My Bladder Has Fallen And I Can’t Get Up! Why Didn’t Anyone Tell Me About Cystocele?


When I was pregnant with my first child, I read everything I could. But, one thing no one told me was that one possible side effect of childbirth could be that my bladder may someday fall out of its normal resting spot inside my body.

Now before I send any of my pregnant readers into a tizzy, please note that this condition, known as cystocele, is fairly uncommon, especially among younger women. But, if you have ever needed a reason to kegel, keep reading.

By the way, if you are male, heed my warning and stop now. Go watch something on Tivo or make a snack.

OK. . .all clear?

Here’s the scoop:

It was another ordinary night in the Fairly Odd household in spring ’04. Fairly Odd Father was enjoying a night out with the boys to see the Boston Bruins. I was four months pregnant with my third child. Belly was three and Jilly had just turned a year old.

I decided to give the girls a bath, so I got the water in the tub ready. But, as I lifted them into the tub, I felt an odd sensation. It was if something was sliding out of me. Not painful, just not right. I had visions of me birthing my baby right then and there, on the bathroom floor. I thought about an ex-coworker who told the story of how her mother knew she was about to birth her twins when she looked down and saw a leg coming out. “I hope I don’t see a leg” was all my brain could muster.

(deep breath)

I then reached down and pushed something back up into my body. Something squishy and fleshy and not a baby leg. I suppose I should be so very thankful of that fact.

Miraculously, I had brought the phone into the bathroom with me, and dialed my OB/GYN’s number with shaking fingers. I got the answering service and will never forget the poor guy who had to answer my call. “Excuse me, what is happening?” I’m not sure what he said to my OB/GYN, but 60 seconds hadn’t passed before my OB was calling me back.

I answered his questions:

* no, no blood (thank goodness)
* yes, it seems to be up there again, although I am lying down with my head propped up so I can see my two babies who are still in the tub
*
not having any contractions or anything to indicate I’m going into labor

I thought I’d soon hear an ambulance driving up to take me to the ER, but instead he told me to take it easy, go to bed and come in first thing the next morning.

Really? Well, OK!

Except, not OK, because I still had my two girls stranded in the tub (there was no way I was going to try to lift them), and a husband at least an hour away. So, I called my next-door neighbor who (thankfully) knows us well and had a key to the house. I then called my husband on the phone and turned him a little more gray by blubbering the following into the phone:

“(sob) I need you to come home right now because something is falling out of me but I don’t think it’s the baby but it might be my uterus and (neighbor) is coming to help but I need you home, and I’m freaking out and I need you home (sob).”

My beloved neighbor got the girls out of the tub, ready for bed and tucked in, probably even with a bedtime story, while I lied in my bed and let my mind race. What the heck was going on with my body? Is this my fault for getting pregnant again so close to baby #2? Maybe a VBAC hadn’t been such a great idea. Why hadn’t I done those stupid kegels?

The next morning, I felt better but was scared to do anything that might aggravate things. I got myself to the doctor’s office and went through an exam where he determined that it was probably not my uterus that had fallen, but my bladder. I guess that pushing out my 8 lb, 12 oz Jilly had weakened everything enough that, when a new baby started to sit on top of everything, it made the bladder droop down where it shouldn’t go.

This was unbelievable to me.

“Wait. My bladder can fall out of me like that? Will other organs start falling out too? But, how do some women have 10 kids? Are you saying that all of them have had their bladders fall out of them? Why doesn’t anyone talk about this???”

I will never forget what my OB said to my panicked questions:

“Listen—I’ve seen women who have had 10 kids and no problems, and some have one and—poof!—it all falls apart. But, listen, this isn’t too uncommon. I have little old ladies who shuffle in here all the time with their uterus hanging down to their knees.”

I’m pretty sure I whimpered at this point, thinking briefly of all those little old ladies I had passed shuffling down the halls in the medical center. I sure as hell hope he was joking to take my mind off my own issues.

I was fortunate, though, because my cystocele kind of straightened itself up on its own. Oh, sure, I made sure to sit down more often during the day, especially if that feeling started to come back. But, as my body changed during pregnancy, it seemed to hold everything in place.

I was petrified of what would happen after I pushed out my third, but things were not too bad. D was my biggest baby at just over 9 pounds, but my cystocele came back only mildly after his delivery. I found a wonderful specialist in Urogynocology and paid a few visits to her but we decided to take a “wait and see” approach. My goal was that if I needed surgery to correct things, I wanted to wait until my youngest was at least five years old.

Well, D is 4 1/2, and things seem pretty good. I’m active (hey Shredheads!) and am still crappy at remembering to kegel. I even have a whole set of, um, weights, that I never use, but will probably need to reconsider as my age keeps going up. Although I don’t think I’ll ever top her achievement.

But, I’ll probably never run a 5K again (or a 1K) or do my first triathalon*, which is kind of a bummer, but if I can get through the rest of my days with all of my internal organs staying internal, I’m willing to make some sacrifices.

*UPDATE: On 7/3/12, I ran my first 10K in 1:07 without any cystocele-related issues! My son is now almost eight, and it looks like things corrected themselves over time.

Comments

  1. Holy cow. I thought it was bad that I ended up with a hyperactive bladder. At least mine stays where it belongs (for now anyway) even if it does have the holding capacity of a grape.

    Glad to hear that the rest of your organs are remaining safely inside of your body.

  2. SabrinaT says:

    YIKES! You are a much calmer person that I. If things start falling out I will just call 911 and tell them how I read a blog, about this mother of 3 children and her bladder fell out! Send help!

  3. Freaky huh? My sister in law had a cystocele and rectocele after she had her 2nd child. She had to have surgery to correct them both. I'm glad yours has resolved on its own.

  4. Motherhood Uncensored says:

    Okay. Whoa.

  5. Suburb Sierra says:

    Now THAT would have been some fun pool talk yesterday! Great to see you and not your organs. On the way home I was thinking how great your kids are – except when they nail you in the eye with a water gun ;)

  6. Dude!

  7. Ummm, wow! *Must remember to KEGEL!*****
    Glad all your parts are in working order….

  8. Issas Crazy World says:

    I thought this was a myth for years. Something they said to make women panic and do kegels.

    Then it happened to a friend of mine. All I can say is I would have freaked out WAY more than you did.

  9. That is very freaky!

    Also my Mom just told me that she had her annual physical last week and they told her she had this too but she never knew. Weird.

  10. Kegeling as fast as I can… LOL, Very interesting story. When I had to have an emergency hysterectomy the surgeon was going over possible things that could happen and as I was drifting off he said, "Oh, ane your v-jay could fall out." WHAT?!?!? That's what I drifted off to sleep hearing. Talk about shuffling! LOL!

  11. Okay.

    This is seriously the best case against having a third child that I've heard yet.

    It's a good thing you are funny, or I would be nothing but terrified right now.

    Oh, and hear hear: Hooray for Amazing Neighbors! It takes a village.

  12. Fairly Odd Mother says:

    Lest anyone think I'm one of those "calm under pressure" people, just remember that it's easy to sound calm four years after a crisis. And, I think we all have that "mom filter" that says "the kids are right there, we have to act like things are ok, or they will be FREAKING and not helpful at all". If there had been ONE DROP of blood, I'm sure the hysteria would've taken over. Or, again, if I had seen a leg.

    The Mom—I'm sorry 'bout your sister. My sister has a friend who had surgery too and it really was uncomfortable afterward. Shannon, I think your mom is an example of how everything really DOES go south after a certain age! And, Sus, please don't let me stop you from procreating! It's not super common and if you do your exercises, things should stay put. I think.

    • A.Bombard says:

      I have a similar story, involving me sitting on the toilet, feeling something strange, looking down and SEEING something I just knew shouldn’t have been coming out of my body!!!

      I somehow managed to drive myself to the hospital, where I found out that at the ripe old age of 29, and after only ONE child, I too had suffered a cystocele. Only that wasn’t all.

      In an attempt to explain what a “cysocele” is to my sister (and to erase the freaky images she had of my bladder dangling around in my sweat pants) I googled it. The images I was looking at looked nothing like what I had seen in the bathroom that night. Upon further investigation, and another frantic visit to the gynecologist, turns out I not only have a cystocele, but rectocele, and uterine prolapse. Yes friends, I could see my own uterus. How the friggen ER doctor missed THAT one ill never know.

      Anyway, its been almost 3 years since having found out about my “harley parts” as my grandma calls em. I’ve since had another baby, with an entirely uneventful pregnancy (he did come 2 weeks early, though by all other means is perfectly normal, healthy baby boy) and having said baby didn’t cause any further damage, altho it seems I notice things a little more frequently (and things don’t come completely out, just poke through enough to be noticeable)

      I too have decided to take a wait and see approach. Basically I have to decide whether or not I’m done having children before they can do the surgery (getting pregnant after the surgery could undo everything) and while I’d like nothing more than to have it fixed, I certainly don’t know if I’m done having children at the age of 32.

      I’m currently in the process of getting a pessary, which is a removable device used to hold the harley parts back in place. Everything else in life is pretty much normal, even with my prolapses. The only real side affect of prolapse is sometimes I have difficulty emptying my bladder.

      I’d like to say thank you for telling your story. Until it happened to me, I’d never heard of such a thing. No one I know has ever spoke about it happening to them anyway. I certainly wish I’d had been told this could happen. Hopefully if more women talk about this publicly, the women won’t feel so alone, embarrassed, or even ashamed about this one side affect of having children.

      So thank you!!

  13. Subspace Beacon says:

    Since first read this post have been kegelling constantly! LESSON LEARNED! THANK YOU FOR THIS PSA! You are a Superwoman!

  14. Auds at Barking Mad says:

    Hence the reason I am sitting here doing my kegels as I read this.

    Never fear, I too belong to the "Sisterhood of the Falling Body Parts."

    Mine happens to be my uterus.

  15. Oh. My. God.

    Why didn't I heed your warning and go watch TV like any normal guy would have? I read that whole thing with my jaw dropped to the ground.

    Maybe it was looking for bladders or something.

  16. mommy2twogirls says:

    Wow! What a crazy thing to happen. I just had my second child about a month ago. So far no problems like that. By the way, what a great neighbor!

  17. anymommy says:

    I'm hysterical for you, four years later!! Horrible. So glad everything went back to basically right place on their own.

  18. Judy Haley (CoffeeJitters.Net) says:

    A family member had a prolapsed vagina shortly before I gave birth. That whole week after my baby was born, when everything felt weird inside, I couldn't shake that awful mental image of the prolapsed vagina. I'm so glad things have been staying in their rightful place for you.

    i couldn't finish reading this without doing a few kegels myself.

  19. Been there. says:

    Well Well, sounds familiar although
    I had to have full pelvic floor reconstruction surgery. I have two children first was a c-section second was a VBAC, should have had the second section I guess, oh well. I had to have reconstructive surgery about a year later, it was very hard to except considering I was in great shape a runner and very active, I though what did i do wrong? I was only thirty.
    I was told it had to do with family HX and my chosen career, which has alot to do with lifting.
    I came to terms with what had to be done and I am back to being a normal mommy of two healthy daughters and running 10k's.
    Life goes on doesn't it.

    • I have had the same thing happen to me (c-sec then v-bac and total regret) Really depressed about having to have the surgery. How long did it take for you to feel “normal” again? I love to work out also and I am so afraid to do anything.

      • Christina says:

        I’m not sure how old your child is, but it did take me a while. Granted, with three kids in 4 years, I didn’t really feel like working out (just getting everyone dressed and fed felt like a workout!) but I remember waiting a while before I ran. But, we have a recumbent exercise bike that was fine and didn’t scare me as much as running, so I used that and it was fine. I didn’t really start running again until 2009 or 2010 which is about 5 years after my son was born. For me, it was worth the wait b/c it meant I didn’t have to do surgery, but I know everyone’s situation is different. Good luck to you!

  20. TheFeministBreeder says:

    I'm sorry about your experience. I hope you know, however, that having a cesarean doesn't guarantee that you'd be any healthier. We lost a mother and a baby this week from a botched cesarean. Yep – both mom and baby dead. I've been crying for days. That's not said to discount your pain, just an illustration of the fact that nothing guarantees us a healthy mom and baby – especially not major surgery.

  21. Fairly Odd Mother says:

    That is terrible about the mother and baby. We all know mothers and babies can die in childbirth. I'm thankful I *could* have a c-section with my 1st b/c she never would've made it without one. AND, I'm thankful I could have two VBACS even though my doctor made me sign a zillion papers to cover his butt should something happen. I'm just amazed that the word "cystocele" is never, ever mentioned around pregnant women. That was the point of my post.

  22. I'm about a yeah and a half late to this post, but I wanted to tell you that you just made me feel so much better. I'm eight months pregnant with my first kid, 35 years old, fit, kegelsized to hell, no family history of prolapse…and diagnosed with a cystocele last week. Huh? Doc thinks it might be because my tipped uterus and low-lying baby are literally squishing my bladder, but good god, it's hard to hear "wait and see" when your bladder is peeking out of your punani! Let's just say I've been crying a lot. Reading this not only made me laugh, it literally made my day. Thanks!

  23. Fairly Odd Mother says:

    KittyC, I'm so glad you found some comfort in my post. It is such a scary thing, but the more I read, the more I realized I wasn't falling apart or a freak!

    It may take a while for things to go "back" in place, but it probably will work out fine once your baby is born and you bladder has room to fit back where it belongs. (and wishing you the best with your first baby!)

  24. Hello friend very interesting blog I want to add this information about Cystocele is a medical condition that occurs when the tough fibrous wall between a woman's bladder and her vagina (the pubocervical fascia) is torn by childbirth, allowing the bladder to herniate into the vagina. Urethroceles often occur with cystoceles,I have problems in the bladder also the doctors told me that I suffer from bladder stones I hope this information is useful and helps you with your problem, thanks for sharing your problems

  25. marshalynne says:

    I have two daughters, my oldest sister has three boys and five girls. When my youngest daughter turned two I found something strange in my vagine hanging there! I was so freaked out I called the doctor immediately, I just knew I had cancer or something since I had never heard of anything like this! We had just moved to another state so before I was able to call the doctor I had to find one!!! I went in, had a partial hysterectomy with A&P repairs. They said any time you get your bladder tied up you will have to do it again and you can only get it done twice. Well, that was nine years ago and guess what, it's back! Noooooo I've been so worried since I'm currently unemployed which means I have no insurance! Your posts have been a major source of encouragement to me, I'm not going to die because my bladder is hanging out! (I really thought I would die from this)!!! My sister with the eight kids has not had any problems at all! Life is quirky!
    Thank you!!!

  26. Lala Haha says:

    I am pregnant with my third and my bladder has fallen out :(
    My biggest question is what will childbirth be like???? I will be delivering any day now so I am hoping you'll get this soon and respond! Totally nervous about it!

  27. Fairly Odd Mother says:

    Hi Lala, I had things "shift" back to normal while pregnant, so birth was actually a piece of cake (he was my third too). Afterward, though, I had to take it easy on my feet, something that is SO easy to do with a newborn and two toddlers (heh). But, if I "felt" anything, I'd immediately sit down and put my feet up.

    My recommendation is, after childbirth, try to see a specialist (I saw a urogynecologist) who can lay out your options and is not "surgery happy". Surgery, to me, is an absolute last resort. Hopefully, as your body heals after childbirth, things will shift back into place. It took years before I felt totally normal, but five years after my last child was born, I ran a 5K, so life as I know it did return.

    Best wishes! I'm sure your OB/midwife team has seen it all and will know how to get your baby out safely.

  28. Lala Haha says:

    Thank you!

  29. Anonymous says:

    YEP, this happen after I had my two kids and When I get sick with a cough or sneeze, forget about it… Constantly peeing myself at 41 yrs old.. When I go out I wear pee pads, because you never know when its going to happen… You can feel it and its freaky, Drs dont want to do anything yet, because I am still losing the baby weight..
    A friend of mine, she has it in her front in her backside(which alot worse then mine).. Things Women are not told that can happen.. I wish someone would had warned me of how my body changed and never return to normal…
    Thank you for sharing your story

  30. All Better says:

    I had by bladder hanging out for quite a while. I would take a rubber glove and push it back up and that lasted for awhile but it finally got the best of me and any activity at all caused it to hang out of my body. I felt like I was giving birth to my bladder!
    I had surgery last month to repair my bladder and also lift my rectum a bit. I must say that 2 weeks out I am doing fine. I still have to take it easy for another month in regard to lifting anything over 5 pounds. Also, no stretching. so I can't make make my bed nor put a wash in the dryer. But I must say it is great to have my parts back where they belong. I am sorry that I put it off for so long.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Well… I am a man that his wife is going threw this problem 6 years after the second child and 5 years after a hysterectomy ..We did not get to the dr yet cause they r booked up but in a few days we will know what's gonna happen ! Some one should write a book on this stuff for couples that have or plan to have children !!! All of your posts have made us feel a lot better cause we now know she won't die from it !!! It is really crazy stuff ! Neither of us ever heard of this problem before..Thanks for all the info ladies !! Hope everything " stays in place " !!! :)

  32. I have always been told my uterus is tilted. Lost rt ovary at 18. Had my 3rd child at age 30. His was my 3rd vag delivery in 4 yrs. Tied tubes after him. At my next annual checkup, my ob/gyn told me my bladder had droppedl I wasn’t having any urinary issues, so he told me I should wait until I was 40-50 yo. before considering getting it tacked up. Now, I’m a 51 yo menopausal “dribbler”. It’s gotten to the point that I’ll be sitting here and get a feeling that I have to go, so naturally I get up and immediately start to “dribble”…..then I could give the INDY 500 a run for it’s money in how fast I get to the bathroom, dribbling most of the way. Sit down thinking this’ll be a good one and it’s just a little
    tinkle. Going during the night 2-3 times is a given. And let’s add a little insult to injury, for about the past month, I wake up and have already started going in my sleep. And we’re off to the races again. Same outcome. Unlike one of your earlier posters, I wasn’t afraid to take a peek down there and I believe I have a cystocele. I have done tons of research on this and I am seriously considering getting the bladder “tacked” back up where she belongs and have an hystro while we’re in there. (Might even look into a vaginoplasty and labiaplasty.) My libido is non-existent and it’s not for my hubby’s lack of trying, (Bless his heart), Don’t get me wrong, he’s not lacking in any way, yet I feel ashamed because I know it must feel loose to him during intercourse. I don’t know….sometimes I wonder if I’m over-thinkiing this, but DANGIT, I want some of my old life back. Anybody got any suggestions, or similar situations? BTW, please forgive me for my rant…just don’t have anyone else to talk to. Thanks in advance for listening and any advice.
    Happy Health for us all. :)

    • Christina says:

      PJ, I would definitely go an see a doctor to weigh your options—the constant dribbling would drive me crazy too—-I have to wear a Poise pad when I run, NEVER do I go into a bounce house, and I’m even careful when I go out with friends and have a couple of drinks!

      My only reason for pause is that I know the surgery can be uncomfortable afterward but you might be a great candidate. I live near Boston, and saw a great Uro-gynocologist—I felt like she had so much experience in dealing with my problem—not sure if you could see someone in this field, but it may be worth checking it out.

      And I think menopause does a number on all of our libidos so don’t feel too badly about that! However, before you do a big housecleaning surgically, maybe see if there are any natural/safe things you can take to help? I’m sorry I don’t have more suggestions to offer! Hope things get back to normal soon!

  33. I also have same story, gave birth to almost 10 pound baby vaginally and was pregnant again. I was 3 months pregnant with my 2nd one and was giving bath to my 3 year old and I felt something was coming out of me, I just got freak out, called my gynocologist and went to see him after half N hour, it was very normal for him, he said it is just your bladder coming out. Now my baby is 3 months old and my bladder is still down but slightly better I think. How many month it took for u to go up or I should use something, actually it’s not bothering me physically but mentally it’s killing me.
    Thanks for ur blog it just gave me a hope that things will be better after time

    • Christina says:

      3 months is definitely too soon, so don’t panic! I don’t think I even saw my uro-gynocologist until my son was at least 6 months old or more. I used to get a “feeling” which was my sign to go lie down on the couch and put my feet up immediately. Not so easy, I know, with a toddler too, but it helps a lot.

      The doctor told me that my body was still changing, with everything moving back into place post-birth. It took a while but we decided to wait for surgery until my youngest was 5 years (my thinking was I wanted all three kids to be walking on their own and potty trained so I could recover from surgery). I couldn’t run for a few years, and it isn’t 100% perfect, but things are SO MUCH better now. I hope, with time, they get better for you too!

      • I am going to see a physical therapist for pelvic floor muscles tomorrow, actually since last week whenever I was walking for more than 7-8 mins, my bladder starts to come down and I get a feeling like something is hanging in there it’s not coming out of body but it’s peeking through it, let’s see how the things will go tomorrow.

        • Christina says:

          I hope that helps—physical therapy is a great idea—I hadn’t thought of that!

          I really think time will help too! It’s hard when you want to feel 100% right away and it’s SUCH a weird sensation but I hope it gets better soon for you!

  34. My cystocele got worse after every period and get better after a week or so, is it happening to anyone else too, please let me know?

  35. I’m 3 months pregnant,and lately when I sneeze and cough it hurts my bladder!the other night I was sleeping and turned over to my back and it felt like bladder moved into the middle above my vagina! :O it was really a weird feeling an am debating to go to the doc office. Jus wondering if it would get worst if I don’t or do?

    • Christina says:

      I’d talk to a doctor about that—I’m not sure why you’d feel pain—it wasn’t painful for me at all. It’s likely that your pregnancy is moving everything around in your body and you probably won’t have to deal with this for your entire pregnancy—-I had a short window where it bothered me while pregnant and then after the birth, but then things have pretty much stayed in place. Good luck!

  36. I just found this. IM 24 on my third baby 28 weeks. I am having prolapse bladder issues. It’s been really emotional for me cause my Vanya father has been omitted from my life. His lifestyle changed for the worse. IM now with a amazing guy who is there for me with all the things a women would new like fixing things around the house. He is amazing in the fact that he has not even hinted at sex. Though we have not talked about these issues. IM afraid he will run the other way. Also things have been more open since I got pregnant and I have not had any penetration in months. I don’t want him to get started and think u are things so mushy lol. IM hoping since IM young and my uterus is also tilted and things have not fell out yet that it will go right back. IM having a elective c_describe and tying my tides IM done with it. I don’t want any further damage. I value my vagunalhealth.

  37. I am scared after reading all this online. my bladder has feel and was pinching my tube clogging it. just hada stent removed and talk of a bladder tack is scary . what else can I do ?

  38. I would like to tell all of you that I am 63 years old and discovered my prolapse bladder by surprise, just as the Fairly Odd Mother. I was taking a turkey out of the oven for Christmas and felt something fall out of myself. I felt this ball and thought it was a growing tumor or something like that. I felt no pain, but went to the hospital right away. After I found out what it was , I had two choices. Have a painful operation or where a pessary. I didn’t want either so I discovered my own remedy which I will email to the Fairy odd mother and see what she thinks. I don’t want to post anything yet until she says it is okay.

    Marilyn

    • Marilyn – I just wondered if you could email me and tell me your remedy for this problem? I would really appreciate it.

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  1. […] squeaked much past a few miles, even at my most fit. Throw asthma and some horror called “cystocele” into the mix and you start to understand how an 80-year-old toothless man finished ahead of […]

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