A vaginal pessary is a device which supports the vagina. It needs to be changed every three to six months. Vaginal pessaries have been proven to be as successful as surgery in relieving prolapse symptoms. Pessaries don’t fix prolapses but they can reduce or lessen the symptoms of prolapse and help you live more comfortably.
You and your doctor will discuss the most suitable option for you.
How is a pessary put in place?
Special nurses, doctors and physiotherapists can put a pessary in place. You won’t need an anaesthetic because it’s usually not too uncomfortable.
Because pessaries come in a number of sizes and shapes, you may need to try a few before you find one that is comfortable and provides the right support.
What’s it like having a pessary?
If you have a pessary that is the right size and in the right position, you won’t be able to feel it and you’ll be able to do all your normal activities. It’s also okay to have sex with a pessary and your partner should not be able to feel it.
A pessary that is the wrong size can fall out but it cannot end up anywhere else in your body.
How long can I use a pessary for?
Pessaries are a safe long-term treatment for prolapse but they do need to be changed every three to six months. Some women will be able to do this at home themselves but others will need to go to a hospital or a clinic to have this done for them.
What are the benefits of using a pessary?
The benefits of using a pessary are that it:
can reduce or lessen the symptoms of vaginal prolapse
does not stop you from being able to have sex
is less invasive (and as a result, less complicated) than surgery.
What are the possible problems of using a pessary? Are there any risks?
Very rarely the pessary causes pressure areas in the vagina. It is important that you see your doctor every 3-6 months to have the pessary changed and to check the vagina. Please tell your doctor if you notice any unusual bleeding. There is no risk of the pessary being lost inside the vagina.
Do I need to do anything with the pessary?
Your doctor may ask you to use some oestrogen cream in the vagina. This will keep the vagina healthy while the pessary is in place. You will need to see your doctor every 3 to 6 months to have the pessary changed. Your doctor will be happy to answer any questions you have and can give you more specific advice. If you experience complications after you leave hospital please see your local doctor.