Severe cases happen when either of these organs falls down so dramatically they actually begin to protrude out of the female vagina or rectum. Both conditions, prolapsed uterus and bladder, are commonly associated with a weakened pelvic muscle.
Prolapsed Uterus Description
A prolapsed uterus and bladder have similar characteristics in the female body. When the problem occurs with the uterus, it’s referred to as a female genital prolapse. It happens in women who have birthed large babies or had prolonged labor.
While it occurs in women of all age groups, it is most prevalent in women of age. Generally, the pelvic muscle structure weakens with age or laborious childbirth, which allows the uterus to drop from its normal anatomical position.
Prolapsed Bladder Description
Cystocele is the condition in a woman that happens when the fibrous wall separating the bladder from the vagina is torn or compromised during childbirth. It weakens the support structure for the bladder, causing it to prolapse down towards the vagina. This may not show up for many years and is characterized by difficulty or discomfort when urinating.
Grading Prolapsed Uterus and Bladder
Prolapse of organs in the female pelvic region grades using one of three systems. The Shaw’s System is the most elaborate; with the Baden-Walker and Pelvic Organ Prolapse Quantification systems, using more simplified grading standards. Shaw’s addresses both prolapsed uterus and bladder, while the other two focus mostly on measuring the level of descent for any organ, including the uterus and bladder.
#1. Shaw’s System
Shaw’s system for prolapsed uterus and bladder grading uses two sets of criteria to analyze how much the walls have been compromised. Both the posterior and anterior walls, grade in relation to the severity of the organ movement from the anatomical position. The posterior and anterior wall grades assess pelvic weakness and the distance of the organ drop.
#2. Baden-Walker System
There are five actual grades employed by the Baden-Walker System. Each on rates the level of pelvic organ prolapse on the degree of descent. It is also used for other organs, including a prolapsed uterus and bladder. Zero is the base rating used to indicate a normal position of all organs examined.
The scale the grades from a 1, to the worst possible scenario indicated by a 4. Many times a level 4 rating assessed to prolapsed uterus and bladder conditions can result in immediate surgery for the woman.
#3. Pelvic Organ Prolapse Quantification System (POP-Q)
The POP-Q grading system is very similar to the Baden-Walker grades, starting at 0 to indicate normal positioning. One key difference is the use of Roman numerals instead of 1 through 4.
Measuring the descent of the organ in question is very similar. The Baden-Walker and POP-Q systems for rating prolapsed uterus and bladder are frequently incorporated together, with the POP-Q method being more internationally recognized.
Symptoms of Prolapsed Uterus and Bladder
Mild cases of prolapsed organs will not present many if any symptoms at all. The level of symptoms experienced will be in direct relation to the grading level. Here is a list of symptoms that indicate the level of prolapsed uterus and bladder may be more advanced, warranting further testing.
- An uncomfortable pulling sensation in, or around the vaginal region.
- An unusual heaviness in the vaginal or rectal areas, as if something is trying to fall out.
- A noticeable bulge or pinkish protrusion coming from inside the vagina.
- Sudden leakage of urine, especially during heavy lifting, or other forms of exertion.
- An unusually frequent prevalence to have urinary tract infections.
- Sudden abnormal difficulty in bowel movements.
- Painful experiences during sexual intercourse, or uncontrollable urine leakage while having intercourse.
- A sudden abnormal moist discharge that sullies underpants.
When any of these symptoms occur, an exam of the female genitalia is recommended. This is a pelvic exam, essential in diagnosing prolapsed uterus and bladder conditions. The worst symptoms may warrant the exam unnecessary, but all other potential cases should merit a full exam.
Those cases that are less obvious may call for a voiding cystourethrogram. This is a series of X-rays taken during urination. These X-rays frequently determine the severity of the prolapse, coordinate a treatment plan, or help diagnose potential issues other than a prolapsed uterus or bladder, which may be the cause.
The type of treatment plan depends on the level of severity disclosed by the testing. Some very severe prolapse situations may require immediate surgical repair. Treatment procedures for prolapsed uterus and bladder, graduate from reduction therapy, moderate medications, to surgical repair.
1. Mild (Grade 1)
Mild prolapse grades can often be cured with what is referred to as reduction therapy. It is simply treating the problem by treating the potential cause. Women with mild symptoms that are not painful should resist heavy lifting or straining.
Another simple method to treat mild to moderate symptoms is via Estrogen replacement therapy. This procedure will help the body strengthen tissue in and around the vaginal area. Often this can be enough to remove the symptoms and correct the problem.
2. Moderate to Severe (Grade 2-4)
In rare situations, a moderate prolapse condition will respond to Estrogen replacement therapy or a reduction in physical exertion. For those prolapse situations that test as moderate to severe, surgery is necessary.
The surgery is performed through the vaginal area. The organ in question, bladder or uterus, are surgically repaired and reattached in their proper position.
3. Additional Procedures
As an alternative to surgery, or after surgery electrical stimulation and biofeedback are possible treatment procedures. Each has the objective of strengthening the muscles of the pelvic region.
Electrical stimulation produces an electric shock to the weakened muscle, forcing them to contract. Biofeedback analyzes self-induced muscle exercises to indicate areas of weakness, plus show if they might produce results negating the need for surgery.
Prolapsed Uterus and Bladder Recovery Time
The severity of the symptoms and the prescribed type of treatment dictate the amount of recovery time needed from a prolapsed organ procedure. Most of the time women with mild to moderate symptoms, which do not require surgery, lead normal lives without any restrictions other than no heavy lifting, or excessive strain.
When surgery is required, the woman usually goes home the same day. Antibiotic prescriptions help to avoid bladder infections compromising the surgical procedure. Many times a pessary is inserted to help hold the organ causing the prolapse to remain in place. This is occasionally an alternative to surgery, but most commonly a post-surgical addition that helps enhance recovery time.
Prolapsed organs can be a serious problem for women of all ages, but they are predominately detected at older ages. They are a supporting reason why all women should submit to a regular pelvic exam. If detected in the early stages, there are more treatment procedures available to the physician. Once a prolapsed uterus and bladder reach the more critical stages, surgery is necessary.