The bladder is the organ of the body that holds urine until the person urinates. A fallen bladder occurs when the muscles supporting the bladder become weak and no longer hold the bladder in its normal position. The fallen bladder may rest against the vagina rather than being supported above it.

This condition is sometimes called a cystocele or prolapsed bladder. Fallen bladders only affect women. One of the causes of prolapsed bladders is childbirth. Menopause increases the risk of cystocele due to the decreased levels of estrogen since estrogen helps maintain the muscle tone of the pelvic muscles.

Obesity can make a woman at higher risk of developing a prolapsed bladder. Heavy lifting and other activities that can strain the pelvic muscles can lead to the development of a prolapsed bladder. Conditions that cause a severe, ongoing cough or constipation can make a woman susceptible to this problem.

Fallen bladders cause frequent bladder infections, difficulty emptying the bladder, and incontinence. A prolapsed bladder causes difficulty urinating or feeling that the bladder isn’t empty after urinating.

Some women may notice abnormal tissue in the vagina that may bleed. Women with this bladder condition may experience lower back pain or pain during sexual intercourse. Urine leakage may occur when coughing, laughing, or sneezing.

A doctor may use an x-ray called a voiding cystourethrogram to help diagnose this condition. This type of x-ray is taken while the person urinates. The resulting x-rays can allow the doctor to view any abnormalities affecting urine flow and the shape of the bladder.

If a woman has this condition but the condition is mild, the woman may not have any symptoms. The doctor may recommend that the woman with a mild prolapsed bladder to avoid heavy lifting to help keep the condition from worsening.

The severity of this condition is designated in three grades. Grade one is the most mild form. With grade two cystocele, the bladder has fallen significantly into the vagina and may be visible. Grade three prolapsed bladder is characterized by the bladder falling so far out of place that it protrudes from the vaginal opening.

Estrogen replacement medication may be part of the treatment plans for prolapsed bladders. For mild cases, the doctor may recommend Kegel exercises to improve the muscle tone of the pelvic muscles.

If the condition is severe, surgery may be necessary to reposition the bladder and strengthen the vaginal wall to support the bladder’s correct position. A gynecologist, a urologist, or a urogynecologist performs this surgery for fallen bladders.

A doctor may recommend the use of a device called a pessary which is inserted in the vagina. Once in place, the pessary supports the bladder and prevents it from returning to the abnormal prolapsed position. Pessaries must be removed and cleaned regularly to prevent infection.