a prolapsed womb used to be (and sometimes still is) treated by the insertion of pessaries. They were made from metal, wood, ivory, horn, wax, leather or glass. A globe pessary, in the shape of a perfect sphere, was usually made of silver, gilt or gold. Others were egg shaped or oval. Ring pessaries were made of glass, wood or rubber, were inserted edgeways, then turned horizontally. So were the Figure 8 type, though they were less popular as “they were easily deranged and liable to many objections.”
A Stem pessary was attached to a bandage passing between the legs and then attached to a belt around the waist. It had many advantages such as being difficult to dislodge unlike some of the others which would fall out of the body as the woman walked, coughed or sneezed.
Another method of dealing with prolapses was for the woman to stay off her feet altogether and to remain lying down with her pelvis higher than her shoulders for a month or more at a time.
Curiously, there was once a case reported where a prolapse was so severe that civil authorities forced a woman to wear men’s clothing, convinced that the hanging organ was a masculine attribute. The celebrated Saviard was able to reduce it to a point where her womanhood was no longer in doubt. Another reported cure, presumably only attempted by younger women, was for them to stand on their heads until the uterus fell back into position.
Preventative advice that was handed out at the time consisted of “keep still for a long time, avoid constipation, never let the bladder become too full and live single.”
Masturbation was implicated also as a possible cause. “Certain vicious and degrading habits, in young persons, are apt to produce these difficulties, by the continual irritation they keep up, and so are certain excesses in adults.”
The least appealing cure of all was galvanism, where a tube was inserted into the vagina and connected to one pole of a battery with the other being placed on the spine, or the application of leeches to the vaginal lips if there were a cystocele present.
need the nurse remind you yet again to keep doing those kegel exercises?