The Truth About Pessaries: Are They a Good Option for Your Pelvic Floor?

By Isa Herrera, MSPT

ISA HERRERA - PelvicPainRelief.com - WikiCommons Public Domain

Are you tired of experiencing those embarrassing moments of leakage when you laugh, workout, jump, sneeze, or cough? 

Perhaps you’ve noticed a lingering sensation of looseness down there or even the unsettling feeling that something is falling out of your vagina. 

The deep pressure in your vaginal or anal area may have become a constant reminder of discomfort. 

These are all the first signs and symptoms of pelvic floor disorder.

Maybe you’ve experienced one of these. Or all four.

Because a full quarter of women are expected to experience some form of pelvic dysfunction in their lifetime. Your chances increase exponentially the older you get. 

Once you start to notice these inconveniences — your first reaction is probably to brush them off or laugh about them. After all, they’re just “normal signs of aging,” right?

And then when things get worse, you start looking for a miracle treatment. Or turn to your doctor….who either dismisses your concerns…

Or suggests a pessary as part of a “treatment” plan for your pelvic organ prolapse or urinary incontinence. 

Maybe you’ve heard about pessaries? They’re kind of having a moment right now.

Some people see them as the answer to their prolapse prayers. 

But are they really all they’re cracked up to be?

After all, forever is a long time to rely on a plastic device you put inside of your body.

So let’s talk about pessaries, how they work, and if you should consider using one to treat your pelvic floor disorder.

What Is A Pessary?ISA HERRERA - What is a Pessary?

A pessary, or pessary ring, is a hard plastic or silicone ring that is placed inside the opening of the vagina.

Pessaries are used to provide support for your internal organs like your uterus, rectum, or bladder. A pessary is kind of like a backup support system for a weak pelvic floor. 

Pessaries are also considered an alternative to pelvic organ prolapse surgery — and there are over a dozen different types! (1)

A pessary works by putting pressure against the vaginal wall and/or the urethra. This helps to “hold up” the vaginal cavity and, by extension, the surrounding organs ( bladder, rectum, and uterus). 

When positioned a certain way, a pessary can also help stop urine from leaking out of the urethra.   

What Are The Downsides Of Pessaries?

Isa Herrera, Heal your pelvic floor symptoms naturally

Can a pessary cause problems? While a pessary might seem like a dream-come-true answer for your pelvic floor problems — they come with a set of challenges all their own. 

Unfortunately, pessaries are no substitute for a strong pelvic floor. 

Let me explain.

Pessaries Can Be Costly

Depending on your insurance coverage, pessaries can be a pricey investment. Some pessaries cost $500 and up. And you definitely can’t return it if you don’t like it.

Pessaries Are Uncomfortable

Pessaries are hard. Many women find the hard ring inside of their vagina quite difficult to get used to. Some women find sleeping or sitting in certain positions with a pessary impossible to tolerate.

Pessaries Do Have Complications

While they are rare, pessaries do cause complications. Some women complain of odor and discharge. Others experience more serious complications like perforations of organs adjacent to the vagina. (2,3) 

Pessaries Can Be Inconvenient

Once you’ve had your pessary fitted, it can be a pain to take it out and put it back in. Depending on your comfort level and the type of pessary you have, you may not be able to have sex with it.  

Pessaries Are Difficult To Fit

Getting your measurements taken for a pessary fitting is a routinely difficult experience. Many women have to return 3-5 times before they have a successful fitting. This means multiple trips to the doctor’s office and taking off work. 

Pessaries Are Not A Permanent Solution

Sure, some pessaries are designed to be left in for a couple of years. Women who have had a hysterectomy might even be able to have one in for four years. Others might have to have theirs replaced every few months. (4)

But here’s the real problem — a pessary is never going to improve your prolapse or incontinence.

It’s a gadget that’s devised to disempower you and disconnect you from your body. It’s a tool designed to outsource your work. It’s a bandaid. Another iteration of the Dr. Roadshow. 

It’s never going to help your pelvic floor get stronger.

There’s No Substitute For A Strong Pelvic Floor, Core, and Kegels

A pessary may be a temporary, stop-gap measure for prolapse and incontinence. But it’s no substitute for a strong core, vaginal exercises, and a healthy lifestyle.

Let’s be real: it’s time we do better and put “health” back in healthcare.

Instead of outsourcing your strength to an uncomfortable device — it’s time you take your power back and learn how to truly work with your body to create the results you crave.

Pelvic floor physical therapy and self-care is a highly effective, non-invasive ways to heal prolapse and incontinence all on your own. (5,6,7)

And the best part is the strength you create when you work on your pelvic floor translates to all areas of your life. You become healthier throughout your whole body, not just in your pelvic floor. 

You become more connected with your body and your femininity. 

And you become more powerful as a person.

If you’re suffering from prolapse or incontinence, I want you to know there is hope. 

I’ve seen thousands upon thousands of women take their health into their own hands and heal themselves with pelvic floor work.

Find Freedom, Find Joy: Experience A Strong-Leak-Pain-Prolapse Free Pelvic Floor with Self-Guided Exercises

Isa Herrera - Pelvic Floor Reset Workshop (CPR)

During 3 completely FREE sessions on June 14th, 15th, and 16th, I’m teaching a class that will restore your faith in your body and helps you finally put your pelvic floor struggles behind you.

It’s called the Complete Pelvic Floor Reset Workshop (CPR).

During this workshop, you’ll learn the techniques I’ve taught to over 20 thousand women who healed their pelvic floors and reclaimed their lives.

These women were frustrated by the options the medical system offered them. And they weren’t sure if something as simple as exercising a few minutes a day could really turn things around for them.

But here’s the thing about faith: you have to put a little bit of it forward, and your results become multiplied.

So if you’ve been struggling with pelvic floor disorder, now is your chance to step forward with just a little bit of faith — and I’ll do the rest.

This workshop really and truly is a chance for you to push the reset button on your pelvic floor. 

A chance to get back to a time when you didn’t feel pressure and pain in your vagina. A place where you weren’t wetting your pants every time you sneezed. 

It’s basically a pelvic floor rewind button.  

Click here to choose a session that works for you. I can’t wait to show you how to reset your pelvic floor and find the new beginning you’ve been waiting for.

References:

  1. “Pessary Use in Pelvic Organ Prolapse and Urinary Incontinence.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2876320/.
  2. “Therapy of pessary-induced rectovaginal fistula and pelvic organ ….” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32449060/. 
  3. “Rare complications of pessary use: A systematic review of case reports.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9579882/.
  4. “How often should ring pessaries be removed or changed in women ….” 23 Feb. 2021, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7900800/.
  5. “Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy for Pelvic Floor Hypertonicity – PubMed.” 12 Jun. 2021, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34127429/.
  6. “Effectiveness of pelvic floor muscle training and bladder … – NCBI.” 19 Jan. 2019, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6428909/. 
  7. “Pelvic floor physical therapy in the treatment of … – Stanford Urology.” https://urology.stanford.edu/content/dam/sm/urology/JJimages/publications/Pelvic-floor-physical-therapy-in-the-treatment-of-pelvic-floor-dysfunction-in-women.pdf.

About ISA HERRERA, MSPT, CSCS

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