Did you know that this is a special time of year to get the facts on a condition known as Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP)? It's been estimated that POP, and similar conditions to it, will occur in up to one-third of all women.
Prolapse impacts the organs of the pelvic floor, and this includes the bladder.
What is Bladder Prolapse?
Under normal conditions in women, the bladder is held in place by a "hammock" of supportive pelvic floor muscles and tissue. When these tissues are stretched and/or become weak, the bladder can drop and bulge through this layer and into the vagina. This results in bladder prolapse, also called cystocele. In severe cases, the prolapsed bladder can appear at the opening of the vagina.
Sometimes it can even protrude (drop) through the vaginal opening. Bladder prolapse is common in women. The symptoms of bladder prolapse can be bothersome but it can be treated.
What are the Symptoms of Bladder Prolapse?
The most common symptom is the feeling of a vaginal bulge. A bulge in the vagina is something you can see or feel. Other signs and symptoms that may be related to prolapse are:
- Frequent voiding or the urge to pass urine.
- Urinary incontinence (unwanted loss of urine).
- Not feeling relief right after voiding.
- Frequent urinary tract infections.
- Pain in the vagina, pelvis, lower abdomen, groin or lower back.
- Heaviness or pressure in the vaginal area.
- Sex that is painful.
- Tissue sticking out of the vagina that may be tender and/or bleeding.
It's important to note that some cases of prolapse may not cause any symptoms.
Bladder Prolapse Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment
Prolapse can develop for many reasons. The major cause is stress on this supportive "hammock" when giving birth. Women who have many pregnancies, deliver vaginally, or have long or difficult childbirth are at higher risk.
Prolapse can be found with a clinical history and a pelvic exam. The exam may be done while you are lying down, straining or pushing, or standing. Your health care provider may measure how serious the prolapse is and what parts of the vagina are falling. Visit our bladder prolapse treatment options webpage for more information.