August 30, 2010

Q&A: I Have Bladder Prolapse. Can This Be Fixed?

Many women experience bladder or rectal prolapse as they age. It is more common among women who have had multiple births.

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Question: I’ve been told that I have pretty severe bladder prolapse. Is there any way to have this repaired without ruining my sex life?

Bladder or Rectal Prolapse

Many women experience bladder or rectal prolapse as they age. This condition involves the bladder pushing against the front wall of the vagina or, conversely, the rectum pushing against the back wall of the vagina. Prolapse is more common among women who have had multiple births or who have had traumatic vaginal births.

Prolapse can be uncomfortable for many reasons, including difficulties with incontinence. Some women even find that, if they have bladder or rectal prolapse, that they are uncomfortable during sex, particularly if they are worried that they will accidentally pee or have a bowel movement during sex.

Treatment Options

Fortunately, there are several different techniques that doctors can use to treat women with prolapse. Doctors can repair the front vaginal wall, for bladder prolapse, or the back vaginal wall (for rectal prolapse).

Depending on the procedure used, it can take around 2 months to heal well enough to begin having vaginal intercourse again. However, research suggests that women often see an improvement in their sexual lives, particularly if their prolapse issues were getting in the way of sex before they had surgery.

Getting Help

If you have concerns about your quality of life, or your sexual life, after having a procedure to repair your bladder prolapse, please raise your concerns with your healthcare provider. Every woman’s body is different, and every woman has different expectations related to sex. Getting your questions answered before you choose treatment may help you to feel more comfortable and confident with your healthcare.

If you do not feel comfortable talking to your doctor about these concerns, you might consider finding another doctor in your area who you would feel more comfortable opening up to. Alternatively, you could write your questions on your in-take form at your next doctor’s visit so that your doctor knows what concerns are on your mind.

Many women have questions and concerns about how sex might change after medical treatment. It is completely normal to want to ask questions about what you can expect should you go ahead with treatment, or whether certain types of treatments would be better in your particular situation.