Cystocele and Rectocele Repair: Everything You Need to Know
Did you know that high-impact sports can increase a female’s risk for urinary incontinence? Nearly 25.9% of female athletes experience urinary incontinence.
Incontinence can be one of the first signs of a cystocele and rectocele. Even young, healthy females could be at risk if they have given birth or perform heavy lifting. Vaginal prolapse can seem like a scary diagnosis to tackle yourself.
Luckily, there are several successful noninvasive measures that can help mild cases. Consulting with a skilled health care professional is the first step. They can give you a better diagnosis and review treatment options.
Are you interested in learning more? We have a must-read article in store for you. Keep reading on and learn more about the differences between cystocele and rectocele, including current treatment approaches.
What Is Cystocele?
A cystocele is a medical complication where the anterior vaginal wall collapses. This results in the bladder dropping out of position and bulging into a female’s vaginal wall. Another common term is a prolapsed bladder.
Most causes of cystocele are weakened pelvic floor muscles. Your pelvic floor supports the bladder, vagina, uterus, and other lower abdominal organs. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- – Bulge in vagina
- – Painful penetrative intercourse
- – Urinary incontinence
- – Difficulty urinating
- – Vaginal dryness
- – Lower back pain
- – Difficulties inserting tampons
Sometimes, these symptoms worsen as the day progresses or with standing activities. Common causes of cystocele and other types of vaginal prolapse are:
- – Being overweight or obese
- – Pregnancy
- – Heavy lifting
- – Hysterectomy
- – Aging and menopause (i.e., a lack of estrogen)
To get an official diagnosis, you should visit your health care practitioner. They can perform a physical assessment and inquire about your symptoms before reviewing a treatment plan.
What Is Rectocele?
Like cystocele, rectocele is a type of vaginal prolapse. With this medical condition, the posterior vaginal wall collapses, allowing the rectum to push into your vagina. Rectocele causes follow many of the same ones listed above but also include constipation or chronic straining when trying to pass bowel movements.
During vaginal birth deliveries, the vaginal wall can become damaged and weakened. This increases a female’s chances of rectocele, but it typically doesn’t occur until later in adulthood. Experts found that the average age for rectoceles was 60, and patients had experienced menopause.
Other commonalities included women who had given two to three vaginal births. They also found that cystocele was more common in these patients.
Cystocele and Rectocele Treatment
Cystoceles and rectoceles are two medical complications that can sometimes be resolved without surgical intervention. Mild to moderate cases might require physical therapy or noninvasive treatments like a vaginal pessary.
In older women, vitamins and hormonal therapy may also be recommended. These can mitigate some of the adverse effects of menopause. Lastly, your health provider might also suggest lifestyle changes.
Lifestyle adjustments include avoiding heavy lifting and seeking help for constipation. If noninvasive measures don’t work, you should schedule a follow-up with a urogynecologist.
Pelvic floor disorders affect many older women but can occur as young as in your 20s. It is essential to seek professional guidance to ensure there aren’t tumors or other medical co-morbidities occurring.
These health professionals can also consult with surgery. Typically, severe or ongoing cases might need surgery.
Surgical interventions are usually minimal. A surgeon may repair the vaginal wall or stitch the opening.
The downside of the latter is limitations with penetrative sex. Like any surgery, you will also have a recovery time and could experience pain or discomfort while healing.
Noninvasive Rectocele and Cystocele Repair
In many cases, cystoceles and rectoceles respond well to noninvasive measures. Rehabilitation focuses on pelvic floor strengthening. Kegels are one of the most popular exercises.
Kegels are easy to do on your own and target pelvic floor muscles. If you start noticing pain with this activity, reach out to a health provider.
A vaginal pessary is a device you can insert into your vagina. It helps support your pelvic floor, preventing worsening vaginal prolapse. There are several different types of vaginal pessaries, including:
- – Ring
- – Gellhorn
- – Shaatz
Your health care provider may try different shapes and sizes until finding the appropriate pessary for your specific prolapse. Then they can teach you how to remove and insert the pessary on your own. Some individuals are unable to remove and insert the pessary on their own and will follow-up with their doctor for routine cleanings. Others may simply prefer to have their healthcare provider manage their pessary.
Read this article to learn more about pessaries.
Invasive Rectocele and Cystocele Repairs
Most medical experts rank cystoceles and rectoceles on a graded system. Grade 1 is mild, with only slight bulging or movement out of position. Grade 2 includes dropping into the vaginal opening. Grade 3 includes full prolapse and bulging into the vagina.
Rectocele includes an additional grade. While grade 3 is a halfway descent past the hymen, grade 4 is full descent past the hymen. Typically, urogynecologists use vaginal or abdominal surgical approaches.
Colorectal surgeons may opt for a different approach. The benefit of seeing a urogynecologist is they specialize in women’s health and urology. Urogynecologists treat several pelvic floor conditions and have vast experience with evidence-based treatment interventions.
Before surgery or intervention, your physician may check for:
- – Diagnostic testing (e.g., cystoscopy, urodynamic study, biopsy)
- – Previous conservative measures used
- – Surgical action plans
These professionals might also suggest non-surgical methods like Botox or nerve stimulation. These can be useful for certain incontinence issues and may alleviate some symptoms.
Managing Your Pelvic Floor Disorder Symptoms
A cystocele and rectocele are two pelvic floor disorders occurring in women. Pregnancy, menopause, and other medical conditions can increase your risk. When should you call a physician?
When you start feeling a bulge from the vagina, or experiencing incontinence or difficulties with voiding, don’t let embarrassment or busy life schedules keep you from getting the help you need.
There are several noninvasive techniques you can try first. Contact us today and get an appointment scheduled!