Incontinence pessaries are plastic devices, similar to contraceptive diaphragms, which are used to either lift the bladder or to apply some compression to the urethra during activities that are known to cause leakage. They are successfully used for the treatment of stress urinary incontinence or pelvic prolapse. They are a low risk treatment option that affords a significant amount o f flexibility for almost any lifestyle. About half of the women who are successfully fitted with a pessary will continue to use it on a long-term basis. Typical incontinence pessary users are women who:
- Need temporary help with urine leakage during exercise
- Have mild symptoms and want to avoid surgery for the moment
- Have health problems that make the risks of surgery too great
- Need to delay surgery and are uncomfortable with their incontinence
There are numerous shapes and sizes of pessaries to meet the individual support requirements of different patients. Not all women can have their urinary incontinence successfully prevented by a pessary. Situations such as vaginal scarring, a surgically narrowed or shortened vagina or very weak pelvic floor muscles can cause pessaries to fall out or be uncomfortable.
You will be shown how to take out and clean the pessary and how to put it back into place. This should be done on a regular basis. If it is hard for you to take out your pessary or to put it back into place, you can have it done at the doctor's office. Frequently, vaginal estrogen cream, tablets or a ring are prescribed to women who use a pessary to improve the integrity of the vaginal tissue, especially for those in menopause.
stress uriry incontinence