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Last Updated: Monday, 4 February 2008, 10:43 GMT
High heels 'may improve sex life'
Three women wearing high-heeled shoes
Hers may be a little on the high side
Wearing higher heels - although perhaps not stilettos - may improve your pelvic floor muscles and in doing so boost your sex life, a study suggests.

An Italian urologist and self-professed lover of the sexy shoe set out to prove that high heels were not as bad for women's health as some suggest.

The shoe has been linked to a range of problems - from corns to schizophrenia.

But in a letter to European Urology, Dr Maria Cerruto said her research showed it was time to stand up for the heel.

She said her study of 66 women under 50 found that those who held their foot at a 15 degree angle to the ground - the equivalent of a two inch heel - had as good posture as those who wore flat shoes, and crucially showed less electrical activity in their pelvic muscles.

This suggested the muscles were at an optimum position, which could well improve their strength and ability to contract.

The pelvic floor muscles are an essential component of the female body. As well as assisting sexual performance and satisfaction, they provide vital support to the pelvic organs, which include the bladder, bowels and uterus.

But they often weaken after pregnancy and childbirth, and as the woman gets older. There are exercises to strengthen them, but Dr Cerruto hopes her findings may eliminate the need for these.

"Women often have difficulty in carrying out the right exercises for the pelvic zone and wearing heels could be the solution," she said.

"Like many women, I like high-heeled shoes," she added. "It's good to know they have potential health benefits."

Gill Brook, a women's health physiotherapist in Bradford, stressed the findings did not suggest that stilettos were a good thing for those keen on improving their pelvic floor function.

"But for women who like a slightly higher heel, these are reassuring findings - although we haven't yet done away with the need for regular exercises to maintain what is such an important part of the female body."

SEE ALSO
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