A dropped bladder is actually the non-medical term used to describe a cystocele (SIS-tuh-seal). This cystocele is a hernia type condition in a woman that happens when the wall of the vagina weakens and the bladder drops or sags into the vagina.
Some of the symptoms of a dropped bladder include unintentional urine leaking and incomplete emptying of the bladder. The urine leaks during types of increased physical stress and is comparable to stress incontinence.
In both stress incontinence from weakened pelvic floor muscles or from a dropped bladder the urine leaks when the pressure in the abdomen rises and causes a leak through the urethra. In the case of a dropped bladder this happens because the bladder stretches the opening into the urethra and urine is able to leak with a slight amount of stress.
There are also different grades of cystoceles or dropped bladders. In grade 1 (mild) the bladder drops only a short way into the vagina; grade 2 the bladder has dropped into the vagina low enough that it reaches the opening of the vagina and in grade 3, or most advanced, is when the bladder bulges out of the opening of the vagina.
Cystoceles or dropped bladders are a result of muscle straining during childbirth, heavy lifting, repeated pushing with bowel movements or following the recession of estrogen after menopause. Estrogen is one hormone that helps to keep the muscles around the vagina strong but when it recedes during and after menopause the vaginal wall can weaken and allow the bladder to drop.
Symptoms of a dropped bladder will often precipitate a visit to the doctors office. Diagnosis of both grade 2 and 3 will come from a description of the symptoms and a physical examination of the vaginal area.
Physicians may also order a cystourethrogram. This is a test of the bladder which involves x-rays to show the shape of the organ and any problems that might block the normal flow of the urine. Other x-rays may be ordered to rule out other issues or conditions in other parts of the urinary system.
Doctors will have several recommendations for woman who suffer from symptoms of dropped bladders. The recommendations will depend upon the severity of the condition. Physicians will take into account the grade of the cystocele and the possible cause of the condition.
For those women with a grade 1 cystocele doctors will recommend modification of their activity so that they avoid lifting heavy objects or straining during bowel movements which can cause the cystocele to worsen. Women should be advised to take a stool softener or to modify their diet so their stools arent hard.
In some cases the doctor will recommend a pessary which is a device that is placed into the vagina to hold the bladder in place. This is used more frequently as the woman is awaiting a surgical reconstruction.
If the situation is caught very early during an annual examination the physician may recommend estrogen replacement therapy to help strengthen the vaginal wall muscles. In this case the woman should be aware of the side effects of taking estrogen and consider the risks versus the benefits before making a decision.Free PDF Health Ebook...