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Prolapse and Pessaries

Updated: Dec 23, 2023

Q: What do you think these are? (Hint: They're not bangles.)

A: These are ring pessaries used to support pelvic organ prolapses, and they come in many sizes. There are also many different shapes of vaginal pessaries available.

Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) occurs when the pelvic floor muscles or tissues supporting the pelvic organs are weakened, resulting in the organs bulging into or out of the vagina. Although about half of all women have some degree of POP on examination, only about 20% will have symptoms needing medical help. There are different types and degrees of prolapse, and symptoms vary between women. POP is more likely to occur in women who have given birth (by both vaginal birth and Caesarean section) but does also happy in women who have not had any babies. It can also occur in women who have had hysterectomies (removal of the uterus).

Just like how each woman and her story is unique, the way we care for each woman with POP is unique. Measures can be taken to prevent POP occurring and to prevent worsening of any prolapse that is present, but some women are just naturally at high risk of developing POP. Management usually involves some combination of vaginal oestrogen, pelvic floor exercises, vaginal pessaries, or surgery, and the combinations can changes as your needs change. If you think you may have a prolapse, see your gynaecologist, GP or physiotherapist for a proper assessment.



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