Cystocele

A cystocele is caused by the weakening and stretching of the supportive tissue situated between a woman’s bladder and vaginal wall. This in turn results in the bulging of the bladder into the vagina. A cystocele is also known as a Prolapsed bladder. A cystocele can also be referred to as an anterior prolapse it causes the stretching of the anterior vaginal wall and the protrusion of the bladder into the vagina.

Causes:

  • Extreme strain on the muscles that support the pelvic organs.

  • Strain caused during vaginal childbirth, chronic constipation, violent cough or lifting heavy objects.

  • Aging: Problems resulting from menopause, due to the decrease in estrogen levels.

  • Having a hysterectomy or removal of the uterus

  • Genetic problems such as weak connective tissues

Symptoms:

  • Experiencing pressure in your pelvis and vagina, particularly when you have been standing for a prolonged period of time

  • Feeling great discomfort when you strain, cough or lift heavy objects

  • Tissue that protrudes or bulges through the opening of the vagina

  • Experiencing the sensation that you haven’t emptied your bladder completely even after urinating

  • Repeated cases of bladder infection

  • Severe pain or leaking of urine during sexual intercourse

Tests and Diagnosis:

  • A pelvic exam to diagnose pelvic organ Prolapse.

  • Bladder and urine tests to check for symptoms of a bladder infection

Treatment:

Treatment generally depends on the severity of your cystocele and whether are suffering from any associated conditions, such as a prolapsed uterus. Mild cases generally don’t require treatment. You could occasionally visit your doctor to examine the condition of your Prolapse, at the same time adopting certain self-care measures, such as exercises for strengthening the pelvic floor muscles.

However, if self-care measures do not prove effective, then your doctor may recommend either these methods:

Pessary: A vaginal pessary refers to a plastic or rubber ring which is inserted into the vagina for supporting the bladder. Most women use pessaries as a temporary option to surgery.

Estrogen therapy: Estrogen, generally a vaginal cream, pill or ring, could be used if you have already undergone menopause. Estrogen strengthens the pelvic muscles that tend to weaken after menopause.

Surgery:

In case you have symptoms that are causing great pain and discomfort, the Cystocele might require surgery.

Generally, the surgery is performed vaginally. This procedure involves lifting your prolapsed bladder and restoring it to its normal position, eliminating extra tissue, and tightening the muscles of the pelvic floor. A special kind of tissue graft is used for strengthening the vaginal tissues and to enhance support if the vaginal tissues are extremely thin.

For a cystocele related with a prolapsed uterus, the doctor may recommend removal of the uterus (hysterectomy). This is done along with repairing the pelvic floor muscles, ligaments and other tissues.