In women the bladder is supported by the vaginal wall with the help of a supportive tissue. Prolapsed bladder, also known as cystocele occurs when this supportive tissue weakens, resulting in slacking of the bladder through the vagina.
The different stages of prolapsed bladder are:
- Mild: The bladder starts falling in the vagina.
- Moderate: The bladder reaches the opening of the vagina
- Severe: The bladder starts coming out from the vagina
- Complete: The entire bladder comes out from outside the vagina
Symptoms of prolapsed bladder
In the first stage, one would not notice any symptoms. As it progresses to the next stages, the symptoms experienced are:
- Feeling tissue like growth at the end of the vagina, especially while sitting. It might bleed
- Pelvic pain and vaginal pressure while standing for long time
- Lower back pain
- Incomplete voiding of the bladder, feel like urinating again immediately after visiting the toilet
- Stress incontinence- leakage of urine while coughing sneezing
- Frequent infection in bladder
Causes of prolapsed bladder
Weakness in the pelvic muscles is the main reason behind bladder prolapse in women. They reasons and risk factors are:
- With age: drop in estrogen levels, precisely after menopause
- After normal delivery of baby
- Side effect of hysterectomy – removal of uterus
- Straining while bowel movement due to chronic constipation
- Lifting heavy objects
Diagnosis of prolapsed bladder
Your doctor will conduct a pelvic exam to check the bulging out bladder from the vagina. A test known as voiding cystourethrogram would be performed to detect the anatomy of the bladder and the cause of your urinary problems.
Apart from this, your doctor will enquire about your pregnancy, history of medical conditions, medicines and evaluate the symptoms generally.
Since, the symptoms as associated with urination as well, you have to undergo a few more bladder tests and urodynamics study.
Another test known as cystoscopy might also be considered by your doctor as it helps to determine the options for treatment as well.
Treatment of prolapsed bladder
In the first stage, your doctor would not recommend any form of treatment but will rather explain you certain precautions that would prevent the bladder from further protruding out. For example: you should avoid straining or lifting heavy objects. Laxatives might be given to ward off constipation.
Two measures are opted for to manage the protrusion of the bladder i.e. for stage mild cases:
- Pessary is a ring made of plastic or rubber is inserted inside the vagina to hold the bladder back. Your doctor would show you how to use the pessary.
- The second option is estrogen therapy which is usually performed on menopausal women and it is given in the form of cream or pills. Boosting estrogen levels help to strengthen the supportive tissues.
Severely prolapsed bladder is treated with surgery to secure the bladder in its original position. It involves incising, stitching and closing of the prolapsed along with strengthening the wall of the vagina.
Along with that, your doctor might recommend several other physiological techniques like Kegel exercises, electrical stimulation, and biofeedback therapy to strengthen the muscles and manage symptoms like urinary or stress incontinence.
Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: September 28, 2014