Pessary PSP

Pessary for Prolapse – a project to find out the priorities for future research

Why does this Pessary Priority Setting Partnership project matter?

Prolapse is a very common condition affecting about 1 in 3 women in the UK. The main symptom is vaginal heaviness or bulge which may be felt inside or outside the vagina. Women with prolapse may also have problems with their bladder and bowel such as leakage, or difficulty with emptying completely. A prolapse may have a significant impact on a woman’s quality of life affecting physical activities, sex, and self-esteem. Treatments for prolapse may include lifestyle changes, pelvic floor muscle training, surgery or the use of a pessary.

Pessaries are commonly used to manage a prolapse, but their use is a relatively under-researched topic with the evidence for their use remaining limited. 

This Pessary Priority Setting Partnership project has been established to bring women with experience of prolapse and clinicians involved in the management of prolapse together to jointly find out what questions future research in this area should answer. The James Lind Alliance method recognises that research which actively includes and involves all those affected by the topic is more likely to have immediate relevance for all those concerned.

- Pictured: A variety of pessary types and sizes

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What is a pessary?

A pessary is a device placed in the vagina which lifts the walls and uterus back into place when there is a prolapse.

The pessary is usually fitted by a doctor or specialist nurse in the gynaecology clinic, or sometimes by a GP. There are many different types of pessaries; the doctors and nurses who fit the pessary will try to find one that works best. Commonly, the pessary is fitted in the hospital clinic and changed after 3 – 6 monthly intervals by the nurse/doctor.

How will this project work?

We will ask women and clinicians what questions they think matter about pessary use for prolapse in our first survey.

Then we will sort all those questions into categories and ask the women and clinicians to rank them in the order they feel matters most.                   

A final workshop with equal representation of women and clinicians will choose the top ten priorities for future research in pessary use for prolapse. We will then tell those organisations who fund the research what matters most for women and clinicians involved with pessary use in prolapse.


Preview the survey questions

This short survey will take less than 10 minutes.

The survey questions are:

  • Which questions do you want future research to answer about the use of pessaries for the management of prolapse? *
  • Which of the following best describes you? *
  • What age are you?
  • Where do you live?
  • If you are a healthcare professional, do you fit or change pessaries?
  • If you currently have a prolapse or have had one in the past have you ever used a pessary?
  • If you currently use a pessary how long have you used it for?
  • If you have used a pessary in the past how long did you use it for?
  • Want to help further?

We would be very happy for you to stay involved with this project and help with future research about pessaries. If you would like to stay involved, choose any or all of the following options and you will be asked to provide contact details.

If you have any questions – get in touch:

*compulsory – answer required