A vaginal pessary is a removable plastic device that is similar in appearance to a diaphragm used for birth control. The pessary fits into your vagina and helps support your uterus, vagina, bladder, or rectum. It’s often used for prolapse of the uterus, which causes the uterus to droop or sag into the vaginal canal. This creates pressure and discomfort in the vaginal region. You may even have the sensation that your uterus is falling out of your body. Pelvic organ prolapse is typically due to weakened muscles and ligaments that usually hold the uterus in place in the pelvic region.
Pessaries are sometimes used as temporary fixes until a more permanent surgical solution can be undertaken or for those patients who are not otherwise healthy enough for surgery. Dr. Antonini may also prescribe a pessary if you have a cystocele, a condition that occurs when the bladder droops down into the vagina. They’re also effective in treating a rectocele, which occurs when the wall of the rectum bulges into the bottom of the vagina. A pessary also may effectively reduce urinary leakage when it’s used to compress the urethra.
If it’s fitted correctly, you should not even be aware of the device. Pessaries come in different shapes and sizes. The best type for your use is determined by the condition you have. In order to be effective and comfortable, a pessary must be the right size. This requires careful fitting by a skilled provider, such as Dr. Antonini. After the initial fitting, you’ll return within a brief time for a recheck to make sure it’s working as expected.
There are some potential risks associated with a poorly fitting pessary, including:
You may experience an increase in vaginal discharge, but side effects are generally minimal as long as the pessary is the right fit and type, and you follow Dr. Antonini’s instructions for care and use. Pessaries require ongoing care with Dr. Antonini, to ensure the device remains effective and for cleaning and reinsertion if you are unable to do so on your own.
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