An overview of bladder prolapse, or cystocele, from Dr. Mathews and our Dallas urogynecology office
Bladder prolapse is one type of pelvic organ prolapse. It is also referred to as anterior vaginal prolapse, a cystocele or a dropped bladder. Dr. J. Kyle Mathews diagnoses and treats bladder prolapse, as well as all types of pelvic organ prolapse, at his Dallas urogynecology office.
What is bladder prolapse?
Bladder prolapse occurs when the bladder drops or bulges into a woman’s vagina. It’s caused when the pelvic muscles and fascia, or connective tissue, weaken and stretch out, making them unable to support the bladder correctly, causing it to fall or droop.
What puts a woman at risk for developing bladder prolapse? There are two major risk factors: (1) straining muscles during a vaginal birth, and (2) aging, because the vaginal muscles and tissues have a tendency to weaken when the body stops producing estrogen.
Other risk factors include: being overweight or obese, which puts pressure on the muscles; repetitive heavy lifting; chronic constipation which causes straining; or lung problems that cause chronic coughing.
Women with mild cases of bladder prolapse may not experience any symptoms. Of course, many women who come to our Dallas urogynecology office experience disruptive symptoms that they should discuss with Dr. Mathews.
- Bulging at the vagina or a feeling that there is something falling from the vagina
- A heavy or full feeling in the pelvis
- Feeling the need to urinate frequently or urgently
- Feeling like the bladder is not completely empty
- Leaking urine when straining, laughing or coughing
- Problems getting urination to begin
Dr. Mathews performs the testing to diagnose bladder prolapse in his Dallas urogynecology office. Diagnosis begins with a thorough medical history and physical exam, which may be enough to make a diagnosis in some cases.
In other cases, Dr. Mathews may recommend different bladder tests, such as a voiding cystourethrogram. This test is an X-ray of the bladder conducted while the patient is urinating.
After making his diagnosis, Dr. Mathews will develop a treatment plan based on your symptoms and the severity of your bladder prolapse.
Lifestyle and non-surgical treatment
Women with mild cases of bladder prolapse may not need any treatment beyond avoiding heavy lifting. Dr. Mathews may also recommend doing Kegel exercises to strengthen pelvic floor muscles, and he may recommend that you see a physical therapist to learn how to do them properly.
Another non-surgical treatment is a pessary, which is a ring made of plastic or rubber, that you insert into your vagina to help support your bladder.
Surgical options for bladder prolapse
Dr. Mathews is an experienced surgeon, and he offers women expert care and up-to-date surgical procedures for bladder prolapse. Dr. Mathews’ surgical options for bladder prolapse have a 90 percent success rate, as opposed to a much lower success rate of 40 to 75 percent for more traditional methods used by many surgeons.
Patients with bladder prolapse will find the care and support they need at our Dallas urogynecology office. Contact us for an appointment.