What is cystocele?
A cystocele is a prolapsed, or dropped, bladder. This condition occurs when the supportive tissues between your vaginal wall and your bladder become stretched, damaged, or too weak to hold the bladder in place. As a result, your bladder bulges into your vagina.
What are the symptoms of a cystocele?
A small or mild cystocele may not cause any signs or symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they include:
- Recurrent urinary tract infections
- Frequent or urgent urination
- Difficulty urinating
- Feeling like you can’t completely empty your bladder
- Accidental urine leakage (incontinence)
- A sensation of heaviness or pressure in your pelvis
- A bulge in your vagina
- Pain during sex
Women who get menstrual periods may also experience difficulty inserting tampons due to a cystocele.
What causes cystocele?
Cystoceles develop when the muscles, ligaments, and connective tissues that hold your bladder in place become stretched or weakened. Many conditions can cause strain that leads to weakness of these tissues, including:a
- Vaginal childbirths
- Repeated heavy lifting
- Hysterectomy surgery
- Frequent coughing
- Chronic constipation
Many types of vaginal prolapse, including cystocele, become more common as you grow older. This is related to the decrease in estrogen that happens during and after menopause. Estrogen helps keep your vaginal tissues strong, flexible, and healthy.
How is cystocele diagnosed and treated?
First, your provider at Bela Vida Urogynecology thoroughly reviews your symptoms and medical history and performs a physical exam. She may ask you to bear down as if having a bowel movement or to tighten your pelvic muscles as if stopping a stream of urine.
She may also take tests like urodynamics testing to check how well your bladder holds and releases urine.
Then, she discusses the best course of treatment for the severity of your particular cystocele. Depending on your needs, treatment may include:
- Exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles (Kegels)
- A removable, supportive device called a pessary
- Estrogen therapy to increase your estrogen levels after menopause
If your symptoms are severe, or if conservative treatments aren’t effective, your provider may recommend surgery. The highly skilled surgeons at Bela Vida Urogynecology perform minimally invasive robotic surgeries whenever possible.
To find relief from a cystocele, call Bela Vida Urogynecology or book an appointment online today.