While most everyone knows about products for incontinence like pads and disposable underwear, eventually your Google search will lead you down the pessary rabbit hole. You’ve likely landed on this page because you’re looking into different solutions for bladder leaks. So, hey there. And Welcome. We’ve got you covered.
Here’s the scoop on pessaries, including the pros and cons of using one.
What Is A Pessary?
A “pessary” is a firm ring that is inserted into the vagina and presses against the urethra. This pressing provides support to the urethra, helping limit the number of bladder leaks that occur throughout the day. Pessaries are usually made out of medical grade silicone or latex, and most doctors recommend getting one custom fit for your body. Just like getting your pants tailored, a custom fit gives you the best result.
Vaginal pessaries are usually used to help with to chronic bladder leaks, especially when you want to avoid surgery. So if you’re looking for a solution other than going under the knife, keep reading.
Different Kinds of Pessaries
There are over a dozen different types of pessaries, each designed for different levels of leaking. Everyone’s leaks are a little different. Below are three of the most common:
- Doughnut Pessary: This type of pessary looks like a doughnut (without the glaze or sprinkles), or mini inflated inner tube.
- Ring Pessary: This type of pessary is more thin than a doughnut pessary. No diamonds though, sadly.
- Gellhorn Pessary: Probably the most odd looking, this pessary has a “leg” that presses against the vaginal wall to stay in place
Pessaries can look strange. It’s okay to feel a little uneasy when first seeing one, and your doctor will probably make a joke or two about them.
How Do I Buy the Right Pessary?
Good question. Usually a gynecologist will fit you for a pessary in their office. You’ll try on different styles and sizes, and your doctor will test for fit. Usually, you’ll want to select the largest one you can be wear comfortably.
To make sure you’ve found the right pessary, you may do a few jumping jacks to test for fit. FYI: if it doesn’t fit well, it will “pop out,” a not-so-pleasant surprise.
Testing, Testing, 1 2 3
The week after receiving your pessary is important, because you’ll be checking for fit and noting issues. You’ll want to be sure to schedule a follow-up appointment (generally 3-4 days after you begin wearing it). At your follow-up appointment, your doctor will check for any irritation or allergic reactions.
Danger, Will Robinson
Here’s something you might want to know. Your immune system may reject the pessary as it’s a “foreign object.” And we’re not talking about a croissant from Paris. This can cause an increase in vaginal discharge and odor, signaling a possible rejection. If this happens, call your doctor.
When Do I Wear a Pessary?
It’s really up to you. Some women wear them only during the day, taking it out at night. Other women prefer to only wear them while exercising or swimming, or when they’re traveling. Your leaks, your rules.
Cleaning & Care
You’ll need to regularly clean your pessary since it is physically in your body. We’re betting you don’t want a vaginal infection. Recommendations for cleaning vary by manufacturer, so be sure to get instructions from your doctor.
Women have used some form of pessary-like device for thousands of years. Some cultures even used potatoes or pomegranates. Noodle on that the next time you’re staring at some fries or mashed potatoes. Pessaries work for some women and don’t work for others. If you find that a pessary isn’t the right fit for you, be sure to check out other products.
Have you tried a pessary? Share your experience with us in the comments. Or, if you’re ready to tell your bladder who’s boss, Lily Bird has you covered with pads and underwear for leaky laughs and dribble dilemmas delivered right to your door. Start your free trial today.