WHAT IS PIPES?
No we are not talking PLUMBING. Although, we are talking a little bit about female plumbing. We are going to talk about what are the important topics that you should be bringing up with your OBGYN at your annual appointment and at your 6-week postpartum check-up if you have recently had a baby. These are important topics relating to your pelvic health.
“P” is stands for PROLAPSE.Prolapse is when one or more pelvic organs starts to actually fall down into the vaginal canal. There are many different types of prolapse and many potential symptoms. Common prolapse symptoms can be:
- Seeing or feeling no bulge in the vaginal canal
- Feeling of pelvic pressure or heaviness,
- Having difficulty to being able to have a bowel movement
- Changes in your urinary habits.
- Urinary leakage issues.
“I” stands for INCONTINENCEIncontinence or leakage. Do you have any bladder leakage? Are you leaking when you cough, laugh, or sneeze? What about when you exercise, lift, run, or jump? When you have the strong urge to pee do you have trouble getting there in time? . If you are experiencing any type of leakage, whether it’s a few drops or whether it’s a Niagara falls talk you your healthcare provider about it. Bladder leakage is common but it is not normal and there are things you can do about it.
Don’t forget that incontinence also stands for a bowel incontinence. Are you unable to control your gas. Are you having fecal leakage? Is there smearing on your underwear? Do you have strong urges to poop and you can’t get there in time? If you are answering yes to any of these questions, talk to your healthcare provider.
Second “P” stands for PAINIf you are experiencing PAIN in the pelvic region, the vagina, the bladder, the rectal area, in the abdominal area, or low back, you should talk to your healthcare provider about it. PAIN is usually a sign that something’s going on and your body is trying to tell you something. So, don’t suffer in silence. Talk to your healthcare provider about the pain that your experiencing.
“E” stands for EXERCISEExercise falls into two categories. One is general level of exercise. Especially if you have just had a baby, you want to talk to your healthcare provider about what exercises are appropriate to return to.
Exercise also relates specifically to the pelvic floor muscles exercises. You want to have your gynecologist and/or women’s health physical therapist make sure that your pelvic floor muscles are working well. If your pelvic floor muscles are not working as well as they should be, a women’s health physical therapist can help you figure out how to improve pelvic muscle health.
“S” stands for “SEX” and for “SCAR”. You should be talking with your OBGYN about what’s going on in your sex life.. Are your dealing with pain with sex? Are you dealing with lack of libido? Have things change over time? Are you feeling vaginal dryness? Is sex not possible anymore because of pain or dryness? Having this conversation can really help you and your healthcare provider to figure out what might be some options to get that back to fun, enjoyable sex.
Scar tissue is a normal part of healing for our body, but sometimes scars can be painful, not moving well, and overly sensitive. If you have a episiotomy scar, c-section, hysterectomy, or other abdominal surgery, have your healthcare provider check the mobility of the scars and talk to them about any symptoms you are having.
Here is a quick recap for PIPES.
P is for Prolapse
I is for Incontinence
P is for Pain
E is for Exercise
S is for Sex and Scars
So there you have the topics that you should be talking about with your OBGYN at your postpartum check-up and at your annual gynecological exam to get the most out of your visit.