A bladder prolapse is oftentimes referred to as a cystocele and can be a painful condition if left untreated.
If you start to experience symptoms that relate to a cystocele, it’s important that you’re able to identify what they are so that you can get the cystocele treated before the symptoms become more severe.
A cystocele is a type of prolapse that only occurs among women. This condition is very similar to a standard hernia that involves the vagina and bladder. The bladder can be found directly behind a woman’s vagina and is the place where urine is held before being discharged. If ever the bladder loses its shape, it’s possible for it to protrude directly into the vagina, which is when a cystocele fully forms.
Anything that causes your pelvic muscles to weaken can cause a cystocele to develop. The primary reasons that this condition occurs are obesity and multiple deliveries through the vagina. If you have a history of suffering from constipation or regularly lift heavy objects during your standard workout routine, these can contribute as well. Menopause can also place you at a higher risk of a cystocele. While not a direct cause of the condition, having a family history of cystoceles means that you will have a higher risk of being affected by this condition.
The symptoms pertaining to a cystocele can be mild or severe. Even if the symptoms start out as being mild, they will almost always worsen over time. The first symptoms that you’re likely to experience include feeling as though you still need to urinate after already doing so and having a fullness sensation within the vagina. Over time, these symptoms can develop into bladder infections or a form of urinary incontinence that’s brought about by stress. There are rare cases where the bladder will fall completely and push a substantial amount of tissue into the vagina.
Diagnosis & Treatment Options
When you tell your urologist about the symptoms that you’re experiencing, he or she will perform an extensive pelvic exam. You will also be asked questions about how heavily the symptoms are affecting your overall lifestyle. Your urine will likely be tested before additional bladder tests are done.
Once you’re diagnosed with a cystocele, treatment will begin. If the case is mild, you may simply be observed for a period of time to make sure that the symptoms dissipate on their own. Physical therapy could be recommended to help you strengthen your pelvic floor muscles so that you can better avoid this prolapse in the future. If the cystocele worsens even with these treatments, surgery could be required. The primary surgery involves a repair of the cystocele, which occurs in the vagina and makes use of sutures to hold some of the tissues in place.