The pressure created when the bladder fills with urine is what causes the urge to urinate. During urination, the urine travels from the bladder and out the body through the urethra.
In women, the front wall of the vagina supports the bladder. This wall can weaken or loosen with age. Significant bodily stress such as childbirth can also damage this part of the vaginal wall. If it deteriorates enough, the bladder can prolapse, meaning it is no longer supported and descends into the vagina. This may trigger problems such as urinary difficulties, discomfort, and stress incontinence (urine leakage caused by sneezing, coughing, exertion, etc).
Prolapsed bladders (also called cystoceles or fallen bladders) are separated into 4 grades based on how far the bladder droops into the vagina.
Prolapsed bladders are commonly associated with menopause. Prior to menopause, women’s bodies create the hormone estrogen, which helps keep the muscles in and around the vagina strong. Women’s bodies stop creating estrogen after menopause, and those muscles tend to weaken as a result. Lifting heavy objects, straining during bowel movements, or having a long-term condition that involves coughing, or having long-term constipation may also damage the muscles of the pelvic floor.
Cystocele: The Bulging Bladder… is often referred to as a dropped bladder. A cystocele forms when the normally flat upper vaginal wall loses its support and sinks downward. The allows the bladder, which is located right above the upper vaginal wall, to drop right along with it. When a cystocele becomes advanced, the bulge may become visible outside the vaginal opening.
The visible tissue is the weakened vaginal wall; the bladder is right behind the skin but cannot be seen. The symptoms causes by cystoceles can include vaginal bulging or pressure, slowing of the urinary stream, overactive gladder symptoms, and an inability to fully empty the bladder.