A vesicovaginal fistula is an abnormal connection between the bladder and the vagina.
A fistula is essentially a connection between two body parts that should not be there. When this occurs, a range of problems can occur until the opening has been properly closed. A regular leakage of urine is the most commons symptom. Other possible symptoms include:
Though not a common cause, it’s possible for a problematic childbirth or a previous sexual trauma to be the cause of this fistula. However, most of these fistulas occur because of trauma caused by a disease or prior medical procedure. For example, common causes for this condition include an injury from a car accident, a tear while were giving birth, pelvic surgery, pelvic radiation, or cancer of the bladder, cervix, or vagina.
A diagnosis will usually start with a pelvic exam, which is typically followed by a cystoscope exam and CT scan to rule out other conditions and to make sure that no additional fistulas are present. If a diagnosis is still proving difficult, there are a range of other tests that might be recommended, which extend from a fistulogram to a retrograde pyelogram.
Potential Treatment Options
If you’ve been diagnosed with a vesicovaginal fistula, it’s possible that the only treatment necessary is the continued usage of a Foley catheter, which helps to drain urine. Small fistulas can sometimes be sealed through non-surgical treatment methods. However, the majority of fistulas will require surgery to be effectively treated. The surgery can be performed within the abdomen or directly in the vagina, the latter of which is known as a transvaginal surgery.