As I await my surgery this morning, which is a biological graft bladder lift, I thought I would take the opportunity to discuss bladder lifts. What they are and the various options.
As we age, and especially if we have had vaginal deliveries, the bladder can start to fall. The ligaments that surround the bladder get stretched out and the vaginal wall isn’t strong enough alone to support the bladder anymore. This is called a cystocele. It is sort of like a hernia in the vagina.
The symptoms may be a bulging in the vagina, a feeling that you are sitting on a ball, difficulty emptying your bladder, recurrent urinary tract infections, and some women even have to push their bladder up to be able to empty it. We fix it when it the bulging becomes too great a bother, the bladder cannot empty well at all, or there are a lot of bladder infections.
The first thing we’ll try is a pessary. This is like a donut that we can insert in the office that will literally push the bladder up where it belongs. When fitted properly, it will stay in place but you won’t be able to feel it. This can be a long-term solution or a temporary measure until surgery. The maintenance on it is to come in to the office every 8 weeks to have it cleaned and to check the vaginal walls.
Surgically, there are four main options:
All of these surgeries typically involve one night in the hospital and low levels of pain. You do have to avoid heavy lifting or heavy exercise for about six weeks afterwards while you heal.
And there you have it. I use all of these options regularly. It just depends on the patient: how bad the cystocele is, her age, prior surgeries, the health of the vaginal wall. That’s where I spend time getting to know you, evaluating you and what you need.
Please call our office if you would like a consultation about your bladder: 281-717-4003. This is what we do!