Cystocele

What is a cystocele?

When the
wall
between a
woman’s
bladder and the vagina weakens, the bladder may drop or sag into the vagina. This
disorder
is
called a cystocele.

Cystoceles are grouped into grades:

Grade 1

Mild. The bladder droops only a short way into the vagina.

Grade 2

More severe. The bladder has sunk into the vagina far enough to reach the opening of the vagina.

Grade 3

Most advanced. The bladder bulges out through the opening of the vagina.

What causes a cystocele?

A cystocele may be caused
by:

  • Advancing age  
  • Overweight
  • Child birth
  • Heavy lifting
  • Straining muscles during childbirth
  • Chronic coughing
  • Constipation
  • Repeated straining during bowel movements
  • Previous pelvic surgery
  • Weak muscles around the vagina caused by lack of estrogen after menopause

What are the symptoms of a cystocele?

Symptoms of cystocele include:

  • Feeling of pelvic heaviness or fullness
  • Bulge in the vagina that you can feel
  • Aching or a feeling of pressure in the lower belly or pelvis
  • Lower back pain
  • Frequent urinary tract infections
  • Need to urinate often or urgently
  • Leakage of urine
  • Incomplete emptying of the bladder
  • Constipation
  • Needing to push organs back up into the vagina to empty the bladder or have a bowel movement
  • Pain during sex
  • Problems putting in tampons or vaginal applicators
  • Pelvic pressure that gets worse with standing, lifting, or coughing or as the day goes on

How is a cystocele diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will review your medical history and do a physical and pelvic exam. Other tests may include:

  • Cystourethrogram (also called a voiding cystogram). This is an X-ray of the bladder taken while the woman is urinating and with the bladder and urethra filled with contrast dye. It shows the shape of the bladder and any blockages.
  • MRI can be used to determine the extent of bladder prolapse

Other tests may be needed to find out if there are any problems in the other areas of the urinary system.