What is Pessary Fitting?
Pessary fitting is a removable device that is a non-surgical treatment option when you are affected by a pelvic organ prolapse or urinary stress incontinence. Prolapse is when the walls of the uterus or vagina weaken and your organs drop out of their usual place; this can be due to age or after childbirth. A pessary fitting is also used to administer medications slowly. The main benefit of a pessary fitting is that you can avoid surgery for pelvic prolapse and it’s relatively easy to use.
A pessary fitting is a prosthetic made of non-absorbent, durable medical-grade silicone that comes in different shapes and sizes to fit a woman’s individual anatomy.
- The common pessary fitting is the ring pessary that fits most women and is simple to use without your doctor’s help.
- The Gehrung pessary fitting is U-shaped and built to fit. It’s often used for more severe uterine prolapse.
- The Gellhorn is a disc with a small knob and used in more severe cases.
- The cube pessary is inserted into the vagina that uses suction to support tissues affected by prolapse.
Why is a Pessary Fitting Done?
If you’re suffering from mild to severe pelvic organ prolapse, your doctor may recommend a pessary fitting. The support from a pessary fitting can help you avoid pelvic surgery.
Pessary Fitting Risks and Complications
Occasional complications from a pessary fitting may include:
- Discomfort and pain if the pessary doesn’t fit properly.
- Vaginal irritation.
- Foul-smelling discharge.
- Urinary tract infection.
- Limiting sexual intercourse.
If you have any of these symptoms, you should see your doctor for treatment. Since the pessary fitting is removable, treatment for any complications can be easily treated.
What to Expect
What to Expect During a Pessary Fitting
Your Saint John’s Physician Partners gynecologist will do your initial fitting. Your doctor will take measurements to make sure you get the device that is the right size and shape for your condition. Once the fitting is completed, you will receive instructions on removing and maintaining your device. You will return to your doctor’s office usually within a week to check on the fit and examine you for signs of irritation or complications. You may have other follow-up appointments to make sure that the device is working for you. If you have a Gellhorn pessary fitting, your doctor will have to remove it every 1 to 3 months for cleaning and to check for any complications.
It’s important to follow your doctor’s instruction on removing and cleaning your pessary to avoid infection or other complications:
- If you can remove your pessary, you can clean it once or twice a week as instructed.
- You use mild soap and water and dry it completely before reinserting.
- Your gynecologist may prescribe vaginal estrogen cream while the pessary is out to prevent irritation.
- Use plenty of water-based lubrication for insertion.
- Your device can fall out when you strain for a bowel movement. Just clean it and reinsert it if this happens.