A dropped bladder, also known as a cystocele or bladder prolapse, is the sagging or dropping of the bladder into the vagina, according to the Urology Care Foundation. This happens when the supportive muscles in the pelvis become weak or stretched, allowing the bladder to shift out of place.
Dropped bladders are a common condition in women who have put extra stress on their pelvic muscles through events such as childbirth, explains the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease. This condition can also be caused by lifting heavy objects, menopause and chronic constipation. A cystocele is more common in women who have had multiple children through vaginal childbirth.
The symptoms of bladder prolapse vary by patient but may include pain in the vaginal area, frequent urination, painful intercourse, or the presence of bladder tissue protruding from the vagina, notes the Urology Care Foundation. Symptoms may not be exhibited if the prolapse is mild. The severity of cystoceles are graded on a scale of 1-3, with 3 being the most serious, explains the NIDDK. A dropped bladder can normally be detected through a pelvic examination. However, some prolapses may need to be identified through the use of a voiding cystourethrogram. This technique takes x-rays of the bladder during the act of urination, revealing any obstructions or irregularities.
Some cases of dropped bladders may not require any treatment, however the NIDDK recommends Kegel exercises to treat moderate cystoceles. More severe cases may need to be regulated with a vaginal support device known as a pessary.