Women may use a pessary inserted into the vagina to pinch the urethra closed to help reduce or prevent incontinence, according to WebMD. Some women choose to wear it all the time; however, it can be worn just during activities that typically cause leakage, such as jogging.
Pessaries are used to treat conditions such as pelvic organ prolapse and uterine prolapse in pregnant women, states WebMD. It is not a cure for the condition; rather, it slows the progression of prolapse by adding support to the vagina and increasing tightness to the pelvic muscles. The device is generally used in lieu of surgery and may be used for women who have other chronic conditions, including lung disease or heart problems, where surgery becomes more dangerous.
Risks with wearing a pessary include bleeding, breakdown and sores in the vaginal wall, explains WebMD. Other complications such as rectocele formation may occur, which is a bulging of the rectum against the vaginal wall. In severe cases, a fistula opens between the vagina and the rectum. Most risks are reduced by ensuring the device is sized properly for a good fit so the pessary holds the pelvic organs in position comfortably. Additionally, a medical professional can demonstrate proper cleaning and care for the device.