Characterized by a loss of strength and integrity of the pelvic floor’s connective tissue and muscle fiber
- A cystocele occurs when the wall between a woman's bladder and vagina weakens and stretches, allowing the bladder to bulge into the vagina. A cystocele may also be called a prolapsed bladder.
- A cystocele may occur from excessive straining, such as during childbirth, chronic constipation or heavy lifting. It may also occur after menopause, when estrogen decreases. Therefore, older women and those who have given birth to several children are more likely to develop a cystocele.
- For mild and moderate cystoceles, self-care measures or nonsurgical treatments are often effective. In more severe cases of cystocele, surgery may be necessary to keep the vagina and other pelvic organs in their proper positions.
- Childbirth and aging may weaken the muscles and ligaments (pelvic floor) that support your bladder, uterus, colon and small intestine. The weakening may cause one or more of these organs to drop (prolapse). One resulting condition is an enterocele.
- An enterocele occurs when your small intestine (small bowel) drops into the lower pelvic cavity and protrudes into your vagina, creating a bulge. An enterocele is a vaginal hernia.
- For a mild or moderate enterocele, nonsurgical treatments — particularly, exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles — may help relieve symptoms. More severe cases of enterocele may require surgical repair.
- A rectocele occurs when the fascia — a wall of fibrous tissue separating the rectum from the vagina — becomes weakened, allowing the front wall of the rectum to bulge into the vagina.
- Childbirth and other processes that put pressure on the fascia can lead to a rectocele. Generally, rectoceles occur after menopause, when estrogen — which helps keep your pelvic tissues strong — decreases.
- A small rectocele may cause no signs or symptoms. If a rectocele is large, it may create a noticeable bulge of tissue through the vaginal opening. Though this bulge may be uncomfortable, it's rarely painful.
- When treatment of a rectocele is necessary, self-care measures and other nonsurgical options are often effective. In severe cases, you may need surgical repair.