A prolapsed bladder, a form of pelvic organ prolapse, is fairly common, believed to affect 40% of women over 501 . However, many may be confused as to what this condition actually entails, the effects it can have on your life, and how it is treated. Read on to find out more.
What is a prolapsed bladder?
Pelvic organ prolapse is when one or more of the pelvic organs (uterus, bowel, bladder, or top of the vagina) move from their normal position and bulge into the vagina2. Also known as cystocele, prolapsed bladderisn’t life-threatening, but it can cause pain and discomfort4 . Symptoms include:
- Swelling in the vagina that you can see or feel
- Frequent urination or the urge to wee
- Not feeling relief after going to the toilet
- Recurrent UTIs
- Vagina, pelvis, lower abdomen, groin, or lower back pain
- Feeling of heaviness or pressure in the vaginal area
- Painful sex
- Tender orbleeding tissue sticking out of the vagina3
If you have any concerns, iD recommends you talk to your healthcare provider.
Causes and diagnosis of cystocele
The most common factors associated with a prolapsed bladder are:
- Childbirth, as the delivery process stresses the vaginal tissues and muscles that support the bladder.
- Menopause, when oestrogen, the hormone that maintains the health of the vagina muscles, is not produced after menopause.
- Straining, such as lifting heavy objects, straining during bowel movements, a long-term condition involving coughing or long-term constipation, which may impact the pelvic floor muscles5.
A doctor may be able to diagnose a prolapsed bladder with a straightforward vaginal exam6 .They may also perform certain tests, including urodynamics, which measures the bladder’s ability to hold and release urine,and a cystoscopy, which is a long tube-like instrument that is passed through the urethra to examine the bladder and urinary tract for irregularities7
Treatment and management of a prolapsed bladder
There are many ways to manage and treat cystocele, including:
- No treatment – some people find that their bladder prolapse doesn’t cause unpleasant symptoms. In this case, treatment is not necessary
- Pelvic floor exercises to strengthen the muscles around the bladder
- A pessary to support the vagina
- Oestrogen replacement therapy
- Various surgical options, if deemed appropriate by a medical professional 8.
If you experience leaks due to cystocele, continence products may be an effective solution. To stay comfortable and fresh, why not try iD Pants? Available in a range of absorbencies, these discreet, disposable knickers are made from breathable material with an odour control feature. If your leaks are a little heavier, the iD Slip range is a great option; this all-in-one product features wetness indicator lines to let you know when to change your product. Plus, the anti-leak cuffs and waist elastic ensure a secure fit with a high level of absorption.
1 “A survey of prolapse practice in UK women’s health physiotherapists: what has changed in the last decade?”, Suzanne Hagen, Diane Stark and Isla Dougall, 17 October 2015, Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4819739/
2 “Pelvic organ prolapse”, NHS, 24 March 2021, Source: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pelvic-organ-prolapse/
3 “What is Bladder Prolapse?”, Urology Care Foundation, n.d., Source: https://www.urologyhealth.org/urology-a-z/b/bladder-prolapse-(cystocele)
4 “Pelvic organ prolapse”, NHS, 24 March 2021, Source: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pelvic-organ-prolapse/
5 “Prolapsed Bladder”, Jennifer Robinson, 27 October 2020, Source: https://www.webmd.com/women/prolapsed-bladder
6 “Cystocele (Fallen Bladder)”, Cleveland Clinic medical professional, 15 July 2019, Source: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15468-cystocele-fallen-bladder
8 “What is Bladder Prolapse?”, Urology Care Foundation, n.d., Source: https://www.urologyhealth.org/urology-a-z/b/bladder-prolapse-(cystocele)