Researchers launch survey to analyse pessaries for prolapse

31 October 2016

Researchers from the Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions Research Unit at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) and the University of Stirling have launched a new partnership bringing together clinician and patient groups to better understand the use of pessaries for managing prolapse.

Prolapse is a common condition affecting about one in three women who have had children but it remains a highly stigmatised condition for which many women delay seeking help. Treatment for prolapse includes surgery, or conservative interventions including supervised pelvic floor muscle training, lifestyle measures or the use of a vaginal pessary. A pessary aims to provide support to the vaginal walls to reduce the symptoms from the prolapse.

There are no agreed protocols or guidelines in the UK which can help clinicians and women with prolapse make decisions about the management of the condition and there remains a good deal of uncertainty about the best way to use a pessary for the treatment of pelvic organ prolapse. The existing evidence base for pessary use remains limited.

Supported by the James Lind Alliance, the research team has established a Priority Setting Partnership to enable groups of clinicians and women to work together to identify the key priorities for future research in pessary use for prolapse.

Led by PhD researcher Kate Lough, the team has launched a new survey to find out what questions women and clinicians with experience of prolapse have about the use of pessaries.

Kate said: “Prolapse affects up to 50% of all women, and pessaries are frequently used to manage the symptoms but the evidence behind their use is very limited. This survey will find out what the priority questions for future research are. Women with prolapse and clinicians, working together in this PSP, will produce a final top ten priorities which truly reflect where future research should be directed for the mutual benefit of both groups.”

Find out more.