If you have been diagnosed with a pelvic organ prolapse, and the exercises your doctor recommended have not helped or no longer help, then talk to your doctor about other options for treatment. Exercises may help with a mild prolapse, but since the condition can progress, you may need another option to relieve your discomfort. An advanced prolapse may require surgery, but a pessary might be a solution to try when your condition requires more than exercise but it is not bad enough to need surgery. Here is some information about using a pessary for pelvic organ prolapse.
Why a Pessary Is Helpful
A prolapse is caused when your pelvic floor is weak and can no longer support your organs. When this happens, one of your organs may slip into your vagina. This is what creates the feeling of pressure and discomfort. Your prolapse may be caused by your bladder, rectum, intestine, or uterus. It causes the organ to bulge into your vagina, and in severe cases, the bulge may be so large you can see the organ at the end of your vagina.
A pessary can help this situation by providing structural support for your vagina. You insert the pessary and it holds the organ back so it can no longer create a bulge or slip into your vagina.
How a Pessary Is Used
Pessaries come in different shapes so they can be placed internally in different positions to hold back an organ in a specific location. Ring shapes are common and the easiest to put in and take out. They are soft and flexible, and as long as they have the right fit, they are not uncomfortable to wear. You can take a ring pessary out and clean it daily. Other pessaries have to be taken out by your doctor, so you leave them in for weeks or months at a time.
Pessaries are often custom made so they have a comfortable and exact fit. A pessary does not cure your pelvic organ prolapse, but it can relieve your symptoms by keeping your organs in place. Some also help with urinary incontinence you may be experiencing due to your prolapse.
A pessary could prevent or postpone the need for surgery. You can continue pelvic floor physical therapy when you use a pessary, and your doctor may encourage you to do things like lose weight and eat a high-fiber diet so you will not bear pressure on your organs due to constipation. It is possible to live well with pelvic organ prolapse as long as you get proper treatment so the condition can be managed.