Many women who experience prolapse or incontinence manage it efficiently with a simple medical device called a pessary. If this is the first time you’ve heard of a pessary, you’re not alone. Here’s everything you need to know to help you decide if a pessary is the right option for you.
What is a pessary?
A pessary is a medical-grade silicon device that offers internal structural support to the bladder, uterus and rectum. We say it’s like a good supportive bra, but for your internal organs. Traditionally they have been used with older women but are now starting to be introduced in a women’s wellness plan earlier in life (often after having a baby) to reduce the risk of prolapse and incontinence symptoms worsening later on.
Why might I need one?
A pessary may be needed if you experience a condition called Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP). POP is where internal pelvic organs, including the bladder, uterus and bowels, descend into, or out of, the vagina. Pessaries can also be used to help manage incontinence. Learn more about prolapse risk factors, symptoms and types on The Wellness Boutique blog here >
How is a pessary fitted?
A trained medical professional such as a doctor, gynaecologist or women’s health physiotherapist will fit a pessary into the vagina for the first time. At The Wellness Boutique, we offer a special pessary fitting appointment to trial different types until we get the right fit. We also show you how to remove, care for and fit your own pessary at home.
What types of pessaries are there?
There are many different shapes and sizes, including Rings, Cubes, Gellhorns, plus a range of special incontinence pessaries. Finding the right one can take some trial and error, so don’t be discouraged if the first pessary isn’t perfect. Just let us know so we can explore other options until you feel entirely comfortable.
Do I need to wear a pessary full time?
Some women keep their pessary in throughout the day while others use it only for activities like exercise. It depends on your situation, lifestyle, and severity of symptoms. We can tailor a plan to suit you.
How do I care for it?
Pessaries are very easy to care for and manage at home. Depending on the type of pessary fitted you may need to remove and wash the pessary every night or once-twice a week. We will let you know how often you need to remove your pessary and show you how to care for it during your appointment.
Can you have sex with a pessary?
A few pessary types can be left in place for intercourse, but many women also choose to remove it for intercourse. We can discuss this in your appointment.
What alternatives are there?
If you are experiencing Pelvic Organ Prolapse, there are other treatments, including surgery. However if it can be avoided, we recommend trying a pessary before resorting to surgery. We can discuss these reasons in your appointment.
Are there any side effects?
Occasionally women may experience mild side effects from pessary use, including vaginal irritation, increased discharge, bleeding, and urinary tract infections. The good news is these can often be resolved quickly by removing the pessary. However, it is still important to talk to your doctor or women’s health specialist to discuss any complications.
What happens in an appointment?
Our team is trained and experienced in fitting a range of pessaries to help treat prolapse. We feel a great sense of joy when we can empower you to remove any worries, take control of your health and get on with life.
I’d like to learn more. What are the next steps?
To start the journey and see if a pessary could be good for you, please book an initial pelvic floor assessment here. In this appointment we can check your pelvic floor to make sure you can support a pessary. We will also send you home with some information to review before you make your decision.
If the pessary is the right solution and you decide to try a pessary, we then book a dedicated pessary fitting session. This unrushed session gives us plenty of time to try a range of pessaries and find the best fit for you. We will also teach you how to care for, insert and remove the pessary on your own at home.
At The Wellness Boutique, we love to empower women with the understanding and confidence to manage prolapse or incontinence with ease and get back to doing the things they love the most.