Like so many moms, Brooke Burke-Charvet, best known for her turn on Dancing With the Stars, was left with an embarrassing reminder after she delivered her four children--a leaky bladder. So now the actress has teamed up with gynecologist Dr. Jessica Shepherd and <a href="http://www.poise.com/" target="blank">Poise to share the pelvic floor exercises that really made a difference in her life. We caught up with the actress and Dr. Shepherd to get the lowdown on this super-easy way to stop these inconvenient leaks._
FFW: What is LBL?
Dr. Jessica Shepherd: LBL--or light bladder leakage--can strike at any time and for a number of different reasons. The most common form is a leaky bladder when you exercise or lift something heavy. But it can also be triggered by something as simple as laughing, coughing, or sneezing.
One helpful way to reduce leaks is to strengthen the muscles of your pelvic floor. You can do this with yoga, Pilates, tai chi, walking. But there are also pelvic floor exercises you can do. Finding a product that works is also very important when it comes to reducing leaks especially during workouts, which is why Poise Impressa is such a great, pad-free option.
FFW: Are pelvic floor exercises the same as Kegels?
Dr. Shepherd: Kegels are just one of the many exercises that can help strengthen the pelvic floor. Bridges, squats, dead bug crunches or side clamshells--all are great pelvic floor exercises.
FFW: At what age should women start doing these exercises? How often?
Brooke Burke-Charvet: I encourage every woman, regardless of age, to make time for themselves and I think exercise is one of the best ways to do that. Working out is a huge part of my life. I teach a Booty Burn class three times a week and share some of my workouts on Instagram and Twitter and am now working to help teach women how to engage core muscles and pelvic muscles. I've even made some easy-to-follow videos and put them up on YouTube.
FFW: What are the other benefits of having doing these pelvic floor exercises?
Dr. Shepherd: Strong pelvic floor muscles help improve bladder and bowel control. Plus, it can improve your sex life and help you avoid prolapse, a condition where your pelvic organs--including the rectum, bladder, and uterus--drop out of position and into your vagina.
FFW: For someone totally new to pelvic floor exercises, what's the simplest way to get started?
Brooke: Know you’re not alone. Millions of women, one in three actually, experience this issue! So as a first step learn more about LBL and check out these YouTube videos for tips and exercises. It's like anything else--sometimes the hardest thing is the first step, but this is such a simple solution for women. It’s important to empower and educate women so they understand what options are available to them to help confidently manage their bladder leaks and live the healthy, fit lives they want.