A pessary is a small plastic or silicone medical device which is inserted into the vagina or rectum and held in place by the pelvic floor musculature.

An assortment of pessaries


Types of pessaries

Therapeutic pessaries

A therapeutic pessary is a medical device similar to the outer ring of a diaphragm. Therapeutic pessaries are used to support the uterus, vagina, bladder, or rectum. A pessary is most commonly used to treat prolapse of the uterus. It is also used to treat stress urinary incontinence, a retroverted uterus, cystocele and rectocele. Historically, pessaries may have been used to perform abortions, as demonstrated in the original text of the Hippocratic Oath.

The pessary can be placed temporarily or permanently, and must be fitted by a physician, midwife, or advanced practice nurse. Some pessaries can be worn during intercourse.

Pharmaceutical pessaries

A pharmaceutical pessary is used as a very effective means of delivery of pharmaceutical substances easily absorbed through the skin of the vagina or rectum, or intended to have action in the locality, for example against inflammation or infection, or on the uterus.

Occlusive pessaries

An occlusive pessary is generally used in combination with spermicide as a contraceptive.

Stem pessary

The stem pessary, a type of occlusive pessary, was an early form of the cervical cap. Shaped like a dome, it covered the cervix, and a central rod or "stem" entered the uterus through the os, to hold it in place.[1]

See also


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • pessary — c.1400, from L.L. pessarium, from Gk. pessarion medicated tampon of wool or lint, dim. of pessos pessary, earlier oval stone used in games, perhaps of Semitic origin …   Etymology dictionary

  • Pessary — Pes sa*ry, n.; pl. {Pessaries}. [L. pessarium, pessum, pessus, Gr. ?: cf. F. pessaire.] (Med.) (a) An instrument or device to be introduced into and worn in the vagina, to support the uterus, or remedy a malposition. (b) A medicinal substance in… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • pessary — ► NOUN (pl. pessaries) 1) a small soluble medicinal or contraceptive block inserted into the vagina. 2) a device inserted into the vagina to support the uterus. ORIGIN Latin pessarium, from Greek pessos oval stone …   English terms dictionary

  • pessary — [pes′ə rē] n. pl. pessaries [ME pessarie < LL pessarium < pessum < Gr pessos, oval pebble] a device worn in the vagina to support a displaced uterus or to prevent conception …   English World dictionary

  • pessary — 1. An appliance of varied form, introduced into the vagina to support the uterus or to correct any displacement. 2. A medicated vaginal suppository. [L. pessarium, fr. G. pessos, an oval stone used in certain games] …   Medical dictionary

  • pessary — n. 1) a plastic device, often ring shaped, that fits into the vagina and keeps the uterus in position: used to treat prolapse. The usual type is a ring pessary but occasionally a Hodge pessary is used. 2) (vaginal suppository) a plug or cylinder… …   The new mediacal dictionary

  • pessary — noun (plural ries) Etymology: Middle English pessarie, from Anglo French, from Late Latin pessarium, from pessus, pessum pessary, from Greek pessos oval stone for playing checkers, pessary Date: 14th century 1. a vaginal suppository 2. a device… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • pessary — [[t]pe̱səri[/t]] pessaries 1) N COUNT A pessary is a small block of a medicine or a contraceptive chemical that a woman puts in her vagina. 2) N COUNT A pessary is a device that is put in a woman s vagina to support her womb …   English dictionary

  • pessary — UK [ˈpesərɪ] / US noun [countable] Word forms pessary : singular pessary plural pessaries 1) a solid medicine or chemical substance put into a woman s vagina to cure an infection or to prevent her becoming pregnant 2) a piece of plastic put into… …   English dictionary

  • pessary — noun a) A medical device similar to the outer ring of a contraceptive diaphragm, most commonly used to support a displaced uterus; also called therapeutic pessary. b) A diaphragm. Syn: diaphra …   Wiktionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.