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Bathroom Again – Gabrielle’s Story

By James Haley, MD, FACOG, FPMRS

Gabrielle prolapsed bladder patient photo

“As GYNs, we address bladder issues on a daily basis, so when we discovered that our longtime patient suffered from a prolapsed bladder, we asked her to share her story of life before — and after — bladder surgery”, says Dr. Haley.

Living with a Prolapsed Bladder

“I knew every bathroom in town,” recalls Gabrielle, a vibrant woman in her mid-50s, a common age for women to experience bladder problems. “I never leaked but I had to use the bathroom ALL the time,” she explained. “My husband used to complain, ‘I hate running errands with you because you have to go to the bathroom at every stop.’

“I knew every bathroom in town. I never leaked but I had to use the bathroom ALL the time,”

Gabrielle discussing her bladder problems

“It started in my late 40s, when I began getting this weird feeling that my bladder had ‘fallen’. It got worse and worse, and it just became this constant pressure. It affected everything. When I exercised it was never painful, but I felt this constant sensation of pressure. I finally talked to my GYN, and he said it was caused by a prolapsed bladder.”

What is Prolapsed Bladder?

Prolapsed bladder, also known as fallen bladder or cystocele, is a condition where the bladder drops down from lack of support. Pelvic floor muscles and tissues hold the bladder and other organs in place, but they can weaken over time. This causes the bladder to descend from its fixed position and slip downwards into the vagina. In more severe cases, the bladder may dangle completely outside of the vagina.

What Causes Prolapsed Bladder?

There are four main reasons a woman may develop a prolapsed bladder:

  • Childbirth: A difficult delivery, long labor, a large baby or multiple births
  • Strain: Heavy lifting, strained bowel movements, excessive coughing
  • Menopause: Lack of estrogen, which is vital in maintaining the health of vaginal tissue
  • Obesity: Excess weight, which puts undue strain on pelvic muscles and tissues

What are the Symptoms?

  • Sensation of pressure in the bladder or vagina
  • Leakage of urine when coughing, sneezing, laughing, etc.
  • Protrusion of tissue from the vagina
  • A sensation that the bladder is not completely empty right after urinating
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Pelvic pain or discomfort
  • Painful intercourse

Life After Treatment

Gabrielle relates that she was given multiple treatment options but ultimately chose a permanent treatment solution called a surgical bladder lift, which was a great success, even years later.

“That surgery literally changed my life. It’s been five years, and I’ve never had a problem. AND no more crazy bathroom trips!”

Gabrielle on life after treatment

When Should You See Your Doctor?

If you notice that you have any of these symptoms and you suspect a prolapsed bladder, you should see your doctor immediately. This is not a condition that repairs itself. It usually worsens over time. However, it can be fixed, thanks to many modern methods available today.

Why Our FPMRS Specialists are Experts in Bladder Prolapse

Our board-certified OB/GYNs Dr. Michael Litrel, Dr. Peahen Gandhi, and Dr. James Haley have earned board certification in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery. FPMRS is a surgical subspecialty addressing the problems women experience with the changes to their anatomy from having children and pelvic prolapse. FPMRS surgeons are also known as ‘board-certified urogynecologists.’ Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists, PC, has unique surgical expertise in the Southeast United States as an OB/GYN practice with three board-certified urogynecologists.

To schedule an appointment, call our office today at 770.720.7733 or request an appointment online.