If you’ve been experiencing vaginal prolapse, and you’re looking for a non-surgical fix, a pessary might be the way to go.
A pessary is a rubber or plastic donut-shaped device that your doctor inserts into the vagina to hold the uterus in place.
How Does a Pessary Work?
If you decide to take this route, your doctor will insert and fit the pessary to hold the pelvic organs in position. From there, your doctor will teach you how to clean and re-insert the pessary yourself, or you can come into your doctor’s office every three months to have it removed and cleaned. Most patients will get a new pessary every couple of years.
Catrina Crisp MD, of Cincinnati Urogynecology Associates, describes a pessary as being similar to a diaphragm because it goes into the vagina, but it's something the patient can manage on her own. “You have to get the right size for the patient. If it’s the right size for the patient, they don’t even feel it,” she explains. “It doesn’t cause pain or pressure.”
How Effective is a Pessary?
When you choose a pessary for the right patient, evidence shows that about 75 percent of these patients will report improvement in their prolapse symptoms.
Who Benefits from Having a Pessary?
The main benefit of a pessary is that it’s a minimally invasive approach used to treat mild, pelvic organ prolapse. “We have some patients who’ve had pessaries for 20 years. For them, it works, and they avoid surgery,” Dr. Crisp explains. "We'll certainly manage it right along with them to be sure they're taken care of."