The bladder, an organ in the pelvic region, stores your urine. When your bladder is full with urine you will feel a pressure in this area causing you to want to urinate. A women’s vaginal front wall gives the bladder support. This wall becomes loose as one get older and in a weakened condition. Childbirth can also cause this to happen due to the pressure and/or strain.
If this damage is severe enough, the bladder prolapses (drops) into the vagina. The result of this action is urinary incontinence, difficulties with urination, and/or an uncomfortable feeling. There are varying degrees of this cystocele, which are based on grades 1-4, with 4 being the most severe.
The causes of a cystocele or prolapsed bladder are childbirth, the most common, due to stress on the muscles, straining, either during physical exertion or with stool passage, or menopause, due to estrogen deficiency.
The symptoms of a prolapsed bladder are a tissue sensation in the vaginal area or appearing out of the vagina, with or without bleeding, dysuria, incontinence when sneezing or laughing, a fullness in the bladder, frequency of bladder infections, pain upon intercourse, and pain in the lower back region.
Treatment of a prolapsed bladder is based on the degree of severity. A grade 1 or mild case generally causes no pain and can just be monitored. Likely, a restriction on lifting and/or straining should be practiced. Treatment for more severe cases is based on several factors, such as preferred treatment from the sufferer, age, health, and/or severity.
A pessary, which is an object that supports the vagina, is sometimes used as a nonsurgical form of treatment, in addition to or in place of hormone treatment with estrogen usage.
It is also recommended for all women to regularly practice Kegel exercises. Kegel exercises done routinely will help the pelvic floor muscles to tighten up. This will help to prevent a prolapsed bladder from occurring. Lifting of heavy objects is strongly discouraged as well.
As well, prevention of a prolapsed bladder is dependent upon practices, such as adequate daily fluid intake, and a high dose of fiber daily in the diet. This will prevent a person from becoming constipated, which puts undue strain on the bladder. Maintaining the proper weight is also recommended, as obesity is a risk factor in the development of a prolapsed bladder.
Most of the time a prolapsed bladder can be treated conservatively and without treatment. A surgical procedure of the more severe type of a prolapsed bladder is corrected without difficulty with a surgical procedure. A prolapsed bladder is, of course, an uncomfortable condition; however, it is not a life-threatening condition only in the rarest of cases.
Lehigh Valley Health Network: Prolapsed Bladder
Urology Associates: Prolapsed Bladder
University of California Medical Center: Prolapse treatment