Repair of Bladder Prolapse (Cystocele) or Urethra Prolapse (urethrocele)
Two common forms of pelvic organ prolapse are bladder prolapse (cystocele) and urethral prolapse (urethrocele). A cystocele occurs when the wall of the bladder presses against and moves the wall of the vagina. A urethrocele occurs when the tissues surrounding the urethra sag downward into the vagina. Both conditions are easy for your doctor to see during a physical exam. They often occur at the same time and are usually caused by damage that happens when a baby is delivered through the mother's birth canal (vagina).
While many women have some degree of bladder and urethral prolapse, few ever have any symptoms, or the symptoms do not appear for years. When symptoms do appear, they may include difficulty urinating, involuntary release of urine (urinary incontinence), and pain during sexual intercourse. Surgery is not required unless your symptoms interfere with daily activities.
Unless another health problem is present that would require an abdominal incision, the bladder and urethra are usually repaired through an incision in the wall of the vagina. This surgery pulls together the loose or torn tissue in the area of prolapse in the bladder or urethra and strengthens the wall of the vagina to prevent prolapse from recurring.
There are several types of surgery to correct stress urinary incontinence. These surgeries lift the urethra and/or bladder into their normal position. To learn more about these surgical procedures, see the topic Urinary Incontinence in Women. Pelvic Organ Prolapse: Should I Have Surgery?
What To Expect After Surgery
General anesthesia usually is used during repair of the bladder and urethra. You may stay in the hospital from 1 to 2 days. You may go home with a catheter in place. You can most likely return to your normal activities in about 6 weeks. Avoid strenuous activity, such as heavy lifting or long periods of standing, for the first 3 months, and increase your activity level gradually.1 Straining or lifting after you have resumed normal activities may cause the problem to recur. Most women are able to resume sexual intercourse in less than 6 weeks. Urinary function usually returns to normal in 2 to 6 weeks.
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