A fistula is an attachment between two organs and tissues that are not supposed to be connected. A vesicovaginal fistula is a small opening connecting the tissue of your bladder to the tissue of your vagina.
There are many other fistulas that can happen in the pelvic region, such as a vesicocervical fistula connecting the bladder and cervix or a rectovaginal fistula connecting your rectum and vagina. All pelvic fistulas can cause similar symptoms, so getting an accurate diagnosis is imperative for your treatment.
Vesicovaginal fistulas often form as a complication of vaginal or bladder surgery, but it can also form as a result of gynecological cancer or its treatments such as radiation therapy. Rarely, repeated or severe urinary tract infections lead to vesicovaginal fistulas.
Genitourinary pelvic fistulas, such as vesicovaginal fistulas, may cause you to constantly leak urine. If this is an issue you experience, particularly if you recently had pelvic surgery or gynecological cancer, you should contact Valley Urogynecology Associates for a diagnostic evaluation.
To find out whether your symptoms point to a vesicovaginal fistula, your providers at Valley Urogynecology Associates examine you with a standard pelvic exam. To find the exact location of the fistula, they use a procedure called cystoscopy that places a tiny camera inside your bladder.
Your provider may also use a computed tomography (CT) scan to further evaluate your bladder’s health and look for any complications that might get in the way of successful treatment.
Sometimes, vesicovaginal fistulas close on their own after 4-6 weeks with a catheter. However, if this approach doesn’t work, Valley Urogynecology Associates treats vesicovaginal fistulas with surgery. Your providers perform surgery to repair the fistula with one of these minimally invasive techniques:
During this surgery type, your surgeon accesses the fistula by way of your vaginal opening.
During robotic surgery, a robotic system assists your surgeon in performing the surgery with robotic precision.
After surgery for a vesicovaginal fistula, you’ll need to use a catheter for a few weeks while you heal.
To learn more about vesicovaginal fistulas and the surgeries that treat them, call Valley Urogynecology Associates or book an appointment online today.