Bladder Prolapse Surgery

Facts About Bladder Prolapse Surgery

It’s an embarrassing situation; in the middle of a laugh, cough, dance or exercise, you can feel urine inexplicably begins to leak and run down your leg, often the result of bladder prolapse.  Surgery may or may not be required, but some diligent work on your part will be needed to bring this situation to an end.

The bladder is the organ in the body that collects and stores urine until it becomes full enough to eliminate the fluid.  Its muscles are elastic; allowing it to expand as it fills and then reduce in size when empty.  In women, the organ is positioned between the uterus and the vagina, where it is supported by the walls of the vagina and held in place.  During childbirth, the vagina is stretched and placed under duress as the baby passes through the birth canal.  Although they heal, the vaginal walls are never as supple and taut as they were before childbirth.  As a result, the support previously afforded the bladder now is lacking, allowing it to drop from its normal position or to prolapse.

Another cause of a misplaced bladder is menopause.  During perimenopause and menopause, the body produces less and less estrogen; a natural hormone that, during normal production, keeps the vaginal walls toned.  In fact, menopausal women who have endured vaginal childbirth are at the highest risk for bladder prolapsed surgery.

Most women will experience some slippage of the bladder at some point in their life, but it may never reach a stage that requires surgery.  Symptoms of the disorder include involuntary release of urine, problems during urination and discomfort during sexual intercourse.  Diagnosis of the condition can easily be made by your doctor when performing a physical exam.  Often, the symptoms can be anticipated and dealt with in an alternative method. 

Often, a prolapsed bladder requires only special exercises that are designed to once again strengthen the weakened vaginal walls.  As the vagina becomes more toned, it provides the support the bladder requires to hold it in position.  These exercises are called Kegel exercises; a practice of contracting and releasing the pelvic floor muscles in order to increase their strength.   It will be necessary first to identify these muscles to ensure that your hard work does not go unnoticed.   One of the best ways to know which muscles are contracting is to place a finger inside the vagina and contract the muscles that are generally clenched when you have a strong need to urinate and there is no bathroom available.  If the muscles are strong, you will feel them tightening around your finger and also feel the pelvic floor muscle push upward.  Releasing the clench, you should feel the return of the pelvic floor descending while the vaginal walls relax. 

For some people, however, the condition has become so severe that the only solution is bladder prolapsed surgery.  The operation will reposition the bladder and stabilize its new position with stitches that are attached to the vagina walls.  The procedure can be done vaginally in many cases; an incision is made into the vaginal wall to access the flaccid tissue.  Strengthening the vaginal wall at this time will assist in preventing another prolapse from reoccurring.  Surgery can usually be performed under general anesthesia with an overnight stay and a six week recovery period. 

When surgery for a bladder prolapse is required, it will be important to avoid activities that may induce another occurrence.  Heavy lifting, constipation, smoking, overweight and standing for long periods of time are all examples of situations that could cause another prolapse.

As always, the best course of action is prevention.  Kegel exercises performed before, during and after childbirth can keep the pelvic muscles strong and toned, avoiding future embarrassing problems.