About the disease
A vesico-vaginal fistula is a type of urogenital fistula, whereby a hole develops between the vaginal wall and the bladder. As a result, urine leaks into the vaginal cavity.
For some women, the involuntary discharge of urine can be continuous. In severe cases, these discharges can cause a woman to develop problems with urination and diseases of the urinary tract. A vesico-vaginal fistula can cause physical discomfort in the vaginal area and the subsequent incontinence can be quite embarrassing for the individual, having a knock-on psychological effect on them. Moreover, as the urine leaks into the vaginal vault, there is a higher risk of developing an infection, such as cystitis. It can lead to various inflammatory processes, especially when practicing unprotected sex.
There are many factors that can lead to the development of a vesico-vaginal fistula. Multiple pregnancies or prolonged labor are among them. When a woman is in labor, her pelvic muscles are put under a tremendous amount of strain, causing them to weaken. The loss of their support and strength can lead to the development of a vesico-vaginal fistula. Frequent weight-lifting and obesity can also have a detrimental effect on the vaginal muscles, thereby making the individual more susceptible to developing a vesico-vaginal fistula.
- Discomfort in the vaginal area
- Frequent urination
- Urine leakage
- Pain when urinating
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- During a general examination, the doctor will check the patient’s vaginal area for signs of infection or disease. These may manifest similar symptoms to a vesico-vaginal fistula.
- The doctor will also conduct tests to rule out the possibility of a sexually transmitted disease. The doctor will ask the patient about her sex life, the number of sexual partners she has had and the types of contraception she and her partner(s) use.
- A urinalysis and blood tests are also useful in determining whether the patient has caught an infection.
- An ultrasound and other imaging tests, such as an MRI or CT scan, can also show if there is a hole between the vagina and the bladder.
- Plastic reconstruction surgery closes the hole and normalizes the structure between the vagina and the bladder.
- After surgery, the patient may need to use a catheter for a few days while the repaired tissue heals.