Q: How might I experience a pessary?

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You asked a number of questions: Will a pessary lead to decreased pain? Will you feel more support for your pelvic floor? Will your partner feel it with intercourse? 

Pessaries are devices worn intravaginally to help with pelvic organ prolapse and/or urinary incontinence. It’s hard to answer your questions without knowing your specific issues. If your pain/discomfort is related to pelvic organ prolapse (POP), then the use of a pessary is likely to improve your discomfort. But POP does not always cause pain; for some women it is an unpleasant (but not necessarily painful) awareness of “something falling out of the vagina.” For some women it is a functional issue, the bladder and/or bowels are not emptying properly.

Pessaries are available in fifteen or twenty shapes, with a couple of basics that we most commonly use. The best shape for your specific condition will determine how it will impact functions like sex. Each shape comes in a variety of sizes. Some are left with place with intercourse and there is no interference; some require removal in order to have penetrative sex.

An in-depth discussion with your provider will be extremely helpful. Many women find pessaries easy to use and a great, simple solution; others find them cumbersome and challenging to navigate. Usually the options to address these issues are do nothing, use a pessary, or have surgery. It’s often a great option to consider the pessary, at least try it, and then assess whether it’s for you. Just be aware that fitting the proper shape and size can be a process that involves at least a couple and maybe a few visits with your provider.

I hope this is helpful!

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