use, the core and liquid-filled covering are inserted full depth into the vagina and the individual then trys to produce controlled contraction of the vaginal musculature, noting the degree of success on the pressure measuring device.


Inventors: Harris; John P. (Wofford Heights, CA)
Appl. No.: 05/176,170
Filed: August 30, 1971


Current U.S. Class: 600/591 ; 600/38
Current International Class: A61B 5/03 (20060101); A61B 10/00 (20060101); A63B 23/00 (20060101); A63B 23/20 (20060101); A63B 21/008 (20060101); A61b 005/10 ()
Field of Search: 128/25,64,79,344,401

References Cited

U.S. Patent Documents
2541520 February 1951 Kegel
1729296 September 1929 Sarason
2466042 April 1949 Reich et al.
Primary Examiner: Trapp; Lawrence W.

Claims



What is claimed is:

1. Apparatus for exercising the vaginal wall muscles and muscles of the pelvic diaphragm, comprising:

an elongated hollow resilient core;

a flexible expandable bag-like member surronding said core and sealed thereto, said member being of such dimensions that when distended, it forms an elongated cylindrical member of substantially uniform cross-sectional dimensions and it is spaced from said core at all places except where sealed;

a supply of pressurized liquid in said bag-like member;

a first tubing extending from the shank of said core and communicating with the liquid in said member;

pressure measuring means connected to said tubing;

said core and bag-like member filled with liquid adapted to be inserted into the vagina as a unit whereby exertion of the muscles defining the vagina wall and pelvic diaphragm are transmitted through the bag-like member and the liquid contained therein and measured by said measuring means.

2. Apparatus as in claim 1, in which the length of said core and bag-like member are greater than that of the vagina, said externally extending portions being adapted to be held in the hand of the user.

3. Apparatus as in claim 1, in which said bag-like member when inserted is spaced from the core by pressurized liquid at its inner end and along all of the sides thereof such that the measuring means can detect pressures exerted both laterally and longitudinally of said apparatus.

4. Apparatus for exercising the pelvic diaphragm and vagina walls, comprising:

an elongated member having relatively fixed longitudinal dimensions having a shank portion and an inner end portion with a passageway extending completely therethrough and terminating in the end portion in an opening;

an expandable covering received over said elongated member;

means sealing portions of said covering to said member shank portion so that the covering forms a liguid-tight bag thereover;

a first tubing received within the passageway of said member and providing communication to the interior of said covering;

means connected to the external end of said first tubing for providing a supply of pressurized liquid to the covering interior;

a second tubing having one end portion extending through said member for open communication with the contained supply of liquid; and

a manometer connected to the outer end of said second tubing whereby muscular exertions on the liquid-filled covering are transferred to said manometer and measured.

5. Apparatus for exercising the pelvic diaphragm and vagina walls, comprising:

an elongated member having relatively fixed longitudinal dimensions;

an expandable covering received over said elongated member;

means sealing portions of said covering to said member so that the covering forms a liquid-tight bag;

a first tubing received within said member and providing communication to the interior of said covering;

means connected to the external end of said first tubing for providing a supply of pressurized liquid to the covering interior, maintaining the covering in a spaced condition at all points about said member;

said covering being expanded to a substantially equal amount transversely of the long dimension, a transverse section thereof being substantially circular;

a second tubing having one end portion extending through said member for open communication with the contained supply of liquid; and

a manometer connected to the outer end of said second tubing whereby muscular exertions on the liquid-filled covering are transferred to said manometer and measured.

6. Appatatus as in claim 5, in which the length of said elongated member and expanded covering filled with liquid is greater than that of the vagina.

7. Apparatus as in claim 5, in which said elongated member includes a cavity running the complete length thereof, the end of said member received in said expandable covering terminating in an enlarged head with cocical outer wall surfaces.

8. Appatatus for exercising the muscles of the vaginal wall and pelvic diaphragm, comprising:

an elongated resilient core having a lontitudinally extending passage completely therethrough;

an elastic bag-like member surrounding said core and having portions sealed thereto;

a first tubing extending from the core and communicating with the interior of said member;

a source of supply of liquid;

hand operated pump means interconnecting the source of supply of liquid and said first tubing;

second tubing extending from said core and communicating with the liquid in said member;

pressure measuring means connected to said second tubing;

said core and bag-like member filled with liquid forming a unit of substantially constant cross-sectional circular dimensions except at the extremity thereof for being inserted into the vagina such that exertion of the muscles defining the vagina wall and pelvic diaphragm are transmitted through the liquid for measuring by said pressure measuring means.

9. Apparatus for exercising the pelvic diaphragm and vagina walls, comprising:

an elongated member having relatively fixed longitudinal dimensions;

an expandable covering received over said elongated member;

means sealing portions of said covering to said member so that the covering forms a liquid-tight bag thereabout;

a first tubing received within said member and providing communication to the interior of said covering;

means connected to the external end of said first tubing for providing a supply of pressurized liquid to the covering interior, expanding said covering into cylindrical shape of substantially uniform cross-section and spaced from said member at all points except where sealed;

a second tubing having one end portion extending through said member for open communication with the contained supply of liquid;

a manometer connected to the outer end of said second tubing whereby muscular exertions on the liquid-filled covering are transferred to said manometer and measured; and

a third tubing extending through said sealing means with one end within the covering and the other end lying outwardly of said covering.
Description



The present invention relates generally to exercising apparatus, and, more particularly, to apparatus for exercising and measuring the tone of the muscles defining the vagina wall as well as the muscles closely adjacent thereto which are sometimes referred to collectively as the pelvic diaphragm.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The vagina wall is formed essentially by two sets of muscles -- one set which extends longitudinally and a second set which encircles the vagina. In addition, those muscles specifically termed the pubococcygeus and levator ani are located immediately adjacent the vagina and have a critical effect on its proper functioning. These latter muscles, which are frequently referred to as the pelvic diaphragm, have the general appearance of a hammock with its two ends connected to the sides of the pelvis.

Three hollow tubelike structures -- urethra, vagina and rectum -- extend downwardly through respective openings in the central portion of the pelvic diaphragm or hammock. Where the muscle tone of the pelvic diaphragm is good, these openings are maintained constricted through the pulling together action of the muscles, which gives rise to the analogy to a hammock. On deterioration of muscle tone, either through poor physical condition of the individual or injury, these openings in the diaphragm tend to become progressively larger and, in that case, portions of one or more of these tubes which normally lie above the hammock will fall through its associated opening, forming a pouch beneath the hammock. In the case of the urethra, such a pouch is termed a urethrocele and is a chronic source for infections with a number of undesirable physiological consequences. Even where a urethrocele is not severe, it still serves as an area for bacteria growth that can produce an embarrassing and unpleasant smelling discharge.

It has also been found that the physical condition of the vaginal wall muscles, and particularly those forming the pelvic diaphragm, is directly related to the coital responsiveness of the female as well as the pleasure received in sexual intercourse. That is, whereas a lax vaginal musculature tends to make the individual relatively unresponsive to the sexual experience, good vaginal muscle tone on the other hand heightens the effect.

In view of the fact that the muscles comprising the vaginal musculature are, for most individuals, only partially under voluntary control; specific exercise of these muscles for achieving and maintaining their proper condition to insure health and wellbeing has been difficult.

Apparatus has been provided in the past for developing or reconstructing sphicter muscles in which a device having a prestressed membrane is inserted into a body cavity and actuates a pressure sensitive gage in response to sphincter muscle contractions. The prestressed membrane precludes ballooning, a certain degree of which is necessary to enable the user to educate herself as to the location of the different muscles. Also, the lengths of the sphincter muscle exercising devices are sufficient to permit receipt within the body cavity, but insufficient for exercising muscles remote from the body cavity external opening.

OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION

It is, therefore, a primary object and aim of the present invention to provide improved exercising apparatus for introduction into the vagina to increase strength and muscle tone of the vaginal wall and associated muscles.

A further object is the provision of exercising apparatus for receipt within the vagina against which the vagina wall muscles can work as well as can the pubococcygeus and levator ani.

A still further object is the provision of vaginally received exercising apparatus which is responsive to both longitudinal and lateral pressures.

Another object is the provision of apparatus as in the above objects in which the pressure exerted by the individual on the apparatus can be measured.

Yet another object is the provision of the described apparatus which contacts the vaginal wall throughout substantially its complete length for exercising the entire set of associated muscles.

Another object is the provision of the described apparatus including a force measuring indicator external to the vagina for indicating the resultant force exerted on the apparatus by the user.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In the practice of this invention an elongated resilient core member is surrounded by an oversize flexible covering having one open end through which a portion of the core extends. The covering adjacent the opening is sealed to the core. A first tubing attached to the core and extending from the covering provides a supply of pressurized liquid through a channel in the core to the covering interior for filling and distending the same, spacing it from the core at all points except where sealed adjacent the opening. A second tubing attached to external core end provides communication between the contained liquid and an externally located pressure measuring device, e.g., a manometer.

In use, the core and liquid-filled covering is inserted full depth into the vagina and, if necessary, additional liquid is added via the first tubing to distend the covering to proper size. The individual then trys to produce controlled contraction of the vaginal musculature, noting the degree of success on the pressure measuring device. In addition, a portion of the device extends outwardly of the vagina and may be compressed by hand to produce an internal ballooning to assist the user in identifying the muscles being contracted.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic view of the exercising apparatus of this invention shown in the vagina.

FIG. 2 is an enlarged, sectional, elevational view of this exercising apparatus.

DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

With reference now to the drawings and particularly to FIG. 1, the exercising apparatus of the invention is seen to comprise in its major elements an insert 10, a liquid supply and pump 11 and a liquid pressure measuring device 12. A first flexible tubing 13 interrelates the liquid supply and pump 11 with the insert interior, and a second flexible tubing 14 provides communication between the liquid contained in the insert and the pressure measuring device 12 under the control of a three-way stopcock 15. A spring clip 16 is selectively applied to the tubing 13 for maintaining the pressure integrity of the liquid contained within the insert. A further flexible tubing 17 provides communication to the interior of the insert 10 and, as will be described, serves as a means for air to escape during filling of the insert.

It is important to note that the overall length of the insert 10 is such as to permit full receipt within the vagina and include an externally extending portion 18 for a use and purpose to be described.

Turning now to FIG. 2 and the detailed construction of the insert 10, it is seen to include a hollow, centrally located, core 19. More particularly, the core comprises an elongated hollow tubular element 20 which terminates at its outer end in an enlarged head 21 having an opening 22 therein. The other end 23 of the tubular element 20 is interconnected with the tubing 13 via a ferrule 24 sealingly received within the open end of each. Accordingly, the interior of the tubular element 20 is in open communication with that of the tubing 13 and, thus, in communication with the liquid supply and pump 11. The second tubing 14 extends along the outer surface of the tubing 13 and passes through an opening 24 adjacent the head 21 to terminate within the head as shown.

The tubular element 20 is constructed of a soft pliable rubber or plastic material that is sufficiently rigid to maintain dimensionality and its original geometry. However, upon direct bearing contact the core must be sufficiently pliable and resilient to bend transversely of its long dimension as well as to produce a slight deformation of the head portion under reasonable pressure. On releasing such externally applied pressures or forces, the core should resume its original elongated state as shown in FIG. 2.

An elongated tubular covering 25, having a closed end and an open end, is received over the core 19 with the closed end thereof received about the head 21 and the open end 26 being sealed about the tubing 13 and tubing 14. The covering 25 is constructed of a soft, flexible, sheetlike material which can be readily expanded, such as latex or other rubber of plastic having a soft texture or feel. The seal of the covering at 26 must be hermetic in order to insure containing of a liquid within the covering as will be described below.

The tubing 17 is also sealed between the covering and core at 26, with one end extending within the covering interior and the other end extending outwardly in the air.

To prepare the apparatus for use initially, with the insert sealed end 26 held in the up position, the pump 11 supplies a pressurized liquid such as water along tubing 13 to empty into the interior of the covering and fill it as at 27. Air is forced from the covering interior via the tubing 17 by the incoming liquid. Optionally, the stopcock 15 may be set to the open position during filling to provide a further path for enclosed air removal. As soon as all the air is exhausted from the covering the stopcock is adjusted to either the off or pressure measuring positions and the clip 16 is constrictingly applied to the tubings 13 and 17. Liquid is then further added until the covering is distended a sufficient amount that it can be located in spaced relation to the core at all points other than the sealed region 26.

The manner of using the described apparatus will vary somewhat depending upon the experience of the individual in exercising her vaginal wall and hammock muscles. That is, for the inexperienced person these muscles, and particularly the levator ani and pubococcygeus, are, if at all, only slightly under conscious control. For this reason, the first several exercising sessions are directed more to acquainting the user with the location of the different muscles and cultivaing her will to contract these muscles on command, than to achieving any immediate beneficial effect. To provide a mental guide or test so that the individual will know when she is contracting the correct muscles, if the urinary stream is voluntarily and abruptly stopped before completion of urination, not only are the urinary sphincter muscles contracted, but the hammock muscles also are contracted onto the tube leaving the bladder.

In use, the insert 10 which has been filled with fluid as described is fully received within the vagina as depicted in FIG. 2. It may be necessary at this time to increase or decrease the liquid pressure in the covering to bring the insert to appropriate dimensions and consistency. After noting the pressure reading on the device 12, the individual exerts her vaginal wall and hammock muscles, again noting the pressure reading. The differential in pressure readings noted is a direct measure of muscle fitness. The mode of exercise can take a variety of forms, e.g., dialy sessions with the number of contractive efforts being increased at a regular rate.

As an aid to the new user of the described apparatus in identifying the muscles to be exerted, the external part 18 of the insert is successively gripped tightly a number of time, producing a pulsing pressure effect in the insert. The user can more easily feel the various muscles move in response to the pulsations, thereby facilitating identification of those muscles to be contracted and training the will in effecting contraction of the so identified muscles.

There is provided in the practice of this invention apparatus for exercising the muscles defining the vagina wall and forming the pelvic diaphragm to aid in the prevention of cystocele (falled bladder) and rectocele (fallen rectum). Moreover, by increasing the general tonus of the vagina, which makes it more snug and collapses its many crypts, more effective and frequent drainage of the vaginal secretions is promoted, thereby decreasing the likelihood of vaginitis.

Still further, by enhancing the physical condition of the vagina wall, levator ani and pubococcygeus muscles, the individual attains confidence in her feminine physiology through increased knowledge and awareness of her own intravaginal musculature. This also results in the individual having a heightened interest and fuller satisfaction in sexual intercourse, concomitantly decreasing the likelihood of frigidity.

Although the described apparatus has been specifically adapted for exercising the vagina wall and hammock musculature, its shape and operation make it also useful for exercising muscles defining other body cavities. For example, the insert 10 can be inserted in the rectum of a male for performing prostatic massage. In this use, it will promote more effective drainage of the prostate secretions in the less sexually active male, decreasing his likelihood of developing prostatitis.

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