Bladder prolapse or cystocele
A bladder prolapse, also known as a cystocele, occurs when the bladder drops into the vagina. This collapse causes the bladder to put pressure on the walls of the vagina, it can also cause the bladder to protrude out of the vagina. A cystocele is easily diagnosed during a physical exam especially if it is visible to the eye.
Bladder prolapse causes
There are several factors that may contribute to a cystocele. A common risk factor is multiple vaginal deliveries. Other factors include:
- Weak pelvic floor muscles
- Heavy lifting
- Chronic coughing
- Family history
- Chronic constipation
While these factors can contribute to a bladder prolapse, they do not mean a prolapse is inevitable.
Symptoms of a bladder prolapse
There are many symptoms associated with a cystocele, most obvious being the appearance of a vaginal bulge. Symptoms of cystocele are often mild and may not appear or cause problems for years, especially for women who have had vaginal deliveries. When symptoms are present they may include:
- A feeling of pressure in the vagina or pelvic region.
- Weak urinary stream.
- Frequent urination.
- Urgent urination.
- Urinary tract infection.
- Painful intercourse (Dyspareunia).
- The feeling of incomplete emptying after urinating.
- Urinary incontinence (involuntary release of urine).
- Fecal incontinence.
Bladder prolapse treatment
Typically, a cystocele is repaired with a simple surgical procedure conducted by a urologist. The surgeon makes a small incision in the vaginal wall and repairs loose or torn tissue that normally support the bladder. In addition, the surgeon may strengthen the vaginal wall through reconstruction to correct any issues of urinary incontinence. These repairs are performed while the patient is under general anesthesia, and is performed in a surgical center or hospital setting.
For many women, a cystocele may re-occur after another childbirth. For this reason, women should consider delaying surgery if they anticipate having more children.
If you are experiencing heaviness in the vagina, or other symptoms associated with bladder prolapse, contact Urology Austin to schedule an appointment.