Women's Health: Understanding Bladder Prolapse

Health & Medical Blog

Bladder prolapse is a relatively common urological condition that typically affects older women and those who have had children. It occurs when the pelvic floor muscles and ligaments surrounding the reproductive organs weaken, which leads to the bladder dropping down from its normal position.

This lack of support in the pelvic area can lead to painful, uncomfortable or embarrassing symptoms relating to bladder functions, and the extent of the prolapse tends to determine the severity of the symptoms. A mild bladder prolapse consists of the lower part of the bladder moving into the internal vaginal cavity, while a severe bladder prolapse consists of the entire bladder extending outside of the vagina. Here's an overview of the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment approach for bladder prolapse:


For those with a mild bladder prolapse, it's common to experience pain or discomfort during intercourse and urination can be more frequent, as you may feel like your bladder has not completely emptied. As the severity of a prolapse increases, other common symptoms include leaking urine when sneezing or coughing, lower abdominal or back pain, a feeling of internal vaginal pressure and recurrent bladder infections. You may also experience a mild fever or increased levels of tiredness.

Diagnosis And Treatment

A urologist can usually diagnose a bladder prolapse by conducting an internal exam. This consists of them inserting two fingers into the vagina to determine if your bladder can be felt. They may then arrange for you to undergo diagnostic imaging, such as an MRI or CT scan, to determine the severity of the prolapse and the condition of the surrounding organs.

Nonsurgical treatment options are commonly recommended for mild to moderate bladder prolapse. Your doctor may suggest you have a rubber ring inserted into the upper vaginal cavity, which works by holding the bladder in place and preventing it from dropping any further. Electrical stimulation and biofeedback exercises can be used to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor and reactivate the muscles that have become dormant over time or due to injury. Oestrogen replacement therapy may also be useful, particularly in post-menopausal women, as an increase in this hormone can strengthen reproductive tissues.

In severe cases of bladder prolapse, your doctor may recommend surgery to secure the bladder in the correct position. This may involve intravaginal stitches to strengthen the pelvic floor, or your surgeon may implant surgical mesh along the pelvic floor to hold the bladder in place. As with any type of surgery, you should discuss the risks and benefits of the procedure with your surgeon beforehand.

If you suspect you may have developed a bladder prolapse, schedule an appointment with a urologist as soon as possible, the prolapses can worsen quickly when left untreated. If you feel uncomfortable being examined by a male urologist, you can request an appointment with a female doctor if one is available in your area.


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