A dropped bladder, also known as a prolapsed bladder, occurs when the wall between a woman's vagina and bladder weaken and the bladder drops into the vagina. The medical term for this condition is called cystocele. This condition often occurs after childbirth when the vagina heals but never recovers its full strength. It can also occur as a result of menopause when estrogen levels decrease. This reduction in estrogen weakens the vaginal walls.
Lifting heavy objects can also cause strain to the muscles surrounding the bladder and vagina. Frequent straining during bowel movements has also been known to cause a prolapsed bladder. No matter how the dropped bladder occurs, this weakening of the vaginal walls causes the bladder to slip so that it rests outside of the abdomen.
Women who suffer from a dropped bladder condition may experience urine leakage whenever they laugh, cough, and perform other activities that cause the abdomen to press on the dropped bladder. The pressure of the abdomen on the abdomen causes urine leakage. A dropped bladder is an uncomfortable condition that causes a woman to feel pressure inside the vagina, almost as if a small ball is resting inside the birth canal. Any bladder tissue exposed through the vaginal opening may feel painful and tender.
In order to diagnose a dropped bladder, a medical examination is required. The doctor will ask the patient to cough or push so that the doctor can determine the position of the bladder. If the doctor diagnoses the patient with dropped bladder, he will decide which treatment is most beneficial for the patient. Simple cases may only require Kegel exercises, techniques that help to strengthen the vaginal muscles.
Other prolapsed bladder cases may require more complex treatments. For example, some women may require a device called a pessary to be placed inside the vagina. Pessaries are used to hold the vagina in the correct position.
Some patients may experience irritation once the pessary is inserted, but these devices are ideal for those whose urethra or bladder is not affected by the pessary. Patients who have serious cases of dropped bladder will need to undergo surgery to correct the bladder's position. This procedure involves placing stitches in both the front and back walls of the vagina, thereby providing support to the bladder.