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Your doctor may recommend a device which gets inserted into your vagina to provide urethral support and compression. For example, a tampon, urethral plug, or pessary.

A pessary is a plastic device, similar to a vaginal contraceptive diaphragm. It is a low risk treatment option, which either lifts the bladder or apply compression to the urethra during activities that can cause leakage. Vaginal pessaries can help:

There are numerous shapes and sizes of pessaries to meet the individual support requirements of different patients. Seeking care from a provider with a wide selection of pessaries may improve the chances of getting a comfortable fitting pessary.

Women who use a pessary may also be prescribed vaginal estrogen cream, tablets or a ring to strengthen the vaginal skin, especially for those in menopause. This reduces the risk of vaginal skin erosion or ulceration.

Pessaries are a low risk treatment option when compared to surgery for symptomatic UI. However, pessaries require ongoing care to avoid problems with vaginal infection, ulceration or bleeding. A neglected pessary can result in erosions through the vaginal wall into the bladder or rectum. About half of the women who are successfully fitted with a pessary continue to use it on a long-term basis.

Are You a Good Candidate for a Pessary?

Not all women can have their symptoms successfully controlled 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. Is a pessary a good option for you? 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 from their incontinence.
  • Are willing to invest the time to remove, clean, and reinsert the pessary on a regular basis. If you are not willing to care for a pessary, it is not a good option for you.