- Cystocele (Fallen Bladder) Center
- Urinary Incontinence in Women Slideshow Pictures
- Urinary Incontinence in Men Slideshow Pictures
- Food & Drinks That Make You Gotta Go Slideshow Pictures
- Patient Comments: Cystocele - Treatments
- Find a local Urologist in your town
*Cystocele (Fallen Bladder) Facts by John P. Cunha, DO, FACOE
- A cystocele occurs when the wall between a woman's bladder and her vagina weakens and allows the bladder to droop into the vagina.
- Symptoms of a cystocele include urine leakage and incomplete emptying of the bladder.
- Causes of cystocele include muscle straining during childbirth, straining from heavy lifting, repeated straining during bowel movements, and menopause.
- Treatment ranges from no treatment for a mild cystocele to surgery for a serious cystocele. A pessary (a device placed in the vagina to hold the bladder in place) may be recommended.
What is a cystocele?
A cystocele occurs when the wall between a woman's bladder and her vagina weakens and allows the bladder to droop into the vagina. This condition may cause discomfort and problems with emptying the bladder.
A bladder that has dropped from its normal position may cause two kinds of problems -- unwanted urine leakage and incomplete emptying of the bladder. In some women, a fallen bladder stretches the opening into the urethra, causing urine leakage when the woman coughs, sneezes, laughs, or moves in any way that puts pressure on the bladder.
A cystocele is mild -- grade 1 -- when the bladder droops only a short way into the vagina. With a more severe - grade 2 - cystocele, the bladder sinks far enough to reach the opening of the vagina. The most advanced -- grade 3 -- cystocele occurs when the bladder bulges out through the opening of the vagina.
What causes a cystocele?
A cystocele may result from muscle straining while giving birth. Other kinds of straining -- such as heavy lifting or repeated straining during bowel movements -- may also cause the bladder to fall. The hormone estrogen helps keep the muscles around the vagina strong. When women go through menopause -- that is, when they stop having menstrual periods -- their bodies stop making estrogen, so the muscles around the vagina and bladder may grow weak.
Quick GuideMale Incontinence Pictures: Treat and Manage the Condition
How is a cystocele diagnosed?
A doctor may be able to diagnose a grade 2 or grade 3 cystocele from a description of symptoms and from physical examination of the vagina because the fallen part of the bladder will be visible. Other tests may be needed to find or rule out problems in other parts of the urinary system.
How is a cystocele treated?
Treatment options range from no treatment for a mild cystocele to surgery for a serious cystocele. If a cystocele is not bothersome, the doctor may only recommend avoiding heavy lifting or straining that could cause the cystocele to worsen. If symptoms are moderately bothersome, the doctor may recommend a pessary -- a device placed in the vagina to hold the bladder in place. Pessaries come in a variety of shapes and sizes to allow the doctor to find the most comfortable fit for the patient. Pessaries must be removed regularly to avoid infection or ulcers.
Large cystoceles may require surgery to move and keep the bladder in a more normal position. This operation may be performed by a gynecologist, a urologist, or a urogynecologist. The most common procedure for cystocele repair is for the surgeon to make an incision in the wall of the vagina and repair the area by tightening the layers of tissue that separate the organs, creating more support for the bladder. The patient may stay in the hospital for several days and take 4 to 6 weeks to recover fully.
For More Information
American Urological Association Foundation
1000 Corporate Boulevard
Linthicum, MD 21090
Phone: 1–866–RING–AUA (746–4282) or 410–689–3700
Email: [email protected]
Daily Health News
Women's Health Resources
Subscribe to MedicineNet's Women's Health Newsletter
SOURCE: National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse, National Institutes of Health (www.nih.gov). Last update: 8/1/2007
Top Cystocele (Fallen Bladder) Related Articles
Bladder PictureThe urinary bladder is a muscular sac in the pelvis, just above and behind the pubic bone. See a picture of the Bladder and learn more about the health topic.
HydronephrosisHydronephrosis describes swelling of the kidney resulting from the inability of urine to drain from the kidney into the bladder. This may be a normal variant or it may be due to an underlying illness or medical condition. Symptoms of acute hydronephrosis may include:
- intense flank or back pain radiating to the groin,
- bloody urine,
- sweating, and
- colicky pain, which may cause the person to writhe or roll around or pace in pain.
Labor and DeliveryLabor signs can be very distinct for pregnant women. It is not possible to know what causes labor to start or when exactly it will start, but changes that indicate the beginning of labor include:
- passing of the mucus plug,
- breaking the bag of water, and
- effacement and dilation of the cervix.
MenopauseMenopause is the time in a woman's life when menstrual periods permanently stop, also called the "change of life." Menopause symptoms include hot flashes, night sweats, irregular vaginal bleeding, vaginal dryness, painful intercourse, urinary incontinence, weight gain, and emotional symptoms such as mood swings. Treatment of menopausal symptoms varies, and should be discussed with your physician.
Urinary Incontinence in WomenMillions of women suffer from urinary incontinence (UI). UI occurs twice as often in women as in men. There are many types of urinary incontinence: stress incontinence, urge incontinence, overactive bladder, functional incontinence, overflow incontinence, transient incontinence, and mixed incontinence.
Urinary RetentionUrinary retention (inability to urinate) may be caused by nerve disease, spinal cord injury, prostate enlargement, infection, surgery, medication, bladder stone, constipation, cystocele, rectocele, or urethral stricture. Symptoms include discomfort and pain. Treatment depends upon the cause of urinary retention.
Urodynamic TestingUrodynamic testing evaluates the ability of the urethra, sphincters, and bladder to hold and expel urine. The following are urodynamic tests: electromyography, pressure flow study, cystometric testing, uroflowmetry, postvoid residual measurement, leak point pressure measurement, and video urodynamic tests.
Women's HealthWomen's health is an important topic area to guide a woman through the stages of her life, as well as knowing the conditions and diseases that may occur. Educating yourself so that the transitions into different phases of life is key to a healthy, happy, and productive life.