The bladder is a sac-like organ in the pelvis that stores urine. When the sac is full, we feel the urge to urinate. In case of women, the bladder is supported by the front wall of the vagina. This wall could lose its elasticity due to the stretching that it's subjected to, during the process of childbirth. This could cause the bladder to descend into the vagina. This condition is referred to as bladder prolapse or cystocele.
Many women affected by this condition describe the situation as if, a ball is placed in the vaginal canal. In case of a mild form of prolapse, the bladder may only lean on the wall of the vagina and its weight may push the wall inwards, causing a lot of difficulty. Some of the symptoms are:
- Discomfort or pain in the pelvic region
- The body tissue which is protruding from the vagina, may become tender and cause bleeding
- Difficulty at the time of urination
- She might feel the urge to urinate even after passing urine
- Urine leakage during actions such as sneezing, coughing, exertion, etc.
- Frequent bladder infections
- Pain during intercourse
- Back pain
In most women, after childbirth, the vaginal wall regains its strength over a period of time. However, in the case of women, who have given birth to many children, the vaginal wall may not regain its strength. These women are at the risk of developing this condition. Estrogen is a hormone responsible for the healthy vaginal muscles, tissues, and strong vaginal wall. The production of estrogen stops after menopause.
The weakened state of the muscles of the pelvic floor may cause the problem. This situation may arise in a person whose job involves lifting heavy objects. It could occur due to the pressure exerted due to straining during bowel movements. The strain caused by coughing for a long period of time or a long-standing constipation, may also affect the strength of the pelvic muscles.
The doctor may advise the patient to undergo estrogen replacement therapy. This is to improve the elasticity and tone of the vaginal wall. It also strengthens the muscles of the pelvic floor.
Before the option of surgery is considered, the doctor may prescribe pessary. It is a device to be inserted in the vaginal canal, to hold the bladder in its place and lessen the pressure on the walls. The patient can also perform 'Kegal' exercises. These exercises can help in strengthening the vaginal wall and the muscles in the pelvic area.
In severe cases, surgery might be recommended. During the procedure, an incision is made in the wall of the vagina and the organ is properly positioned. The wall is strengthened or reinforced to avoid recurrence of the problem in the future. After the recovery time of 6 weeks, the patient may regain full functionality.
A person who has undergone the surgery must avoid lifting heavy loads and tasks that may exert pressure on the bladder. With advancing age, the muscles in the body get weaker and lose their tone and strength. Hence, it is far better to seek professional advice right away on experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms.
Disclaimer: This HerHaleness article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.