Prolapsed Bladder (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
When Should Someone Seek Medical Care for a Prolapsed Bladder?
Any woman who notices symptoms of a prolapsed bladder should contact her doctor. A prolapsed bladder is commonly associated with prolapses of other organs within in a woman's pelvis. Thus, timely medical care is recommended to evaluate for and to prevent problematic symptoms and complications caused by weakening tissue and muscle in the vagina. Prolapsed organs cannot heal themselves, and may worsen over time. Several treatments are available to correct a prolapsed bladder.
What Specialists Treat a Prolapsed Bladder?
Bladder prolapse is often treated by urologists and urogynecologists, but physical therapists also treat bladder prolapse.
What Exams and Tests Diagnose a Prolapsed Bladder?
An exam of the female genitalia and pelvis is usually required in diagnosing a prolapsed bladder. Seeing the bladder bulging into the vagina on examination is diagnostic. In addition, you will be asked to strain/cough/bear down to determine the extent of the bladder prolapse, as well as determine if you have urinary leakage with increased pressure (stress urinary incontinence).
For less obvious cases, the doctor may use a voiding cystourethrogram to help with the diagnosis. During the voiding cystourethrogram, a catheter is placed into the bladder through the urethra. The bladder is emptied and then a sterile contrast (dye) is passed through the catheter into the bladder until the bladder is full enough to void. A series of X-ray films then are taken during bladder filling and during urination. These X-ray films help the doctor determine the shape of the bladder and the cause of urinary difficulty. The doctor may also test or take X-ray films of different parts in the abdomen to rule out other possible causes of discomfort or urinary difficulty.
After diagnosis, the doctor may test the nerves, muscles, and the intensity of the urine stream to help decide what type of treatment is appropriate.
A test called urodynamics or video urodynamics may be performed at the doctor's discretion. Urodynamics measures pressure and volume relationships in the bladder and can also assess the function of the urethra and may be crucial in the decision making of the urologist/urogynecologist.
Cystoscopy (looking into the bladder with a scope) may also be performed to identify treatment options. This test is usually an outpatient office procedure. Cystoscopy has few and usually minor risks and is tolerable for the vast majority of people.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/28/2016
Pamela I. Ellsworth, MD
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