[Originally published: November 26, 2019. Updated: 1st February 2023.]
The front wall of the vagina that supports the bladder in women can become loose or weak with age. Prolapsed bladder causes and treatment examines how bodily stress like childbirth can destroy your vaginal wall and the treatment available.
There are four grades of prolapsed bladders depending on how far down the bladder descends into your vagina.
- Grade 1: Mild. Only a small portion of the bladder descends into your vagina.
- Grade 2: Moderate. The bladder descends enough to reach the opening of your vagina.
- Grade 3: Severe. The bladder comes out through your vaginal opening.
- Grade 4 : Complete: The entire bladder is completely outside your vagina. This is normally linked with other forms of pelvic organ prolapse (uterine prolapse, rectocele, enterocele).
While a prolapsed bladder is rarely a life-threatening condition, you should see a doctor if you notice symptoms of a prolapsed bladder. The doctor will evaluate you in order to prevent problematic symptoms and complications. Since prolapsed organs often get worse over time if not treated, you need prompt correction of a prolapsed bladder.
The following causal factors are usually linked with a prolapsed bladder:
This is the main cause of a prolapsed bladder. The child delivery process stresses the vaginal tissues and muscles, which support your bladder.
Estrogen, a hormone that helps maintain the strength and health of muscles in your vagina ceases after menopause.
Lifting heavy objects, straining during bowel movements, coughing long-term. Or having long-term constipation, may damage the muscles of your pelvic floor.
Prolapsed bladder causes and treatment also include a series of symptoms that manifest. The first is the presence of a tissue-like ball in the vagina.
Other symptoms of a prolapsed bladder include:
- Discomfort or pain in your pelvis
- Tissue protruding from the vagina, which may be tender and bleed.
- Difficulty urinating
- A feeling that your bladder is not empty immediately after urinating
- Stress incontinence
- More frequent bladder infections
- Painful intercourse (dyspareunia)
- Low back pain
A mild prolapsed bladder with no pain or discomfort needs no medical or surgical treatment. In more serious cases, doctors consider the woman’s age, overall wellness, desired treatment, and the severity of the prolapsed bladder.
A pessary is a device placed inside the vagina to hold the bladder in place. Pessaries must be taken out and cleaned regularly to prevent infection. Some pessaries allow the woman to take out and clean herself. For other types, a doctor performs the removal and cleaning functions. Estrogen cream is commonly used along with a pessary to help prevent infection and vaginal wall erosion.
Estrogen replacement therapy (ERT)
ERT is of benefit to many women with prolapsed bladders. This is because estrogen helps strengthen and maintain muscles in the vagina. Furthermore, estrogen can be administered orally as a pill or topically as a patch or cream. The application of estrogens to the front of the vagina and urethral area may help to remove urinary symptoms, such as urgency and frequency.
Surgery is needed for severely prolapsed bladders that cannot be managed with a pessary. Surgery is often done through the vagina to secure the bladder in its correct position. An incision is made in your vagina wall to repair the bladder. The prolapsed area is closed and the wall is strengthened.
After surgery, most women can expect to return to a normal level of activity after six weeks. However, surgeons may recommend a reduction or elimination of activities that cause straining for up to six months.
A high-fiber diet and a daily intake of plenty of fluids can reduce your risk of developing constipation and prevent a prolapsed bladder. But, women with long-term constipation should seek medical attention in order to lessen the chance of developing a prolapsed bladder.
Straining during bowel movements and heavy objects lifting should also be avoided.
Obesity is a risk factor for developing a prolapsed bladder. Hence weight management may help prevent this condition.
Photo Credit: Creative Commons