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Vaginal Pessary for Prolapse

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What is a Vaginal Pessary?

A vaginal pessary is a removable support device that is inserted into the vagina to function as a supportive structure to keep in place the uterus (womb), and/ or bladder, and/or the rectum, or the vaginal vault (if you have had a hysterectomy).

Why do I need a Vaginal Pessary?

Your uterus, bladder or rectum has dropped down into your vagina because your pelvic floor muscles are weak, and/or the vaginal elastic supports have been damaged, y childbirth, aging, and or normal ‘wear and tear’, and are not providing enough support. This is called a pelvic organ prolapse.

What Causes a Vaginal Prolapse?

Prolapse can be caused by things such as:

  • Childbirth and pregnancy
  • Aging and the menopause
  • Your lifestyle including constipation, smoking and obesity
  • Heavy lifting
  • Previous pelvic surgery such as Hysterectomy
  • Genetic predisposition

What are the Benefits?

  • Pessaries can be used as an alternative to surgery
  • A Pessary can ease your symptoms and make you feel more comfortable
  • Relieve prolapse symptoms while waiting for surgery
  • Relieve prolapse symptoms while you are undergoing physiotherapy
  • Relieve prolapse symptoms while you are recovering post childbirth

What are the Risks?

If you experience any of the following you must report these to your nurse/doctor:

  • An increase in vaginal discharge which is smelly and/or irritation
  • Difficulty passing urine
  • Difficulty opening your bowels
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Vaginal pain or discomfort

Different types of Pessary

Your doctor/nurse will decide which type of pessary you should use depending on the type of prolapse you have, previous surgeries you have had  and if you are sexually active.  Usually the first pessary that is inserted fits comfortably. If it falls out, please contact your doctor/nurse and another will be refitted. Sometimes the size or shape of the pessary may need to be altered.

Depending on the type of pessary fitted you may/may not be able to be sexually active. Please discuss this with your nurse/doctor.

What happens after the Pessary is fitted?

Once the pessary has been fitted, it will need to be changed every 4-6 months. The nurse/doctor will ask you if you have had any problems with bleeding, discharge, urinary problems, bowel problems or discomfort. The pessary will then be gently removed, and the nurse/doctor will examine the vaginal walls for any infection or ulcerated areas. If there are no abnormalities a new pessary will be inserted.

Useful Contacts:

  • Bladder & Bowel Foundation SATRA Innovation Park Rockingham Road Kettering, Northants, NN16 9JH
  • Kerry Cayley, Uro-Gynaecology Nurse Specialist, Ext: 87119 Bleep: 1863, Email: [email protected]
  • Mary Corkett, Uro-Gynaecology Secretary, Ext: 86318, email: [email protected]
  • Milton Keynes University Hospital Switchboard: Telephone: 01908 660033.

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