What is a vaginal pessary?

A vaginal pessary is a removable device that supports the areas in the pelvic region affected by pelvic organ prolapse or to relieve pressure caused by stress incontinence.

What are the types of vaginal pessaries?

There are various types of vaginal pessaries that fit into two categories — support vagina pessaries and space-filling vaginal pessaries. Most are made of silicone and come in many different shapes and sizes.

Types of vaginal pessaries include:

  • Ring
    The ring is the most commonly prescribed support vaginal pessary because it is easy to insert and remove without a medical provider’s assistance.
  • Gehrung
    A Gehrung is vaginal pessary that is commonly used to treat advanced uterine prolapse. This device is custom designed to mold to the user’s body.
  • Gellhorn
    A Gellhorn vaginal pessary is the most commonly used space-filling vaginal pessary and used for patients who are suffering from more severe prolapse.
  • Cube
    A cube vaginal pessary is used for patients who have more advanced-stage prolapse. This device uses suction to support areas that may be sagging or bulging due to prolapse.

Who is a candidate for a vaginal pessary?

Patients who have any of the following conditions may be candidates for a vaginal pessary:

  • Prolapsed uterus - to keep your uterus in place if it is sagging or bulging into the vagina
  • Cystocele - to keep the bladder in place if it drops into the vagina
  • Rectocele - to keep the rectum in place if it begins to bulge into the vagina
  • Pregnant women who suffer from stress urinary incontinence - to help prevent urine leakages

Risks of a vaginal pessary

Vaginal pessaries are generally safe devices. Risks that are associated with use include:

  • Vaginal irritation
  • Vaginal discharge that smells bad
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Bloody discharge

What to expect during a vaginal pessary

Your Mercy Health doctor will work with you to determine which device is most appropriate for your case. Once the type of device is chosen, you may try several sizes of pessaries until you find the one that fits your body the best. Once the device is in place, you will wear it for a few days and then schedule a follow-up appointment for it to be checked. If the device is not working properly, you may need to change to a different type of vaginal pessary.

Follow-up information for patients with a vaginal pessary

It is important to keep the vaginal pessary clean. Follow your doctor’s instructions on how to care for your device. Some patients may be able to clean them on their own, while others may need to visit the doctor to get their device cleaned.

Your doctor will inform you if you can have sexual intercourse while wearing a vagina pessary.

If your device is too small, it may fall out when you strain or lift something heavy. If the pessary falls out, schedule an appointment with your doctor to find a device that fits better into your body.

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