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Prolapsed Bladder

The bladder is a hollow gland which stores urine and can be found in the pelvis. When the bladder is full urine, then it creates pressure which in turns causes the desire to pass urine. The urine then goes from the bladder and passes out of the body during urination, via the urethra.

In women, the bladder is supported by the front wall of the vagina. With an increase in age, this wall can loosen or weaken. Increased stress on the body like delivery of a child can also cause deterioration of this area of the vaginal wall. When the wall is substantially damage, then it can result in a prolapsed bladder, signifying the wall does not support the bladder any longer, and that it has descended into the vagina. This can trigger the onset of various issues, including discomfort, urination difficulties and leakage of urine due to exertion, sneezing or coughing, etc.

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Prolapsed bladders are normally related with menopause. Before the onset of menopause, the muscles in the vagina and surrounding it are relatively strong due to the secretion of the hormone estrogen by a woman’s body. After menopause, the levels of estrogen are significantly depleted causing the muscles to become weak.

Prolapsed Bladder Symptoms

  • The first sign of a prolapsed bladder that is normally observed by affected women is the occurrence of a tissue in the vagina which several women explain as something which feels similar to a ball

Some of the other signs and symptoms of a prolapsed bladder are as follows:

  • Pain or discomfort in the pelvic region
  • Urination difficulties
  • Tissue projecting out from the vagina. This tissue may bleed and may be tender to touch
  • Pain in the lower back
  • Sensations of incomplete voiding of urine, wherein women with prolapsed bladders may feel that the bladder is not fully empty even after urination.
  • Bladder infections which are more frequent
  • Stress incontinence, for example leakage of urine when coughing, sneezing, or exertion
  • Dyspareunia or pain during sexual intercourse
  • A few women may not notice or elicit signs of a grade 1 or mild prolapsed bladder.

Causes of a prolapsed bladder

Some of causes of a prolapsed bladder are discussed below:

  • Menopause: As discussed earlier, the stoppage of estrogen hormone production post menopause can cause prolapsed bladder
  • Delivery of a child: This is considered as the most common reason for a prolapsed bladder. The process of childbirth leads to extreme stress on the vaginal muscles and tissues, which are responsible for holding the bladder in place.
  • Strain: The muscles occurring in the pelvic floor may be damaged due to strenuous activities such as straining at the time of bowel movements, lifting heavy materials, suffering from a prolonged case of constipation or due to presence of a chronic condition involving coughing

Prolapsed Bladder Treatment

  • Mild or grade 1 cases of prolapsed bladders that do not result in discomfort or pain normally do not need any surgical or medical treatment. In such cases, a doctor generally recommends the patients to refrain from strenuous activities or heavy lifting.
  • Also, a physician may also suggest Kegel exercises, which are exercises done to tighten and strengthen the muscles present in the pelvic floor. Kegel exercises can also be recommended in moderate cases of a prolapsed bladder or as a supplement for other serious cases of the condition.
  • Also, estrogen in the topical or oral form may be suggested to treat the symptoms of mild instances of prolapsed bladder, such as incontinence and vaginal weakening.
  • Severe cases of prolapsed bladders are treated after taking into account different factors such as the affected woman’s general health, the age, the severity of the condition as well as the treatment method preferred by the patient.
  • Some of the nonsurgical ways to treat a prolapsed bladder are as follows:
    • Estrogen replacement therapy is a great way for women to overcome the effects of a prolapsed bladder. The muscles in the vagina become stronger and are kept maintained due to the estrogen gained b the therapy. Women with some forms of cancers cannot opt for this therapy
    • Pessary: It is a gadget that is placed inside the vagina to put the bladder back in its place. However, a pessary has to be regularly cleaned to avoid infections. Some pessaries can be cleaned by the patients themselves, while others have to be removed and cleaned by a doctor.
    • Extreme cases of prolapsed bladders which cannot be managed with the aid of a pessary, have to be corrected via surgery. The surgery to treat a prolapsed bladder is normally carried out via the vagina, with the aim of the treatment being securing the bladder back into the right place. An incision in the vaginal wall is necessary to repair the prolapsed bladder. The affected area is then closed and the wall is fortified.
    • The cost of prolapsed bladder surgery can be $6000 to $8000 and may vary from hospital to hospital. Full recovery period is about 6-7 weeks.
    • Physical therapy such as biofeedback and electrical stimulation may also be suggested by various doctors to aid the process of pelvic muscles strengthening and thus help in the treatment of a prolapsed bladder.
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