As a woman, you may have heard of bladder prolapse or know someone it has happened to. Bladder prolapse is the falling or sagging of the pelvic organs into or through the vagina due to a weakened pelvic floor. In other words, as gravity pulls down on our internal organs they slip and fall out of place causing pain and discomfort for those who suffer from this problem. You may not know for sure if you’re at risk for bladder prolapse but there are some warning signs you should look out for such as changes in urinary patterns, pressure in the vagina, pain with intercourse or difficulty urinating – so read on if you want more information on this issue!
Bladder Prolapse, otherwise known as Cystocele, is one of multiple Pelvic Organ Prolapse disorders. Each prolapse type is categorized by the organ it impacts. Bladder Prolapse impacts the bladder, thus why it is called Bladder Prolapse. Other types of prolapse and the impact they have are listed below.
- Enterocele – Small intestine descends into the pelvis, pushing down at the top of the vagina
- Rectocele – Weakening of the tissue between the vagina and rectum
- Uterine – Uterus drops down into the vagina
What Causes Bladder Prolapse?
A prolapsed bladder occurs when the muscles and supportive tissues between a woman’s bladder and vagina weaken, letting it sag from its normal position. This can be the result of multiple causes, such as damage to the muscles and tissues that typically support the pelvic organs, keeping them inside the pelvis. Other causes can result from damage to the muscles and pelvic support system following childbirth, as well as the following:
- Heavy Lifting
- Chronic Coughing
- Having a hysterectomy
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Bladder Prolapse?
Surprisingly, there are some women who have a Pelvic Organ Prolapse, and do not experience any symptoms. On the contrary, there are women who can have just a mild prolapse, but express significant discomfort as a result of the disorder. Symptoms they can experience are as follows:
- Pelvic Pain or discomfort
- Urinary Incontinence
- A feeling or sensation that something is falling out of the vagina
- A feeling of pelvic heaviness or fullness
- Painful intercourse
- Difficult urination
How is Bladder Prolapse diagnosed?
If you have any of the above symptoms, it is important to make an appointment with your gynecologist, who will want to complete a pelvic exam, and possibly order additional diagnostic exams as well. During the pelvic exam, your physician will look for tissue bulging into the vagina. Upon confirmation of having a Bladder Prolapse, your physician will grade the severity of the prolapse based on how far the bladder has dropped into the vagina.
How is Bladder Prolapse Treated?
The treatment for Bladder Prolapse ranges from conservative management (such as pelvic floor physical therapy) to surgical management. If the patient has limited to no symptoms, and the prolapse is not severe, treatment may not be necessary. Rather, the patient will need to be cautious about the activities that exacerbate the prolapse, such as heavy lifting.
However, if the prolapse is creating disabling symptoms, and/or is severe, there are a number of non-surgical treatment options. One non-surgical and rather simple form of treatment is exercise and/or pelvic floor physical therapy. Another non-surgical option is the use of a pessary device. A pessary is a small medical device inserted into the vagina to assist in holding the bladder in place and relieve symptoms
If the above options do not work, although hope may seem lost, it is not. Dr. Praba Jeyalingam is a skilled gynecologic surgeon in the repair of Pelvic Floor Disorders, including Bladder Prolapse. Using a minimally invasive approach, there are multiple procedures Dr. Jeyalingam uses to correct Pelvic Organ Prolapse, such as Colporraphy and Sacropoplexy. Interested to learn more? Call today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Jey!