Urethral prolapse is a slipping down or protrusion of the urethra into the vagina. This disorder is also referred to as urethrocele. It occurs when two layers of urethra, a vascular tissue and a mucous membrane, separate from one another. This disorder is a rare medical condition that is more likely to occur in elderly women. Statistics also shows that it is more common in Afro-American women.
Causes of urethral prolapse disorder are not clear. It is considered that it occurs due to the weakening of tissues and pelvic muscles and its inability to hold the urethra. This condition may be also caused by childbirth, as a child can damage tissues while moving through the vagina. But it may also occur in children due to congenital tissue weakness. There are two types of the prolapse depending on its cause: prepubertal and postmenopausal. In postmenopausal women it is caused by natural weakening of muscle tissues.
Conditions that increase pressure inside the bladder, like constipation, obesity or coughing can also provoke the prolapse. Other hypothetical causes include neuromuscular disorders, urethral malposition and different traumas.
Urethral prolapses usually run asymptomatic. In some cases urinary frequency, stress incontinence (a condition when a person cannot control the bladder) and difficulties in emptying the bladder may be experienced. Pain while sexual intercourse may also occur. Vaginal bleeding is experienced in rare cases, while blood in the urine, or hematuria, is not common. In children parents may notice blood in the underwear.
However, the symptoms are mild, so patients often neglect these symptoms or confuse them with other urethral disorders, like urethritis.
Urethral prolapse is difficult to reveal as it often passes asymptomatic. Physical examination shows a protruding from the vaginal wall. Cystourethroscopy is performed in order to confirm or preclude the diagnosis.
Topical estrogen creams are applied with a cotton swab for relieving a prolapse and its symptoms, but they are not efficient for its curing.
Urethral prolapse may be treated only with surgical intervention. The goal of treatment is to reattach the urethra to the bladder or to remove prolapsed tissues. The surgery is done in case if the symptoms cannot be managed. Medications are prescribed in order to prevent or treat infections until the surgery is done. Sitz baths are recommended for more effective healing. Irritants like strong soaps should be avoided.
Urethral prolapse is not life-threatening, but it may cause a range of complications that can make it difficult to perform everyday activities. This medical condition often passes asymptomatic, that’s why in most cases it is left untreated for a long time and then causes a range of complication. The most common complication is cystitis. Besides, prolapse is often accompanied with cystoceles, kidney disorders and infections.
Urethral prolapse may recur even after surgical treatment. To prevent its relapse you should:
- avoid cough by treating it with syrups or medications;
- prevent constipations by eating foods containing fibre or taking medications;
- avoid irritants like bubble baths and strong soaps.
Although these measured are possible to take at home, you should not neglect doctor’s consultations, as only he can reveal the disease and choose the appropriate treatment.
These articles can be used for informational purposes only. To get an accurate diagnosis consult your doctor!
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