Signs & Symptoms of a Prolapsed Bladder

Updated February 21, 2017

A prolapsed bladder is a condition that creates pain and discomfort in the pelvic region of women. To diagnose the condition, a doctor will do a physical exam, then ask that the woman perform a series of physical tests to determine where the pain originates. The University of California describes the sensation of a prolapsed bladder as a drooping feeling in the vagina.


A prolapsed bladder occurs when the wall of muscle and tissue that separates a woman's bladder from her vagina weakens; the bladder then bulges out and puts pressure on the vagina. The condition is also known as cystocele. It is normally a result of excessive straining or exertion associated with childbirth or with improperly lifting heavy objects. It can also be the result of ageing. Symptoms can show after menopause when oestrogen levels are lower.


The most common symptom of a prolapsed bladder is a feeling of pressure or discomfort in the pelvic region. This pain can become amplified when the woman strains during physical activity, when she coughs or when she lifts heavy objects. Another common symptom of a prolapsed bladder is referred to as stress incontinence. With this condition, it is difficult for a woman to control her urination, and she might urinate as a result of laughing, coughing or experiencing physical strain.


The advanced symptoms of a prolapsed bladder include a protrusion that creates a golf ball-sized lump in the opening of the vagina, pain in the pelvic region that gets increasingly worse, urination during intercourse that cannot be controlled, pain that originates in the lower back and starts to spread to more of the back and painful bladder infections that occur regularly.


In some cases, a prolapsed bladder may not be severe enough to warrant treatment. A doctor may prescribe pain medication and recommend rest. In other cases, surgery may be needed to treat the condition. For some treatments, a minor surgery would be required to install a pessary, which is a small elastic tube placed in the vagina and designed to reopen the vagina and relieve symptoms. In more advanced cases, a major surgery may be necessary that involves reconstructing the vagina and the tissue that separates it from the bladder.


The Mayo Clinic lists childbirth as a major risk factor for a prolapsed bladder. Ageing can also weaken the muscle and tissue in the body, leading to a prolapsed bladder. Other risk factors include women who have had a hysterectomy or those who have a family history of the condition.

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About the Author

George N. Root III began writing professionally in 1985. His publishing credits include a weekly column in the "Lockport Union Sun and Journal" along with the "Spectrum," the "Niagara Falls Gazette," "Tonawanda News," "Watertown Daily News" and the "Buffalo News." Root has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the State University of New York, Buffalo.