About "Fallen" and "Weak" Bladders: What can be done.

Women sometimes refer to bladder issues as a "fallen" or "weak" bladder. Likely what they're describing is some type of pelvic organ prolapse where the bladder is no longer in its original position. Symptoms often include urinary incontinence and pelvic pain. We can help with these conditions.

Fallen or Dropped Bladder

Cystocele (or bladder prolapse) is a condition in women where the bladder is no longer in its normal position. It "drops" and bulges into the vagina when the supportive tissues between the bladder and vagina weaken and stretch.

What causes a cystocele? A dropped bladder – or cystocele – may result from damage to the muscles and tissues that that make up the pelvic floor. Damage to or weakening of the pelvic structure can occur after vaginal childbirth. In addition, movements and conditions that strain or increase pressure can also cause the bladder's position to change. The chances of a cystocele increase with age and after menopause.

Symptoms of a Cystocele:
Fallen or Dropped Bladder

Symptoms of a cystocele may include a vaginal bulge, the feeling that something is falling out of the vagina, the sensation of pelvic heaviness or fullness, feelings of incomplete urination and stress urinary incontinence – the involuntary leaking of urine when you cough, sneeze, laugh, or engage in physical activity.

Treatment for a Fallen or Dropped Bladder (Cystocele)

We always begin with an accurate diagnosis. We use rehabilitative and curative care plans that are attentive to our patients' emotional, educational and physical needs. Where surgery is required, your care plan may include both pre- and post- operative physical therapy to rehabilitate your pelvic function.

There are a number of ways to treat this condition. We'll work with you to determine what course of action is the best one for you. Don't give up or be embarrassed! Remember, many women have this condition and have been successfully treated at every age.

If surgery is necessary to restore your health, you're in good hands. Dr. Melvin Ashford, the founder of Minnesota Women's Care, is board-certified in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery. This means he has the training and experience for the specific diagnosis and surgical repair of pelvic organ prolapse and other pelvic organ disorders.

Surgical Repair of Cystocele or "Fallen" Bladder

This type of repair often brings up use of mesh - a controversial topic for some. Dr. Ashford's statement on the use of mesh can be found here. He has answered questions in the past about mesh and the use of it for repairing pelvic organ prolapses such as cystocele. Here's what Dr. Ashford says:

"Many women are good candidates for surgical mesh. [...] I have been using mesh in my pelvic reconstructive procedures to repair pelvic organ prolapse (prolapse of bladder, rectum, uterus and vaginal cuff) since 2001 and have achieved very favorable results.

There are many ways to repair pelvic organ prolapse. There are options to repair without the use of mesh, with mesh in the vagina or with mesh without going through the vagina. I believe that in the patient suffering from a falling uterus, bladder or rectum there is a procedure that addresses her medical problem and comfort level with mesh materials. My goal is not to force any particular procedure but rather to get you better.

We will discuss all options mesh and without mesh. I will discuss the benefits as well as risks with you for all the procedural options. Together we will plan a procedure with the goal of solving or relieving your symptoms. If mesh is utilized it will never be used without your informed consent.

If you have additional concerns about mesh, we encourage you to read the entire statement. Click here. We have also included a Q & A about mesh here.