What is a vaginal pessary?
Simply put, its a method of introducing medication into the vagina.
The biggest benefit for using a vaginal pessary is that it allows the medicine or drug to easily penetrate the vaginal tissue and treat conditions affecting the vagina.
The vagina tissue has a rich supply of blood vessels.
This means that medicines applied in the vagina can be quickly spread through the rich blood supply.
Conditions for using a Vaginal Pessary
Here are some conditions affecting the vagina that will be satisfactorily treated with a vaginal pessary.
- Vaginal thrush or candida.
- Caused by a fungal infection of the vagina with the fungus Candida albicans
- Can occur commonly in pregnancy, Diabetes or from poor personal hygiene.
- Antifungal drugs treat fungal infections - by applications to the vaginal area with cream or inside the vagina using pessary; they are also taken by mouth.
- Dryness in the vagina from loss of Oestrogen
- This happens from menopause as a woman grows older and the level of oestrogen falls.
- It can also happen in younger women - this is 'premature' menopause.
- Dryness can be treated with Oestrogen cream or gel applied through a vaginal pessary.
- Induction of labour
- If a pregnant woman is past her due date; or there is a risk to mum or baby, the next step would be to artificially 'provoke' or stimulate labour.
- This is called induction of labour.
- Briefly, it includes the process of ripening (softening) the cervix (neck of the womb) for delivery of the baby.
- Your doctor or nurse will perform an internal examination where they will sweep their fingers across the cervix to try and release some hormones which stimulate labour.
- If labour does not result, they will insert medication to the vagina - usually in the form of a pessary/capsule that works locally around the cervix to provoke labour.
Is using a vaginal pessary painful?
No - vaginal pessaries either come in the form of small capsules or are a cream/suspension which you can apply with a specially designed applicator.
How can I use a vaginal pessary?
For treating conditions like vaginal candidiasis or dryness, ladies can self administer the pessary.
- Most times it is best to remain in a lying position for a prolonged period after applying the pessary.
- Wash your hands.
- Lying on your back, open the lips of the vagina and gently push the pessary into the vagina as far up as you can.
- If using an applicator, follow the directions, gently inserting the applicator and releasing the dose of medicine.
- In many cases, it is similar to inserting a tampon.
- Always follow the dosing and application instructions to ensure proper treatment.
Freedom from vaginal conditions
Most women will use a vaginal pessary at some time in their lives - knowing why and how to do so properly will improve your condition quickly.