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Lifestages Centers for Women

Services

Common Conditions

Lifestages treats a number of bladder and pelvic health conditions.

Cystocele

Cystocele is a defect of the anterior wall of the vagina allowing the bladder to prolapse into the vagina. May bulge out of the vagina and become visible to the patient. Common symptoms include pressure, feeling of sitting on a ball, feeling of something dropping, or a pulling sensation in the pelvis. Some women begin to have urinary symptoms where they are unable to empty the bladder along with frequency and urgency issues. Intermediately occurs with other forms of Pelvic Organ Prolapse

Cystocele, also called a fallen bladder, happens when the tissue between the bladder and vagina weakens, allowing the bladder to sink into the vagina. It can be caused by childbirth or by repeated pressure on the muscles and tissues supporting the bladder, such as:

  • Chronic, violent cough
  • Constipation
  • Heavy lifting
  • Obesity
  • Repetitive straining for bowel movements

The risk of developing cystocele increases with age. Symptoms of cystocele may include:

  • Difficulty urinating
  • Feeling of incomplete urination
  • Feeling that something is falling out of the vagina
  • Frequent or sudden urination
  • Sensation of pelvic heaviness
  • Vaginal bulge
 
 

Fecal Incontinence

Fecal incontinence is the loss of control of bowel movements. It may have an urge to have a bowel movement associated with it or may simply come out without warning. Oftentimes, the patient may not even be aware it has happened until after the fact.

Fecal Urgency

Fecal urgency is a need to defecate (have a bowel movement) which cannot be suppressed (held off) for any amount of time.

Overactive Bladder Incontinence

Overactive Bladder Incontinence is a general term referring to a collection of symptoms such as frequency, urgency, urge incontinence, and nocturia.

Painful Bladder Syndrome

This chronic syndrome is thought to be an inflation of the bladder wall. The exact cause is unknown and the severity of symptoms can fluctuate and may even disappear for periods of time. Painful Bladder Syndrome is sometimes confused with Overactive Bladder because the patient may experience frequency and urgency.

Paravaginal Defect Repair

Paravaginal defect repair is a laparoscopic procedure in which the tissue connecting the bladder to the pelvic floor is reattached. This minimally invasive procedure is used to treat cystocele, a condition in which the bladder sinks into the vagina. This procedure has a faster recovery time and limited discomfort to the patient.

 

Pelvic Organ Prolapse

Pelvic Organ Prolapse is the loss of support of the pelvic organs and tissues. These most commonly include the vagina, bladder, rectum and uterus. There is a hammock-like support of these tissues and is referred to as the pelvic floor. Risk factors include childbirth, age and chronic pressure on the pelvic floor, all which can weaken this support and allow the bladder or rectum to push into (and possibly out of) the vagina.

Rectocele

A rectocele is a defect of the posterior wall of the vagina allowing the rectum to prolapse up and into the vagina. It may bulge out of the vagina and become visible to the patient. Common symptoms include pressure, feeling of sitting on a ball, feeling of something dropping, or a pulling sensation in the pelvis. Some women begin to have symptoms where they are unable to empty the rectum completely or feel constipated frequently. It oftentimes occurs with other forms of Pelvic Organ Prolapse.

Rectocele occurs when the tissue between the back wall of the vagina and the front wall of the rectum weakens, allowing the rectum to droop into the vagina. A weakened pelvic floor may be the cause of a rectocele. Women who have a slight rectocele may not feel any symptoms. Otherwise, symptoms of rectocele may include:

  • Difficulty having a bowel movement
  • Sensation in the vagina of fullness or bulging
  • Tissue protruding from vagina
  • Uncomfortable intercourse
  • Vaginal bleeding
 
 

Urinary Incontinence

Usually, a woman can hold urine in her bladder until she is ready to “go.” It may seem like a simple thing to do, but it actually requires a number of functioning systems – strong pelvic muscles, a healthy bladder (one that fills up and empties smoothly and completely), a strong urethra that opens and closes properly, and brain and nerve control over the entire process. If one or more of these systems isn’t working properly, an involuntary loss of urine – urinary incontinence (UI), can occur. UI can be light or heavy, regular or occasional. It can interfere with activities of daily life, work and travel. The emotional impact of UI – due to embarrassment and loss of self-esteem – can be devastating.

Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) is the loss of urine with any activity that increases intra-abdominal pressure (pressure in your abdomen) such as laughing, coughing, sneezing, jumping or moving the wrong way. There is also a severe form called Intrinsic Sphincter Deficiency (ISD) that occurs in some women and is usually treated in a slightly different fashion.

Overflow Incontinence – Overflow incontinence happens when the bladder fills normally but does not empty properly. In this case, urine flow is usually weak and may be a constant dribble. If the pelvic organs have slipped out of place (pelvic organ prolapse link), they may be blocking the normal flow of urine. In some cases, the bladder muscle may not contract normally or there may be no sensation to empty the bladder.

Urge Incontinence – Leakage of urine associated with a need to void (urinate). May be associated with a physical stress, but usually is not. Periodically triggered by hearing water run or pulling into your driveway.

Uterine Prolapse

A uterine prolapse is a defect in the ligaments that support the top of the vagina (where the cervix and uterus are located) allowing the cervix and uterus to drop down into, and possibly out of, the vagina. Common symptoms include pressure in the pelvis, a pulling sensation or the feeling of sitting on something. It is usually combined with other forms of Pelvic Organ Prolapse.

Uterine prolapse occurs when the muscles and tissues supporting the uterus stretch or weaken, causing the uterus to sink into the vaginal area. It is more common among women who have had more than one vaginal birth. Other possible causes include:

  • Aging
  • Chronic cough
  • Lack of estrogen after menopause
  • Obesity
  • Pelvic tumor (rare)

Symptoms of uterine prolapse may include:

  • Increased vaginal discharge
  • Leaking urine or sudden urge to urinate
  • Low backache
  • Pressure in the pelvis or vagina
  • Problems with intercourse
  • Repeated bladder infections
  • Uterus and cervix that bulge into the vaginal opening
  • Vaginal bleeding
 

Vaginal Vault Prolapse

A vaginal vault prolapse is a defect in the ligaments that support the top of the vagina (where the cervix and uterus used to be prior to a hysterectomy) allowing the vagina to drop down into, and possibly out. Common symptoms include pressure in the pelvis, a pulling sensation or the feeling of sitting on something. It is generally combined with other forms of Pelvic Organ Prolapse. Vaginal vault prolapse is similar to uterine prolapse, but no uterus is present, therefore it is the top of the vagina which prolapses.

Vaginal vault prolapse happens when the top portion of the vagina loses its shape and sinks into the vaginal canal or opening. It can accompany conditions such as cystocele or rectocele, and is more common in women who have had their uterus removed.

Symptoms of vaginal vault prolapse may include:

  • A bulging into the vaginal canal or opening that makes standing and walking difficult
  • Backache
  • Involuntary release of urine
  • Pressure or heaviness in the pelvis
  • Vaginal bleeding
 

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