Prolapsed Bladder: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment

Overview

A prolapsed bladder occurs when a woman’s vagina wall is damaged, causing the bladder to drop into the vagina. The condition, also called cystoceles or fallen bladder, is often associated with menopause. After menopause, women’s bodies stop creating as much estrogen as before, which may lead to muscles weakness in and around the vagina.

Since the condition occurs specifically in the bladder, a hollow organ in the pelvis that stores urine, women with prolapsed bladder often experience symptoms related to urination.

According to the statistics, about 35% to 50% of women have pelvic organ prolapse.

Causes

A prolapsed bladder happens mainly because of the weakness of a woman’s muscles and supportive tissues in and around the bladder and vagina. Usually, as women grow old, their muscles and supportive tissues naturally become weaker. But there are other factors too that increase the risk of getting a prolapsed bladder:

  • Vaginal childbirth
  • Constipation
  • Heavy lifting
  • Repetitive straining for bowel movements
  • Overweight
  • Chronic or violent coughing
  • Straining

Symptoms

Women with a prolapsed bladder can experience different symptoms according to the severity of their conditions. For women with a mild prolapsed bladder, they may show no signs or symptoms. While for others, they may experience the following symptoms:

  • Discomfort or pain in the pelvis
  • Tissue protruding from the vagina
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Trouble emptying the bladder after urinating
  • Stress incontinence
  • More frequent bladder infections
  • Painful intercourse
  • Low back pain
  • A sensation of pelvic heaviness or fullness
  • Incomplete urination

If you have the above-described symptoms, you should go to the hospital and get a definite diagnosis so that the situation will not get any worse.

Diagnosis

To confirm a diagnosis, the doctor may need several procedures. At first, the doctor will conduct a physical examination to check the patient’s symptoms. Then, medical tests will usually be ordered, including:

  • A bladder ultrasound

A bladder ultrasound uses a transducer to produce detailed images of a woman’s bladder. The images will show the amount of urine left in the woman’s bladder after she urinates. If the amount of urine left in the bladder is more than 100mL, it normally suggests that the woman who receives the test has trouble emptying her bladder. This whole procedure is painless.

  • Catheter examination

Besides a bladder ultrasound, the doctor may use a catheter to measure the amount of urine left in the bladder. By inserting the catheter into the bladder, the doctor can find out whether the woman has a problem emptying her bladder or not.

  • A voiding cystourethrogram

A voiding cystourethrogram is an X-ray exam of the bladder. This procedure can produce images of the bladder shape, enabling the doctor to check if there are any problems.

With the above test results, the doctor can confirm a diagnosis and provide a treatment plan accordingly.

Treatment

Based on the severity of the condition, the patient with a prolapsed bladder will receive different medical care so as to maximize the treatment effects.

Non-surgical treatment

For patients with mild prolapsed bladder, the doctor may advise them to avoid heavy lifting and straining as long as the situation does not get any worse and the symptoms do not cause much trouble.

The doctor may recommend the following non-surgical treatment methods:

  • Pelvic muscle exercises
  • Pessary
  • Estrogen replacement therapy

Surgical treatment

However, if the symptoms do cause inconvenience for the patient’s life, the doctor may recommend surgery to manage the situation. A prolapsed bladder surgery is usually performed through the vagina.


Keywords: prolapsed bladder; cystoceles; fallen bladder.

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What are the Causes of Bladder Pain?

What Can I Do to Stop Frequent Urination?

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What are the Causes of Frequent Urination Night?

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.