Pessary, Prolapse and You
By Linda Verde
One woman after having a pessary for two years said. “It was a very positive experience, for me.” Christine continued, “As a personal support worker, it was difficult to do my job when my insides felt like they were falling out. I was in constant pain from the vaginal pressure. Eventually, I had surgery, but the pessary certainly worked until then. It was worth the embarrassment of asking for help.”
So, what is a pessary? It sounds like a flower or some confection from the patisserie. Wrong! A pessary is a feat of engineering that shores up drooping pelvic organs from within the vagina. Drooping pelvic organs?
Yup! It’s called pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and is defined as a pelvic floor disorder. “Disorder” understates the pain and discomfort this causes. And, as if that’s not enough, throw in urinary incontinence! Is a pessary the answer? For women with high risk factors or a disinclination for surgery, a pessary is a cost-effective, low-risk alternative. Consult your health care professional to determine if this device is its suitable and if it is, they will fit you with the proper device.
Most pessaries are made of medical-grade silicone. It’s strong, can be washed with soap and water or autoclaved and doesn’t absorb odours or vaginal discharge. There are several kinds of pessaries (as shown above) and they may help to manage POP, to manage incontinence or for gradually administering medication. Concerned about sexual intimacy? It is possible: consult with your HCP to choose the device that is right for you.
Overall using a pessary is a simple procedure done in your doctor’s office once the proper device is selected. Pessaries carry few risks. Care includes cleaning regularly with mild soap and water. It is important to follow your medical professional’s instructions carefully.
What’s it Like Wearing a Pessary?
If your pessary is inserted properly, you shouldn’t feel it. What you will feel is relief from the pain and pressure caused by prolapse. You can resume normal activities, including sex, if your pessary allows, and neither you nor your partner should feel it is there.
Christine isn’t alone. Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues have given many women a voice to talk about this wonderful part of their bodies. A pessary won’t fix a prolapse, but it can ease your symptoms and give you a more comfortable life.