Kegel8 Glossary - Medical terms without the jargon
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What is a Pessary?

A pessary or vaginal pessary is a removable device worn inside the vagina it is designed to add support where the pelvic muscles are weak and pelvic organs have prolapsed or are in danger of prolapse.

Medical research shows that pessaries can actually slow the development of pelvic organ prolapse and also improve the severity of prolapse; clinical studies have shown that genital hiatus size can be reduced when wearing one - sometimes as soon as after just 2 weeks of use - others range up to 3 months of use.

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When choosing a vaginal pessary you'll find a varied choice; they come in different sizes, shapes and types of materials. The most popular types are inflatable Inflatoball, the doughnut (in the US called the Donut), and the Gellhorn.

Who uses a Vaginal Pessary?

Doctors and Continence Specialists have typically recommended them to older women who are unsuitable for surgery or waiting for pelvic floor surgery, post-partum women or if specifically requested. Sadly it seems as though many women are recommended major pelvic surgery, rather than a pessary.

Who Should Not Use a Pessary?

A pessary may not be suitable for all women, but remember it is best to ask your Doctor, Physiotherapist or continence advisor.

If you have the following, having a vaginal pessary fitted might not be right for you:

  • If you've had a hysterectomy or surgery for pelvic organ prolapse
  • If you have a wide vaginal opening
  • If you have a short vagina
  • If you have severe posterior vaginal wall prolapse
  • If you you have suffered previous SUI (Stress Urinary Incontinence)
  • If you have a vaginal infection
  • If you have undiagnosed vaginal bleeding
  • If you have PID - pelvic inflammatory disease

Kegel8 and Pessaries

Kegel exercises with a pessary, vaginal weights, or other pelvic toners such as a Kegel8 will make your pelvic floor exerise more effective in a shorter amount of time. The use of these toning devices provides “resistance” which, as with any muscle training, makes it more effective faster. What happens is that when you wear a pessary it causes you to perform pelvic floor exercises unconsciously (known as isotonic) to keep it in place; this is probably the mechanism by which using one can decreases the size of the genital hiatus ('sagging' or widening of the pelvic floor).

  • Clinical studies show that after just 3 months of pessary use, genital hiatus size decreased significantly; using one results in significant anatomical changes to the genital hiatus in patients with pelvic organ prolapse1.

1 Effect of Pessary Use on Genital Hiatus Measurements in Women With Pelvic Organ Prolapse - Jones, Keisha MD; Yang, Linda MD; Lowder, Jerry L. MD; Meyn, Leslie MS; Ellison, Rennique; Zyczynski, Halina M. MD; Moalli, Pamela MD, PhD; Lee, Ted MD

Read More:

  • Clinical Evidence1 shows that the use of a pessary can slow the development of prolapse and help make the prolapse less severe.
  • If you suffer prolapse it's important to Kegel exercise as well as wearing a pessary. The most effective way to do pelvic floor exercise is with a Kegel8!
  • Find out more about the different kinds of pelvic organ prolapse here