Quality of life in women who use pessaries for longer than 12 months

Sandi Tenfelde*, Dina Tell, Tonya Nicole Thomas, Kimberly Kenton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Objectives Pessaries are an effective treatment for pelvic organ prolapse and urinary incontinence; however, few data exist describing long-term pessary use. Our aim was to describe symptom bother and quality of life (QoL) in women using pessaries for urinary incontinence and/or prolapse for at least 12 months. Methods Consecutive women who met inclusion criteria were approached for this observational cross-sectional study. Wilson and Cleary's Health-Related Quality of Life Model guided the inclusion of biologic, functional, and individual factors that impact the health-related QoL. Consenting participants completed a generalized QoL index, the Center for Epidemiologic Depression Symptoms, Medical Outcomes Study Social Support Survey, and condition-specific measures; the Pelvic Floor Distress Inventory (PFDI-20-SF) and the Pelvic Floor Impact Questionnaire. Results Fifty-six women, mean age 74.4 years (range, 47-89 years), completed the survey. Mean length of time for pessary use was 4.5 years (1-15 years). Most of the women (n = 31, 55.4%) returned to the clinic for pessary care every 3 months. There was no difference in generalized QoL nor condition-specific total PFDI-20 in women performing self-care versus routine follow-up. Almost one third (29%) of participants reported complications related to pessary use (eg, vaginal erosion), and 41%were considering surgical repair in the near future. Women who were considering surgery had higher PFDI-20 scores relating to more bothersome prolapse symptoms than those not considering surgery (Pelvic Organ Prolapse Distress Inventory 6, 33.91 vs 24.73, P = 0.03). Conclusions Pessaries can be used to control pelvic floor symptoms for extended periods. Complication rates in this study were lower than previously reported, even in women not doing self-care. Not surprisingly, women considering surgical intervention reported greater symptom bother despite pessary use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)146-149
Number of pages4
JournalFemale Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 9 2015


  • pessary
  • quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Urology


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