Dr. MJ Bazos MD,
What is a pessary?
A pessary is a plastic device that fits into
your vagina to help support your uterus (womb), vagina, bladder or rectum.
The pessary is most often used for "prolapse" of
the uterus. Prolapse means that your uterus droops or tends to "fall out"
because it loses support after you give birth or have pelvic surgery. This
problem is usually fixed with surgery, but you can also use a pessary to help
keep the uterus in place.
A pessary can help if you have a "cystocele"
(when your bladder droops down into your vagina) or if you have a "rectocele"
(when your rectum sticks up into the bottom of your vagina).
A pessary can also help many women with stress
urinary incontinence (the leaking of urine when you cough, strain or exercise).
Pregnant women with incontinence can also use a pessary.
What kind of pessary will I use?
Your doctor will decide which type of pessary
you should use depending on the problem you have. The pessary has to be fit just
right. There are no tools that can tell what the right size is. The pessary is
fit by trial and error. It usually takes a few tries to get the right one.
After the first fitting, you'll need to go back
to the doctor's office to have the pessary rechecked. Your doctor will probably
check the pessary in a few days. After that you will probably be checked every
few months. Sometimes the size or shape of the pessary will have to be changed.
How do I care for my pessary?
It's important that you follow your doctor's
instructions about caring for your pessary. Most pessaries can be worn for many
days to weeks at a time before they have to be taken out and cleaned with
ordinary soap and water. You may be able to take out, clean and reinsert your
pessary yourself, or your doctor may want you to come into the office so he or
she can do it. Be sure to keep your check-up appointments and clean the pessary
as your doctor tells you.
Does the pessary cause any side
You may notice more vaginal discharge than
normal. Your vaginal discharge may also develop an odor. Certain vaginal gels
can help with these side effects. Your doctor may or may not have you douche as
Vaginal irritation is another possible side
effect. Women who are past menopause may need to use estrogen cream for the
Can the pessary get lost or fall
The vagina is a closed tube. The pessary can't
go anywhere else inside the body. The pessary can fall out of the vagina if you
strain or lift something. This usually means that your pessary is too small.
Check with your doctor if your pessary keeps falling out.
What else should I know?
Many pessaries can be worn during intercourse --
your doctor will tell you if you can't. Be sure to tell your doctor promptly if
you have any discomfort with the pessary or if you have trouble urinating or
having a bowel movement.