Women's Health: Bladder Prolapse Explained

Posted on: 13 June 2023

Women who've had children and older women are at an increased risk of developing bladder prolapse than their childless peers. This urological condition can develop when the ligaments around your reproductive organs and the muscles of your pelvic floor weaken. This can reduce the support around your bladder and cause it to drop down out of its regular position. Depending on the severity of the prolapse, the bladder may take up some space in the vaginal cavity, or it may protrude outside of the vagina. Bladder prolapse can be embarrassing and painful, but some women are reluctant to seek a formal diagnosis and access treatment due to feeling uncomfortable discussing the problem. Rest assured, your doctor is not fazed by prolapses, and treatment can be very effective.

Symptoms Of A Bladder Prolapse

Bladder prolapse can make intercourse painful, and you may also experience a feeling of fullness in your pelvic area. It's not uncommon to feel the need to urinate more frequently, and urination may be painful and feel incomplete. You may also experience leaks when coughing and sneezing, and some women experience mild fever, fatigue and lower back pain.

Diagnosing And Treating Bladder Prolapse

An internal exam will be required to treat bladder prolapse. This exam requires you to be in the same position you would assume for a Pap smear, and your doctor will insert two fingers into your vagina to try and establish how severe the prolapse is. You may also require a CT scan or MRI to get a better idea of the size of the prolapse and whether there is any damage to the surrounding tissues.

Mild prolapses can be treated with a rubber ring insert. This is secured in place within the upper vaginal cavity and supports the bladder to prevent any further movement. Strengthening the pelvic floor can also prevent a mild prolapse from worsening and support the bladder. You can do this through targeted exercises, which a physiotherapist can show you, or with oestrogen replacement therapy. Severe prolapses may require surgical intervention. Surgery will involve securing the bladder in its correct position using surgical mesh or using intravaginal stitches to tighten the pelvic floor and support the bladder.

Bladder prolapses can worsen without treatment, so if you suspect you have a prolapse, schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible to discuss your symptoms and get a formal diagnosis in place.

Contact a women's health clinic for more information.