What is a pessary?
A pessary is a removable plastic device that is used to help support the uterus, vagina, bladder, rectum. This treatment is used in women who suffer from pelvic organ prolapse. A pessary is similar in appearance to a diaphragm used for birth control, though they do come in different shapes and sizes.
When are pessaries used?
Pelvic organ prolapse is typically due to weakened ligaments and muscles that usually hold the uterus in place in the pelvic region. When the uterus prolapses, it can droop or sag into the vaginal canal. This creates pressure and discomfort in the vaginal area. You may even have the sensation that your uterus is falling out of your body.
Pessaries can be used as a temporary solution until a more permanent surgical fix can be performed. It is also an option for patients who are not healthy enough for surgery. Dr. Antonini may also prescribe a pessary if you have a cystocele, a condition that occurs when the bladder prolapses into the vagina.
They are also effective in treating a rectocele, which occurs when the wall of the rectum prolapses into the bottom of the vagina. A pessary may also effectively reduce urinary leakage when it is used to compress the urethra.
Is it comfortable?
If the pessary is fitted correctly, you may not even be aware of the device. Your condition and symptoms will determine the best type for your use. To be comfortable and practical, the device must be the right size. This requires careful fitting by Dr. Antonini and the providers at Central Texas Urogynecology & Continence Center. After the initial fitting, you’ll return within a few weeks so that our team can make sure the device is working as expected.
Are there any risks or side effects?
There are some potential risks associated with a poorly-fitting pessary, including:
- Erosion of the vaginal wall, leading the formation of a fistula
- Open sores on the vaginal wall
- Vaginal discharge
The side effects are generally minimal as long as the pessary is the right type and fit, and you follow your provider’s instructions for use and care. Pessaries require ongoing care with Dr. Antonini, for cleaning and reinsertion if you are unable to do so on your own and so that he can ensure that the device remains effective.
Request a consultation at Central Texas Urogynecology & Continence Center
If you are suffering from any of the symptoms associated with pelvic organ prolapse, schedule a consultation at our urogynecology & continence center in Austin. Dr. Antonini and staff will provide you with an exam and thorough information about your condition. From there, our team will decide the best way to provide treatment. To schedule your consultation, give us a call at 512-716-0861 or fill out the form on our site to request an appointment.