Also known as an anterior prolapse, pelvic organ prolapse or bladder prolapse, Cystocele occurs in females when the ligaments, muscles and tissues supporting the bladder and vaginal wall weaken and stretch. This allows the bladder to fall or bulge into the vaginal area.
Straining muscles that lend support to the pelvic organs causes those muscles to weaken, stretch, and break down. Straining pelvic organ muscle walls possibly occurs during:
Pregnancy and vaginal delivery
Violent, heavy fits of coughing
Constipation that is chronic, resulting in repeated straining to move bowels
Serious lifting of heavy weights or object
Obesity or being severely overweight
Risk factors include:
Weakening caused by age, especially after menopause when pelvic floor strengthening estrogen slows or stops
Hysterectomy – Removing the uterus can lead to weakening the pelvic foundation
Connective tissue disorders
Genetics – either being born with weak connective muscles and tissues or having a predisposition or family history of cystocele
Prior pelvic surgery
There are some ways to reduce the risk of developing a cystocele, including:
Consume a high fiber diet to treat and avoid constipation
Avoid smoking, as that can cause a violent cough
Seek medical care for chronic bronchitis to avoid constant, heavy coughing
Strengthen the pelvic muscles and foundation by performing regular Kegel exercises, especially post-childbirth
Healthy weight control using diet and exercise can help to avoid obesity
Lift with your legs, not your back, and avoid prolonged, heavy lifting of weights or objects
Symptoms of Cystocele
Indicators present in cystocele cases range from very mild feelings to intense discomfort. Women with anterior prolapses report some of these symptoms.
An aching pressure in the lower abdomen or pelvis
Feeling a bulge in the vagina
Low back pain
A feeling of fullness or heaviness in the pelvic region
Frequent and urgent need to urinate
Frequent infections in the urinary tract
Inability to completely empty the bladder
Bladder or urine leakage
Inability to have a bowel movement or empty the bladder unless organs are pushed back up into the vagina
Difficulty using vaginal applicators or tampons
Pain occurring during sex
Pelvic pain or pressure steadily worsening when coughing, standing or lifting and progresses throughout the day
A conclusion of cystocele is determined using these methods.
Cystourethrogram, also known as a voiding cystogram – Using a contrast dye, an X-ray of the bladder is taken during urination to show the bladder shape and discover any blockages
Bladder prolapse extent may be determined using an MRI
Additional bladder and urine tests may be conducted
Management and action for cystocele depends on the severity level of symptoms. Daily Kegel exercises can strengthen pelvic muscles. The doctor may also recommend avoiding any activities (such as straining or heavy lifting) that worsen or increase symptoms.
A Pessary device in the vagina can help to hold the bladder in place. Hormone therapy may be initiated in order to replace estrogen, which can strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. Sometimes, surgery is needed to move the bladder back into place.