The Different Stages of Urinary Prolapse

women With itching female genitalia Even though it is common, women don’t always know or report the symptoms of a urinary prolapse due to embarrassment, confusion, and shame. But, if left untreated, a prolapsed bladder can worsen. In extreme cases, it can lead to kidney damage or infection.

What Is a Prolapsed Bladder?

prolapsed bladder, or cystocele, happens when the web of muscles and tissue that supports pelvic organs, including the bladder, bowel, and uterus, weakens or becomes compromised and drops or collapses. Many women have never been educated about the symptoms of urinary prolapse, which means they aren’t aware of the warning signs.

Stage 1 Prolapse

A stage 1 prolapse is when only a small piece of the bladder drops into the vagina. Someone with a stage 1 bladder prolapse likely doesn’t even know because the symptoms are mild, if there are any symptoms at all.

Stage 2 Prolapse

A grade 2 prolapsed bladder can be mild or severe and is associated with the bladder dropping further into the vagina. Women with stage 2 prolapse experience heaviness or discomfort or an increase in vaginal pressure. Some describe it as a feeling of a bulge or something coming out of the vagina. Other red flags for a stage 2 prolapse include problems urinating and pain and discomfort during sexual intercourse.

Stage 3 Prolapse

A stage 3 urinary prolapse is when the bladder drops low enough to bulge completely out of the vagina. Symptoms of a stage 3 prolapse include:

  • vaginal pressure
  • fullness in the pelvic region
  • discomfort when coughing, bending, jumping, etc.
  • mild to severe incontinence
  • bladder and urinary tract infections
  • pain and urinary leakage during intercourse

Once diagnosed, a doctor may recommend lifestyle changes, pelvic floor exercises, hormones, or surgery.

Stage 4 Prolapse

In the case of a stage 4 prolapse, the entire bladder, and often other pelvic organs, protrudes outside the vagina. Most women who experience mild to severe stage 4 require laparoscopic surgery to repair the prolapse.

Schedule an Evaluation Today

Up to 50% of women will develop pelvic organ prolapse during their life, and many don’t report it to their doctor. If you suspect a urinary prolapse, call Huey and Weprin OB/GYN at 937-771-5100 or request an appointment for a thorough evaluation.

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