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Pessaries: The Sports Bra For Your Pelvic Organs!

Pessaries: The Sports Bra for your Pelvic Organs!

A sports bra for your pelvic organs- it’s an interesting concept isn’t it? Why would you need such a thing?

Have a read below to learn more about pessaries and what they can be used for.


What is Pelvic Organ Prolapse?

Your pelvic organs include your bladder, uterus and rectum. Normally, these organs are held in place by a supportive hammock of pelvic floor muscles, ligaments and connective tissue. When these supports are weakened or stretched (e.g. by pregnancy and childbirth, aging and menopause, obesity, chronic cough, chronic constipation, or heavy lifting), the pelvic organs can move lower into the pelvic cavity. Symptoms may include a heavy, dragging sensation, or a bulging feeling in the vagina, often worse with physical activities. It can also be associated with bladder or bowel problems and sometimes discomfort with sexual intercourse.

Pessaries: The Sports Bra For Your Pelvic Organs!

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Prolapse management focuses on improving upward support and reducing downward force. This can include:

  • General lifestyle changes
    • Maintaining a healthy weight,
    • Reducing / quitting smoking,
    • Avoiding constipation,
    • Adjusting your exercises
  • Pelvic floor muscle exercises
  • Using a vaginal pessary
  • Surgery when indicated


What is a pessary?

A vaginal pessary is a silicone device that fits into the vagina to help support the vaginal walls and uterus in order to alleviate prolapse symptoms. In short- the pessary holds up the prolapse so your symptoms are gone! The best part is a correctly-fitted pessary will not be felt once it is inserted. Using a pessary can be a short-term or long-term management option for prolapse, and can be removed and inserted relatively easily. Pessaries can be worn all the time but some people use them just for certain activities such as exercise. Certain pessaries can also be used to reduce bladder leakage! Please note it is important to continue with pelvic floor muscle exercises even if you are using a pessary.

Pessaries: The Sports Bra For Your Pelvic Organs!

Various types of pessaries (Viera & Larkins-Pettigrew, 2000)


Pessary fitting

Pessaries are not one-size-fits-all and pessary fitting is not an exact science. Numerous factors need to be taken into consideration, including type of prolapse, level of pelvic floor muscle support and individual pelvic anatomy. Sometimes various sizes and types of pessaries need to be trialled before finding the perfect match. An in-depth discussion with your Pelvic Health Physiotherapist needs to take place first as not everyone with a prolapse will be a suitable candidate for a pessary.



Pessaries are generally a safe long-term treatment for prolapse, but they do require ongoing care to avoid complications such as vaginal infections, odorous discharge, bleeding or ulceration. Complications can be minimised with regular removal and cleaning, regular check-ups with your physiotherapist, an annual speculum examination with your GP or gynaecologist and pessary replacement every 12 months.


If you want to know if you are a suitable candidate for a pessary, or would like to know more about pessaries, please book an appointment with Ebony to discuss.




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