A collapsed bladder, which is more commonly referred to as fallen bladder or cystocele, is a female medical condition that occurs when the bladder abnormally drops into the vagina. It can occur at menopause as result of low levels of estrogen, a hormone that helps maintain strong vaginal and bladder muscles, or it can occur as a result of muscle straining during birth or heavy lifting. Women who develop collapsed bladder symptoms should contact a doctor for further evaluation and care.
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In healthy women, the muscles within the bladder wall are strong and ensure that urine remains within the bladder until a woman voluntarily urinates. A woman with a collapsed bladder has weak bladder muscles that are unable to normally hold urine within the body. As a result, patients with this condition may experience minor to moderate involuntary urine leakage during activities that cause the pelvic region to contract, such as coughing, laughing or sneezing. These symptoms of a collapsed bladder can be embarrassing to women and may worsen if treatment is not received.
The muscles within the bladder wall help push urine out of the body to ensure that the bladder is completely emptied during urination. Women with a collapsed bladder have weak bladder muscles, which interfere with the normal bladder-emptying process. Patients can experience difficulty urinating as a symptom of this condition and may be unable to fully empty the bladder of urine. This can cause affected women to experience an urge to urinate more frequently than usual.
Recurrent Bladder Infections
If the bladder is not emptied completely on a regular basis, urine that remains within the bladder can increase a woman's risk of developing an infection. Recurrent bladder infections are common among women who have a collapsed bladder, explain medical professionals at Langone Medical Center in New York City. Bladder infections can be uncomfortable, and typically result in a frequent urge to urinate in conjunction with sensations of burning or pain during urination. Left untreated, a bladder infection can spread to the kidneys--a serious condition called pyelonephritis.
Pelvic Pressure or Discomfort
When the bladder falls into the vagina, affected women may feel abnormal sensations of pain or pressure within the pelvic region, explain health officials at the University of Illinois Medical Center in Chicago. A severely collapsed bladder may protrude from the vagina, which can be both disturbing and uncomfortable. A woman who experiences frequent or constant pelvic pressure, or discomfort should contact a doctor as these symptoms may be indicative of alternate infections.
Pain During Sexual Intercourse
Sensations of pain can arise during sexual intercourse in women who have a collapsed bladder. This medical condition causes the bladder to abnormally protrude into the vagina, which may cause discomfort when the penis is inserted into the vagina. Women who experience pain during sexual intercourse should contact a doctor for further evaluation and care.