A gellhorn pessary is a device used to relieve the symptoms of prolapsed, or unsupported, organs in a woman's vagina. Gellhorn pessaries are commonly used for moderate uterine prolapse and mild cystocele, the dropping of the bladder into the vagina. Although many types of pessaries are moulded in a doughnut shape, gellhorn pessaries are formed in a disc shape with a stem or knob on one side. The stem provides an easier means of inserting or removing the device. Common sizes of gellhorn pessaries range between 2-1/4 inches and 2-3/4 inches.
Wash your hands thoroughly or disinfect them with an antibacterial solution. This will prevent any unnecessary bacteria from entering the body.
Move into a position where you can more easily manoeuvre to reach the pessary. Recommended positions include lying on your back as if performing sit-ups, standing with one leg resting on a higher surface or squatting.
Insert two fingers into the vagina. If the pessary is in the proper position, it will be located at the rear of the vagina with the stem or knob facing outwards. Two fingers are necessary to best grasp the stem of the pessary.
Grip the stem of the pessary between your fingers. Gently pull to slide the pessary out.
If the pessary resists and the edges are within reach, grip the edges and fold the pessary in half. This will create a smaller surface which may be easier to pull out. Turning the pessary at an angle may also ease the removal.
Clean the pessary thoroughly with soap and water after removal to clean and disinfect it. Do not use a disinfectant sprays because it may degrade the pessary material.
- When receiving the pessary from a doctor, the doctor will instruct you in the proper insertion and removal techniques for your gellhorn pessary. If you continue to have trouble, ask for additional assistance and training from your physician.
- A pessary should be removed at least once a month for cleaning. If you are uncomfortable removing or reinserting the pessary, make an appointment with your doctor. Pessaries may also need to be resized occasionally, so routine exams should be made according to your physician.