Hearing from your GP that you have a prolapsed bladder isn’t brilliant news but it’s not the end of the world. While it will pose some problems, it can be managed in ways that won’t completely take over your pregnancy
What is this?
A prolapsed bladder happens when the vaginal wall is torn, stretched or damaged. Your vaginal wall supports your bladder and so when it’s weakened it can cause your bladder to lower into your vagina.
‘Bodily stress such as pregnancy can sometimes damage part of the vaginal wall,’ explains Dr Dib Datta, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist.
‘This may trigger problems such as urinary difficulties, discomfort, and stress incontinence (urine leakage caused by sneezing, coughing, and exertion, for example).’
How common is it?
While a prolapsed bladder isn’t necessarily more common in pregnant women than it is in non-pregnant ones, up to half of women who have had kids are affected by some form of prolapse – a rectum prolapse is similar problem.
What are the symptoms?
If you have a prolapsed bladder you may feel a bulge coming down from your vagina and be suffering from a touch of backache (cue hubby with the massages and the hot water bottle).
‘You may experience discomfort during sex and problems passing urine,’ Dr Datta says. ‘Passing urine can be difficult – you may have a slow flow, feel like you’re not emptying your bladder, need to urinate more often and leak a small amount of urine when you cough, sneeze or exercise.’
How is it treated?
If your case is relatively mild, you may not need any treatment as the problem shouldn’t interfere with your daily routine too much. Instead, your GP may suggest that you make some lifestyle changes such as losing a bit of weight or doing pelvic floor exercises.
If your case is relatively mild, you may not need any treatment as the problem shouldn’t interfere with your daily routine too much
It’s also a good idea to keep your pregnancy diet full of fibre-rich foods, such as food, vegetables, nuts and seeds, to avoid getting constipated – one of the main reasons that a prolapsed bladder can occur.
‘If the symptoms are more severe, a prolapse may be treated effectively using a device that is inserted into the vagina called a vaginal pessary,’ says Dr Datta. ‘This helps to hold the prolapsed organ in place.’
If your case of prolapsed bladder is really bad, surgery once you’ve had your baby may be suggested.
‘This usually involves giving support to the prolapsed organ,’ outlines Dr Datta. ‘But in some cases, a complete removal of the uterus (hysterectomy) might need to be considered. Most women experience a better quality of life after surgery, but there is a risk of problems remaining, or possibly getting worse.’
However severe you think your prolapsed bladder case may be, it’s always a good idea to see or speak with your GP to confirm the right course of treatment.