Pessaries are one of the most common non-surgical treatments offered for patients who have pelvic organ prolapses. Pessaries are removable devices, typically made of soft silicone, that are inserted into the vagina to hold prolapses in place.

At Center for Advanced Gyn & Urogynecology, located in Chevy Chase and Germantown, MD, we provide expert pessary fitting and management services to help improve your comfort and quality of life.

What do pessaries look like?

Pessaries come in many shapes and sizes. Ring pessaries and gellhorn pessaries are the most
common shapes of pessary.


How will you know which one is right for you?

You will come in for a pessary fitting. During this pessary fitting, measurements of your pelvic floor and vagina will be used to approximate what the right size and shape would be for you. You will get to trial pessaries until you find the fit that works best for you. You will be asked to walk around, use the restroom, and perform daily activities with a pessary in place. With the right pessary, you may not even feel it when it is in place.

Pessary maintenance:

Your provider will teach you how to insert, remove, and clean your pessary. If you have a partner that you would like to have involved in the process, they can also join your appointment as well.
You will need to return to this office once two weeks after you are initially fit with a pessary. You will also need to return at least once every three months for a pessary check. During this pessary check, your provider will clean your pessary and perform a pelvic exam to confirm that your pessary is correctly in place and is not causing any problems.

Risks with a pessary:

  • Change in pessary size: Use of a pessary overtime can cause changes in your pelvic floor measurements. This means that eventually, you may need to adjust your pessary’s size and shape to maintain the same level of comfort.
  • Increased discharge/ risk of infection: This can be avoided by taking proper cleaning precautions with the pessary.
  • Risk of abrasions in the vagina: Abrasions can occur from the pessary rubbing on the vaginal tissue. This can lead to discomfort and bleeding. If this happens, you should contact your provider and schedule a follow-up. You may be recommended to take a break from your pessary or to consider a different size.

Additional Considerations:

  • Pessaries are often very helpful for patients who experience urinary symptoms as a result of their prolapse. By pushing the prolapse back into place, the bladder and pelvic floor will be able to function properly.
  • Pessaries should be removed prior to engaging in intercourse.
  • Sometimes, pessaries may fall out during bowel movements that require you to strain. If this occurs, you can clean your pessary and reinsert it.

Discover the benefits of a pessary for pelvic organ support.

Contact us to learn more about pessary management and schedule your consultation now.