A bladder is a hollow organ that stores urine and is located in the pelvic region. As the urine fills the bladder, the pressure caused by it develops the urge to urinate and the urine flows out from the bladder, and eventually, the body through the urethra.
In women, the bladder is supported by the front vaginal wall. Due to various reasons (childbirth, age, etc) this vaginal wall tends to get weakened or loose. This weakened vaginal wall causes the bladder to descend into the vagina and cause various complications, such as:
The severity of the prolapse is basically categorized into:
This condition is usually associated with the onset of menopause. Before menopause, a woman's body produces the female hormone 'estrogen' which is helpful in maintaining the strength of the vaginal muscles and can support the bladder sufficiently. However, as the production of estrogen in the body stops the vaginal muscles tend to become weak gradually.
These are the factors that are mostly associated with causing a prolapsed bladder:
The most beginning sign of a prolapsed bladder in women is the presence of extra tissue in the vagina.
Other common symptoms include:
The most basic diagnostic test for a suspected case of prolapsed bladder is a pelvic exam which is used to examine the female pelvic region and the genitalia.
The doctor may also advise a cystourethrogram, which is a series of x-ray images taken during urination. This assists in searching for inconsistencies in the bladder and the urethra.
Abdominal x-rays might also be recommended to rule out other possible causes, such as injuries to the abdomen.
Cystoscopy, a minimally invasive diagnostic imaging test, uses a small tube attached with a video camera which is inserted into the bladder through the vaginal opening and into the bladder to view the detailed image on the video monitor.
Grade 1 and Grade 2 prolapsed bladders are usually successfully treated with the use of non-surgical treatments such as estrogen therapy or medications. However, the more severe form of prolapsed bladders needs surgical intervention to correct them.
The surgery is performed through the vaginal opening and the aim of the procedure is to secure the bladder to its natural position. The surgeon is required to make an incision in the vaginal wall to push the bladder back into its normal place. The surgeon will then close the prolapsed area and strengthen the wall.
There are various choices of materials that can be used as support to strengthen the weakened vaginal wall.
A prolapsed bladder surgery for mild and moderate (Grade 1 and Grade 2) prolapse is usually performed as an outpatient procedure and the patient is allowed to go home the very day. However, patients with severe prolapse bladder surgery are able to leave the hospital in a couple of days after the pelvic soreness wears off. Normal daily activities can be resumed usually after 4-6 weeks, however, straining activities should be avoided for the next six months.
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