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.


About this survey

This is the second survey of the Pessary PSP – where we are asking you to choose a top ten from 66 important questions.

Over 600 questions about pessary use for prolapse were received in the first survey – from healthcare professionals and women with experience of prolapse. These questions have been grouped and refined down to the 66 questions in this survey.

All the questions are important, but this survey asks you to choose 10 that you think are the most important and rank them from 1 to 10, where 1 is the most important, and 10 is your least important.

Similar questions have been grouped together to make it a bit easier to read.

Thank you for being part of this important project.