Urethrocele (urethral hypermobility)
Greek “ourethra”=urethra & “kele”=hernia
The urethra, the tube that conveys urine from the bladder, is about 1½ inches in length and is fused to the distal third of the vagina. The bladder neck is located at the junction of the bladder and urethra and is the main muscle that provides continence (urinary control). Descent of the bladder neck and urethra into the roof of the vagina occurs when their support structures become lax. Detachment of the urethropelvic ligaments from the tendinous arc allow such descent. This causes stress urinary incontinence, a spurt-like leakage of urine that can occur with any activity that increases abdominal pressure, typically sneezing, coughing, lifting, laughing, running, dancing, aerobics, etc.
Cystocele (bladder prolapse) Refer to (Figure 9).
Greek “kystis”=bladder & “kele”=hernia
Descent of the bladder through a weakness in its supporting tissues gives rise to a cystocele, a.k.a. “dropped bladder,” “prolapsed bladder,” or “bladder hernia.” A central-defect cystocele occurs when the bladder falls into the roof of the vagina as a result of a weakness in the perivesical fascia between the top wall of the vagina and the bladder. A lateral-defect cystocele occurs when the attachment of the bladder to the pelvic side wall weakens (the vesicopelvic fascia becomes detached from the tendinous arc). The most common defect is a combined central and lateral defect followed by a lateral defect alone, followed by a central defect alone. As a cystocele progresses, the amount of descent into the roof of the vagina increases. Cystoceles are graded as follows:
GRADE 1= mild
GRADE 2= bladder to vaginal opening (introitus) with strain.
GRADE 3= bladder outside vaginal opening with strain.
GRADE 4= bladder outside vaginal opening at all times.
The symptoms of a cystocele are typically one or more of the following:
Rectocele (rectal prolapse) Refer to (Figure 10).
Greek “rectum”=straight & “kele”=hernia
Ascent of the rectum through a weakness in its supporting tissues gives rise to a rectocele, a.k .a. “dropped rectum” or “prolasped rectum,” or “rectal hernia.” The rectum protrudes through the floor of the vagina because the levator muscles, prerectal fascia, and pararectal fascia have become lax. As a rectocele progresses, the amount of ascent into the vaginal floor increases. Essentially, a rectocele is an upside-down cystocele. Rectoceles are graded as follows:
GRADE 1= mild
GRADE 2= rectum to vaginal opening with strain
GRADE 3= rectum outside vaginal opening with strain
GRADE 4= rectum outside vaginal opening at all times
The symptoms of a rectocele are typically one or more of the following:
Perineal Floor Relaxation
Usually accompanying a rectocele is perineal muscle laxity, a condition in which the muscles of the perineum (the anatomical region between the vagina and anus) become lax. Weakness in the levator muscles, the bulbcavernosus muscle, the transverse perineal muscles, and the central tendon occur causing the following anatomical changes:
Women with perineal relaxation who are sexually active may complain of a very loose or gaping vagina, making intercourse less satisfying for themselves and their partners.
Enterocele (small intestinal prolapse) Referto (Figure 11).
Greek “enteron”=intestine & “kele”=hernia
The peritoneum is the thin sac that contains the abdominal organs, including the small intestine. Descent of the peritoneal contents through a weakness in the supporting tissues at the apex of the vagina gives rise to an enterocele, a.k.a. “dropped small intestine,” “small intestine prolapse,” or “small intestine hernia.” Enteroceles are caused by a weakness or separation of the cardinal and sacro-uterine ligaments. As an enterocele progresses, the amount of descent into the vagina increases.
Enteroceles are graded as follows:
GRADE 1= mild
GRADE 2= peritoneal sac to vaginal opening with strain
GRADE 3= peritoneal sac outside vaginal opening with strain
GRADE 4= peritoneal sac outside vaginal opening at all times
The symptoms of an enterocele are typically one or more of the following:
There are several types of enteroceles:
“Simple” enteroceles exist when there is no vaginal vault prolapse; “complex” enteroceles are associated with vaginal vault and uterine prolapse.
Vaginal Vault Prolapse
The most advanced stage of pelvic relaxation occurs when the support structures of the vagina (cardinal and uterosacral ligaments) are damaged by hysterectomy or other pelvic surgery such that the vaginal vault everts. Vault prolapse, a.k.a. “dropped vaginal vault.” “prolapsed vaginal vault,” or “vaginal vault hernia” is rarely an isolated event, but rather occurs in association with enterocele, cystocele and uterine prolapse. For illustrative purposes, if the vagina can be thought of as a “sock,” vaginal vault prolapse is a condition in which the sock is turned inside out.
Uterine Prolapse Refer to (Figure 12).
Descent of the uterus and cervix because of weakness of their supporting structures (utero-sacral and cardinal ligaments) results in uterine prolapse, a.k.a. “dropped uterus,” “prolapsed uterus,” or “uterine hernia.” Normally the cervix is located in the deepest third of the vagina. As uterine prolapse progresses, the amount of descent into the vaginal canal will increase. Uterine prolapse is graded as follows:
GRADE 1= mild descent of the cervix towards the vaginal opening with strain
GRADE 2= cervix to vaginal opening with strain
GRADE 3= cervix outside vaginal opening with strain
GRADE 4= “procidentia,” complete prolapse in which the cervix and uterus are outside the vaginal opening at all times
The symptoms of uterine prolapse are typically one or more of the following: