Connective tissue separates the pelvic organs. The tissue, called fascia, is attached to nearby muscles. The fascia and muscles support the bladder, vagina, and rectum. Defects in the fascia can cause cystoceles and rectoceles.
In a cystocele, there is a defect in the fascia between the bladder and vagina. This allows a part of the bladder wall to bulge into the vagina. There are 3 grades of cystocele:
Grade 1—mildest form, where the bladder drops only partway into the vagina
Grade 2—moderate form, where the bladder has sunken far enough to reach the opening of the vagina
Grade 3—most severe form, where the bladder sags through the opening of the vagina
Cystocele (prolapsed bladder). National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/bladder-control-problems-women/cystocele-prolapsed-bladder. Updated March 2014. Accessed December 18, 2017.
A healthy pregnancy for women with diabetes. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at: http://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq176.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20130301T1642555353. Published December 2011. Accessed October 27, 2014.
Rectocele. American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons website. Available at:https://www.fascrs.org/patients/disease-condition/rectocele-expanded-information. Accessed December 18, 2017.
Last reviewed November 2018 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Adrienne Carmack, MD
Last Updated: 12/20/2014
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