Harvard Women's Health Watch

Pessary and exercise relieve symptoms for women with pelvic floor prolapse

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A group of Hong Kong researchers wanted to determine if a pessary—a removable device inserted into the vagina to help support pelvic organs—is a reasonable alternative to surgery for women with pelvic floor prolapse. They recruited volunteers with pelvic floor prolapse and randomly assigned 128 to do pelvic floor exercises daily and 128 to wear a pessary and do the exercises. The women also completed two questionnaires—one designed to evaluate their symptoms, the other to evaluate their quality of life—at the beginning and end of the study.

Both groups reported improvements on the two final questionnaires. But the pessary group reported a much greater improvement—27 points on the symptom scale compared with 5 for the control group, and 30 points on the quality-of-life scale, compared with 4 for the controls. These findings were published online June 6, 2016, by Obstetrics & Gynecology.

If you have pelvic prolapse you may want to try a pessary (along with pelvic floor exercises). Seek help from a physical therapist or pelvic floor specialist in choosing a device from the many on the market.