A cystocele is a type of pelvic organ prolapse that occurs when the bladder falls out of place and pushes against the wall of the vagina. This can cause several symptoms, including urinary incontinence, pain during sex, and a feeling of heaviness in the pelvis. While any woman can develop a cystocele, certain factors increase your risk. In this blog post, we will discuss some of those risk factors.
Let’s get started.
What is Cystocele?
A cystocele is a herniation of the bladder into the vagina. The term is derived from the Greek words for “bladder” (kystis) and “hernia” (kele). Cystoceles can range from mild to severe. In mild cases, there may be no symptoms. In more severe cases, cystoceles can cause urinary incontinence, frequency, urgency, pelvic pain, and difficulty urinating. For more health-related information, you must visit AskApollo.
Types of Cystoceles
Medical specialists grade cystoceles according to a system:
- The smallest type of cystocele, grade 1, occurs when the bladder protrudes minimally into the vagina.
- The moderate type, grade 2, has the bladder dropping to the vaginal entrance.
- The most severe kind, grade 3 cystocele, occurs when the bladder protrudes through the vaginal opening.
Your bladder & vaginal wall may lower to the point that they could potentially protrude through the entrance of the vagina if a cystocele is much more advanced.
The Signs and Symptoms of Cystocele
The most common cystocele symptoms include:
- Discomfort in the lower back & pelvis
- Urinary tract infections commonly
- Painful sex encounters
- Urinary incontinence or urine leaking
- Having trouble putting applicators or tampons in
- A sensation that something is oozing from the vagina
- Seeing an abdominal bulge
- Having trouble getting the pee to start flowing
- Urinating frequently or urgently
- Sensation as if one had not urinated enough
Causes of a Cystocele
Many different factors can contribute to the development of a cystocele. Some of the most common include:
- Pregnancy and childbirth: This is one of the most common causes of a cystocele. The increase in weight and pressure during pregnancy can weaken or damage the muscles and tissues supporting the bladder. This can cause them to sag or bulge into the vaginal canal.
- Menopause: The decrease in estrogen levels during menopause can also weaken the pelvic floor muscles and tissues. This can make it more difficult for them to support the bladder, increasing the risk of a cystocele.
- Obesity: Being overweight or obese can put extra pressure on the pelvic floor muscles and tissues, leading to a cystocele.
- Chronic cough: If you have a chronic cough, it can put additional strain on the pelvic floor muscles. This can weaken the muscles and tissues supporting the bladder, increasing the risk of a cystocele.
- Constipation: Straining during bowel movements can also strain the pelvic floor muscles. This can weaken the muscles and tissues supporting the bladder, increasing the risk of a cystocele.
How can a Cystocele be Treated?
If the cystocele is small, your healthcare provider may suggest:
- Kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles
- A pessary, is a ring that is inserted into the vagina to support the bladder
- Surgery to repair the prolapse
If you have a large cystocele, you may need surgery. The type of surgery will depend on how much tissue has prolapsed. It also depends on whether you have other problems with your urinary system. You and your healthcare provider will decide what treatment is best for you.
The Bottom Line
A cystocele is a hernia of the bladder that protrudes into the vagina. It’s also called a vaginal prolapse or a fallen bladder. A cystocele can occur when the tissues and muscles supporting your pelvic organs weaken or loosen, resulting in downward pressure on your bladder. This can cause your bladder to bulge into your vagina.