We know that the bladder is a hollow organ in the pelvis which stores urine. The pressure which is created when the bladder fills the urine is the reason for the urge to urinate. We know that during the urination, the urine travels from the bladder and out of the body through urethra. The front wall of the vagina supports the bladder in women. As women are getting older, this wall can loosen or weaken. Also the childbirth is causing significant bodily stress which can damage this part of the vaginal wall.
If this is worsening a lot, then the bladder can be prolapsed which means that the bladder it is not longer supported and it descends into the vagina. This could lead to many problems, such as urinary stress, discomfort and difficulties (such as, urine leakage caused by exertion, coughing and sneezing). Prolapsed bladder is also known as cystoceles or fallen bladder. Also the prolapsed bladder can happen after heavy lifting, violent coughing or chronic constipation.
This problem tends to happen after menopause when the estrogen levels are decreasing. If you have mild to moderate prolapsed bladder, then it can be treated without surgery. When someone has more severe case of prolapsed bladder, then the surgery is needed to keep the vagina and other pelvic organs in their proper positions.
There are four grades of prolapsed bladder:
Mild (Grade 1)
In this grade only a small portion of the bladder drops in the vagina.
Moderate (Grade 2)
In this grade the bladder drops enough to be able to reach the opening of the vagina.
Severe (Grade 3)
In this grade the bladder protrudes from the body through the vaginal opening.
In this grade the entire bladder protrudes completely outside the vagina.
When you have mild case of prolapsed bladder, then you may not notice any signs or symptoms. When the signs and symptoms happen, then they can include:
- In severe cases, a bulge of tissue that protrudes through your vaginal opening and may feel like sitting on an egg
- Pain or urinary leakage during sexual intercourse
- Repeated bladder infections
- A feeling that you have not completely emptied your bladder after urinating
- You can have an increased discomfort when you cough, strain, bear down or lift
- You can have a feeling of fullness or pressure in your pelvis and vagina
The signs and symptoms of the prolapsed bladder often are especially noticeable after standing for long period and they can go away when you lie down. If your case is severe, then it can be uncomfortable. This can make your bladder emptying difficult and it could lead to bladder infections. You need to talk with your doctor as soon as possible if you notice some signs and symptoms of prolapsed bladder which bother you.
We know that the pelvic floor is made of connective tissues, ligaments and muscles which can support your bladder and other pelvic organs. The connection which is between your pelvic floor muscles and ligaments can weaken as we are getting older or it can be caused by a chronic straining of pelvic floor muscles or is a result of trauma from the childbirth. When this is happening, then the bladder can slip down lower than the normal and it can bulge into the vagina. Here are some possible causes of prolapsed bladder:
- A chronic cough or bronchitis
- Straining with bowel movements
- Repeated heavy lifting
- Being overweight or obese
- Pregnancy and vaginal childbirth
Here are some factors which can increase your risk of prolapsed bladder:
- Obesity: It is known fact that those women are obese or overweight are having increased chances of prolapsed bladder.
- Genetics: There are some women who are born with weaker connective tissue which is making them to have increased chances of getting prolapsed bladder.
- Hysterectomy: If your uterus is removed, then this can lead to weakness in the pelvic floor support.
- Aging: As you are getting older, you have increased chances of getting prolapsed bladder. This is especially happening after the menopause when the production of estrogen in your body is decreasing. It is known that the estrogen is helping to keep your pelvic floor strong.
- Childbirth: It is known that those women who have vaginally delivered one or more children have increased chances of getting prolapsed bladder.