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Vaginal Pessaries for Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP)

Patient information A-Z

You have been given this leaflet because you have a pessary for a pelvic organ prolapse (POP).

What is prolapse?

Prolapse is a condition where the womb or vaginal walls drop down from their normal position. You may feel that ‘something is coming down’ in the pelvis or have symptoms of a lump or bulge in the vagina. This lump might even come out of the vagina.

What is a vaginal pessary?

A vaginal pessary is a plastic or silicone device that sits inside the vagina. It helps support the walls of the vagina and should reduce the symptoms of the POP. The pessary should be comfortable and help improve your quality of life. Two out of three women who use a vaginal pessary long term find it an acceptable option for management of their prolapse symptoms.

What happens next?

Make sure you can empty your bladder before you leave hospital. Have a drink and a walk around the hospital if required.

A pessary will normally be changed between every four to six months. However, this may be up to 12 months in specific circumstances (e.g. restrictions to face to face appointments due to pandemics). It has been shown that it is perfectly safe for the pessary to be in place for up to 12 months as long as you do not experience side effects such as vaginal bleeding, discomfort or discharge. If you experience any problems before your next pessary appointment, please contact us. Selecting the correct size and type of pessary is a process of trial and error. If the pessary falls out, please do not be alarmed. We may need to try another pessary. Finding the correct pessary can sometimes take two or three visits.

What should I look out for?

Please contact the department if you experience:

  • Vaginal bleeding (not associated with a menstrual bleed or a pessary change)
  • Pain or discomfort in the vagina
  • Offensive discharge. An increase in discharge is normal with a pessary

What happens if I have problems with my pessary?

You can contact the physiotherapist, nurse or consultant’s secretary by phone if you experience problems. Please leave a message on any answer machine. Please note you might not get a response immediately.

  • Specialist Nurse 01223 349239
  • Physiotherapist 01223 217422
  • Consultant’s Secretary 01223 586740

If you have urgent concerns you can contact your GP or call Daphne Ward on 01223 217636. The ward opening hours are: Monday – Friday 08:00 – 20:00 and Saturday and Sunday 08:30 – 14:00. You may find it useful to know the type and size of your pessary, and we suggest you make a note of it below.

Type of Pessary ____________

Size ___________

Types of pessary
first row: Ring, Falk, Gellhorn. Second row: Ring with support, Shelf / Popy, Cup with / without support

Further information

Information for patients - The British Society of Urogynaecology

Email: Telephone: 020 7772 6211

Your pelvic floor - The International Uro-Gynecological Association

Email at: Telephone: +1 952 683 9037

CUH cannot accept responsibility for information provided by other organisations.


BSUG Guidance on management of Uro-Gynaecological Conditions and Vaginal

Pessary use during the Covid 19 Pandemic, April 2020

Guideline, N.I.C.E., 2019. Urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse in women: management.

de Albuquerque Coelho SC, de Castro EB, Juliato CR. Female pelvic organ prolapse using pessaries: systematic review. International Uro-Gynecology journal. 2016 Dec;27(12):1797-803.

Lamers BH, Broekman BM, Milani AL. Pessary treatment for pelvic organ prolapse and health-related quality of life: a review. International Uro-Gynecology journal. 2011 Jun 1;22(6):637.

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Other formats

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Contact us

Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151