Cystocele - is a disease characteristic of pubescent bladder together with the anterior vaginal wall. A similar picture can be observed as a result of repeated injuries that weaken the muscles of the pelvic floor. To understand what happens with cystocele, a brief overview of the anatomy of the pelvic floor is necessary. The pelvic floor consists of many muscles, ligaments and connective tissue in the lower abdomen, the so-called pelvic area. All of them perform a basic and essential function: supporting and maintaining the positions of the urethra, bladder, intestines and uterus.
The bladder is a hollow muscle organ that serves to accumulate urine. It is located behind the pubic bone, and in women - in front of the uterus. Below it is the vagina. The bladder and vagina are separated by a group of connective tissue. The task of this group is to maintain the bladder in the correct position.
Cystocele is actually a hernia of the bladder when the bladder protrudes into the vagina. From a medical point of view, given the position of the bladder and vagina, cystocele is called anterior prolapse.
Classification of cystocele
The course of the disease can have a different severity. Their classification is as follows:
- 1st degree cystocele, or mild. Features: only a small part of the bladder fills the vagina.
- 2nd degree cystocele, or moderate. Features: protrusion of the bladder reaches the entrance of the vagina;
- 3rd degree cystocele, or severe. Features: a group of ligaments and muscles breaks, leading to the exit of the bladder beyond the genital gap.
Causes of cystocele
- Child birth;
- overweight and obesity;
- improper lifting of heavy objects;
- chronic bronchitis and cough;
The factors that provoke cystocele, in the first place, are frequent births. Statistics show that women who give birth several times are at greatest risk of the disease. The age factor is also important. The body of a woman after menopause produces less estrogen, and this weakens the pelvic muscles. The third factor is hysterectomy (removal of the uterus). In women who have had this surgery, the pelvic floor is weakened. And the last factor is genetic. There are women who are prone to cystocele from birth; they are already born with collagen synthesis problems. (Note: collagen is the main protein of connective tissue.)
Symptoms of cystocele
- pressure sensation at the level of the pelvis and vagina, in particular, in a standing position for many hours;
- pain when coughing, sitting, standing;
- incomplete emptying of the bladder after urination;
- repeated bladder infections; pain during intercourse;
- urinary incontinence after exercise, with cough, during intercourse.
When is it necessary to contact a specialist? None of the above symptoms can be underestimated, however, there is one that should be given special attention - this is a feeling of incomplete emptying of the bladder. This can indicate both a beginning cystocele and a bladder infection. The first thing to do when such a sign appears is to go to the gynecologist.
Mild cystocele does not require any special treatment. The doctor in this case recommends doing exercises that strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor. They are known as Kegel exercises. Their constant practice can provide excellent results. The moderate severity of the disease requires the use of non-surgical agents and estrogen administration. A rubber or plastic pessary is introduced into the vagina, which is used to maintain the bladder, preventing it from dropping. The specialist teaches the patient how to clean and apply the pessary. The use of estrogens is aimed at strengthening the muscles of the pelvic floor, their «blocking» on the cystocele. Surgery is resorted to if the disease is severe.
How to prevent cystocele? Here are some simple preventative measures:
- the constant practice of Kegel exercises to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor;
- fiber-rich diets to prevent constipation;
- avoid lifting weights incorrectly;
- lose weight if you are overweight;