Cystocele (hernia of the bladder): Causes, description, Treatment

Pelvis | Urology | Cystocele (hernia of the bladder) (Disease)

Cystocele (hernia of the bladder): Description

A cystocele is a condition that occurs when the wall between a womans 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. Other names for cystocele include prolapse of the bladder, ‘fallen’ bladder and anterior vaginal wall prolapse.

Causes and Risk factors

There are two kinds of problems that can be cause by a bladder dropping from its normal position and those are: 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.

Risk factors include anything that puts pressure on the pelvic floor such as pregnancy and childbirth, regularly straining on the toilet to pass bowel motions, excess weight, smoking and chronic lung diseases with coughing. Repetitive lifting of children, or heavy weights at work or in the gym may also cause a cystocele. Some women have a strong family history of prolapse.

Cystocele (hernia of the bladder): Treatment and Diagnosis

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.

Surgery may be required in case of large cystoceles to move the bladder back into a more normal position and keep it there. This operation may be performed by a gynecologist, urologist or urogynecologist

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