Women’s Health – Pessaries
Are you a female struggling with symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse and/or
stress incontinence? Do you experience symptoms of bulging or pulling vaginally and/or
leaking during exercise, coughing, etc.? If so, you may benefit from a pessary.
Pessaries are used as a non-surgical approach to the treatment of pelvic organ
prolapse and have a success rate (defined as continued use as treatment) of roughly
68%. A vaginal pessary is a removable device, made of silicone, that is placed into the
vagina for anatomical support. Pessaries can help with pelvic organ prolapse (when the
uterus, bladder, and/or rectum have dropped from their normal place and push against
the vaginal wall) and sometimes stress incontinence (leaking that occurs with coughing,
sneezing, etc.). Prolapse can happen when the muscles that support your organs get
weak or stretched from menopause, age, childbirth and/or surgery.
Pessaries are a good option for anyone with symptoms, but they can be a virtual
lifesaver for people who do not wish to have surgery or for whom surgery is not
recommended. The groups of women who may not want surgery would include women
who wish to potentially become pregnant again, women with mild symptoms who do not
meet the criteria for surgery and women who have other health problems such as lung
or heart disease that makes surgery too dangerous.
A variety of pessaries are available with the ring pessary being the most
commonly used. Pessaries are fitted at your doctor’s office, during which time your
doctor will teach you more about pessaries. Pessaries do require routine checks to be
sure they are not causing any irritation to the vaginal wall.
If you have a pessary that is the right size and in the right position, you will not be
able to feel it and you can still do all your normal activities. Most vaginal pessaries can
be worn during sexual intercourse without your partner being able to feel it.
It is important that you follow your doctor’s instructions when caring for your
pessary. Possible side effects of pessaries include a change in vaginal discharge,
irritation or discomfort, trouble passing urine, or difficult bowel movements. All potential
side effects and risks will be discussed with your physician during your consultation.
For more information on vaginal pessaries or to schedule a consultation with one
of our female physicians, visit us at 4120–15 Sunpark Plaza SE or call us at (403) 910-
3990. Currently only available at our Macleod Trail South location.