When the front wall of the vagina, which normally supports the bladder, weakens (from increased age or following childbirth), the bladder can prolapse, descending into the vagina. This can result in urinary difficulties, discomfort, and incontinence.
Bladder prolapse can occur in varying degrees based on severity:
- Grade 1 (Mild): Only a small portion of the bladder sags into the vagina
- Grade 2 (Moderate): The bladder droops enough to reach the opening of the vagina
- Grade 3 (Severe): The bladder protrudes from the body through the vaginal opening
- Grade 4 (Complete): The whole bladder extends completely out of the vagina (often linked with other forms of pelvic organ prolapse)
Mild and moderate cases of bladder prolapse may be treated non-surgically with Kegel exercises or pessary insertions (devices inserted into the vagina to provide structural support). More severe cases of bladder prolapse typically need to be corrected by surgically sealing and reinforcing the vaginal wall.