What is a pessary?
A vaginal pessary is a device made of silicone that is inserted in the vagina to support and protect the vaginal tissues from pelvic organ prolapse. A pessary can provide a conservative, non-surgical option to help reduce the symptoms caused by a uterine, bladder or bowel prolapse. (To learn more about pelvic organ prolapse, see my previous blog: June is Pelvic Organ Prolapse Awareness Month @ https://www.pelvicplusphysio.com/blog). It does this by keeping the pelvic organs and the pelvic floor muscles in an improved position that facilitates a better pelvic floor muscle contraction.
Sadly, the symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse can make women avoid certain activities or exercises that they enjoy for fear of worsening their symptoms
A well-fitting pessary along with an individualized pelvic floor strength program can eradicate or minimize the symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse, including:
The sensation of a bulge at the vaginal or rectal opening that can be seen or felt, and that may change depending on position, physical activity, or bowel movements.
Heaviness or pressure felt in the perineal region (between the vagina and anus).
Incomplete emptying of or difficulty evacuating the bladder or bowels.
Difficulty initiating urination.
Pain is not typically a defining characteristic of prolapse.
Pessaries are also used to prevent the progression of a prolapse and in certain cases will help relieve urinary and/or fecal incontinence.
Pessaries come in different shapes and sizes. Your doctor or your pelvic health physiotherapist with specialized training in pessary fitting is able to determine the best type and fit for you. Their aim is to reduce the symptoms of heaviness in the pelvic region, incontinence, etc, without feeling the pessary itself. A pessary should never cause vaginal discomfort or pain while it is being worn.
A pessary will last for 2-3 years. It is important to have regular follow-ups with a pelvic health physiotherapist or your doctor to ensure there is no injury or tissue erosion occurring. It is important to make the more frequent follow-ups initially and then on an annual basis to ensure that the vaginal tissues are tolerating the pessary well. It is also important that the pessary user is able to insert, remove, and perform the proper hygienic procedures for that specific pessary.
This is something a pelvic health physiotherapist with the training is able to teach you.
Interested in knowing more? I can be reached by email or phone contact, click on the contact tab at the top of this page. I am ready to answer your questions about pessary use for pelvic organ prolapse.
Pessary fitting is a service that is provided at Pelvic Plus Physio!
PELVIC PLUS PHYSIO - HELPING YOU FIND FREEDOM IN MOTION!