What is a Cystocele?
A cystocele is a medical condition that is also referred to as dropped, prolapsed, or fallen bladder. This occurs in women when the bladder either drops or expands into the vagina. A cystocele can lead to uncomfortable urination. There are three levels of cystoceles. Grade One is mild, and means that the bladder is only partially in the vagina. In Grade Two, which is more severe, the bladder is far enough in the vagina that it has reached the outside of the vagina. The most advanced stage, Grade Three, means that the bladder has moved through the vagina, which connects the uterus to the outside of the body.
There are several causes of cystocele. One of these causes is muscle strain while giving birth. Heavy lifting, being overweight or obese, or regular difficult bowel movements can also cause strain on the muscles of the bowel, which can lead to a cystocele. A cystocele can also develop during menopause because women stop producing estrogen. Since estrogen is one of the things that keeps the muscles in the vagina strong, when the body is no longer producing estrogen the muscles may become weaker. This can lead to a cystocele, though there is some debate as to whether or not menopause causes a cystocele.
Signs and Symptoms
While mild cystoceles sometimes do not have symptoms, the symptoms tend to include one of several things. These can be either a vaginal bulge, difficulty urinating, a feeling that the pelvis is heavy, or a sense that something is falling out of the vagina. For more serious cystoceles, urinary retention may be a side effect. If you feel any of these symptoms, talk to your health care provider as soon as possible.
The treatment for cystocele can be different, depending on the grade of the cystocele and how long it’s been there. One treatment for a cystocele is a surgery that will put the bladder and urethra back into the position that they are supposed to be in. After surgery, it is recommended that patients avoid standing for a long time or heavy lifting. Although they can gradually go back to their normal activities, too much strain can render the surgery useless. Other treatment options include avoiding straining those muscles, a series of exercises, and an implant to hold the bladder in place.
If you are feeling any of the symptoms of a cystocele, contact us today to schedule an appointment with the best urologist in New York City!