Sexual activity predicts continued pessary use

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The purpose of this study was to determine which clinical variables predict continued pessary use.

Study design

After IRB approval, charts of consecutive women at Loyola Women's Pelvic Medicine Center who bought a pessary from August 2000 to December 2002 were reviewed. Demographic information, length of pessary use, and reason for pessary discontinuation were recorded. Current pessary “users” were compared with “nonusers” (women who stopped wearing the pessary during the study period).


Of the 136 study women, 82 (60%) were “users,” and 54 (40%) were “nonusers.” Women who were sexually active were more likely to continue pessary use (β = 2.204, P = .021). This was true regardless of indication for pessary placement. Women with prolapse were more likely than women with incontinence to continue with long-term pessary use (β = 2.031, P = .049). No other demographic characteristics predicted continued pessary use.


Long-term pessary use is acceptable to sexually active women. Women being treated for pelvic organ prolapse are more likely to continue pessary use than women being treated for urinary incontinence. Additionally, the majority of women (60%) who accept a pessary for prolapse or urinary incontinence continue this treatment.

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