Cystocele occurs when the wall between a woman’s bladder and her vagina weakens and allows the bladder to droop into the vagina. This condition may cause discomfort and problems with emptying the bladder. A bladder that has dropped from its normal position may cause two kinds of problems — unwanted urine leakage and incomplete emptying of the bladder. In some women, a fallen bladder stretches the opening into the urethra, causing urine leakage when the woman coughs, sneezes, laughs, or moves in any way that puts pressure on the bladder.
A cystocele is mild (grade 1) when the bladder droops only a short way into the vagina. With a more severe (grade 2) cystocele, the bladder sinks far enough to reach the opening of the vagina. The most advanced (grade 3) cystocele occurs when the bladder bulges out through the opening of the vagina.
Causes of Cystocele
A cystocele may result from muscle straining while giving birth. Other kinds of straining such as heavy lifting or repeated straining during bowel movements may also cause the bladder to fall. The hormone estrogen helps keep the muscles around the vagina strong. When women go through menopause that is, when they stop having menstrual periods their bodies stop making estrogen, so the muscles around the vagina and bladder may grow weak.
- Pregnancy and vaginal childbirth
- Being overweight or obese
- Repeated heavy lifting
- Straining with bowel movements
- A chronic cough or bronchitis
Symptoms of Cystocele
In mild cases of anterior prolapse, you may not notice any signs or symptoms. When signs and symptoms occur, they may include:
- A feeling of fullness or pressure in your pelvis and vagina
- Increased discomfort when you strain, cough, bear down or lift
- A feeling that you haven't completely emptied your bladder after urinating
- Repeated bladder infections
- Pain or urinary leakage during sexual intercourse
- In severe cases, a bulge of tissue that protrudes through your vaginal opening and may feel like sitting on an egg
Risk Factor of Cystocele
- Childbirth. Women who have vaginally delivered one or more children have a higher risk of anterior prolapse.
- Aging. Your risk of anterior prolapse increases as you age. This is especially true after menopause, when your body's production of estrogen — which helps keep the pelvic floor strong — decreases.
- Hysterectomy. Having your uterus removed may contribute to weakness in your pelvic floor support.
- Genetics. Some women are born with weaker connective tissues, making them more susceptible to anterior prolapse.
- Obesity. Women who are overweight or obese are at higher risk of anterior prolapse.