If you have a prolapsed bladder, you are likely familiar with the side effects: a feeling of fullness, heaviness or pain in your pelvic area, going to the bathroom more than usual, and more.1
What about sleeping? There’s nothing worse than having a bad night’s sleep, and a prolapse might make sleeping uncomfortable and difficult. Here’s some guidance on how to sleep with a prolapsed bladder.
Living With a Prolapsed Bladder
A prolapsed bladder is also known as a fallen bladder or a cystocele. It happens when the ligaments and muscles that hold up your bladder—known as the pelvic floor—are stretched or weakened. Your bladder then sags into your vagina, a type of pelvic organ prolapse.1
There are three grades: mild, moderate and severe. The severity of your symptoms and your treatment options may vary depending on what grade of bladder prolapse is impacting you.
Symptoms can include feeling or seeing something bulging through your vaginal opening; a feeling of pain or fullness in the pelvic area, which may get worse throughout the day, when you stand, or lift heavy objects; needing to pee more often and trouble emptying your bladder when you do pee; and frequent urinary tract infections (UTIs).1
It can also lead to a condition known as nocturia, or the need to pee frequently during the night. While it’s common to get up at night to go to the bathroom, it becomes a problem if it happens every night at least twice and disrupts sleep. Nocturia can happen at any age, but is most common in individuals over the age of 60, and can be caused by specific conditions like menopause, and pelvic organ prolapse.2
Physical discomfort and needing to get up and pee often can make it hard to get a good night’s sleep. Here are some tips to help.
How To Sleep With A Prolapsed Bladder
Difficulty sleeping may be directly related to your symptoms. You may have discomfort or pain in the pelvic area when you lay down. You may be getting up frequently to pee, and then have trouble getting back to sleep. Or, you may have anxiety or stress because of your condition, which can interfere with sleep quality.3
Here are 3 tips to help sleep with each of these common side effects:
1. If you’re getting up many times during the night to pee, avoid drinking too much before bed, especially caffeine and alcohol. This will make the need to pee even worse than it already is with the prolapse side effects. It’s also important to practice what’s called “good bladder habits” during the day. These habits include going to the bathroom regularly; avoiding heavy lifting; and doing pelvic floor exercises.3
2. Finding a comfortable sleep position can be difficult if you experience pain when you lay down. There’s no one way that suits everyone, but side sleeping and back sleeping seem to be the best options. If you’re sleeping on your side, use a pillow between your legs to help alleviate pressure on the bladder and pelvic area. Place it lengthwise to align your hips and pelvis, which can help relieve strain on your pelvic floor. Back sleepers should put a pillow under the knees to elevate the legs slightly and take pressure off the pelvic floor.3
3. Practice good “sleep hygiene.” This includes sticking to a regular sleep schedule, and creating a comfortable sleep environment that’s conducive to sleep. Keep your bedroom calm, dark, and quiet, promoting a deeper, more restful sleep. It’s important to get enough sleep, since poor sleep quality and sleep deprivation can make your condition worse, as well as add other negative effects like increased risk for stroke, heart disease, and high blood pressure, and psychological effects like increased irritability or development of anxiety or depression.4
See a Doctor
A bladder prolapse can make you feel embarrassed or self-conscious, impact your sleep quality, and even lead to anxiety or depression. Don’t suffer in silence. Use our Physician Finder to find a doctor near you with expertise in women’s health, in particular if your prolapse symptoms are affecting your quality of life. A doctor can suggest the best treatment options and support your well-being.1