spring into a pessary (or how to avoid a falling vagina)


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?

Published in: on November 19, 2008 at 7:09 am  Comments (35)  

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35 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Living single might work as a preventative, except that eMedicine Health lists such causes as “constipation, coughing from asthma or bronchitis, weak pelvic structure due to advancing age, obesity, pelvic tumors (rare). So many reasons for a girl to keep up with her Kegels.


    I’ll be doing my pilates more often.

  3. OK, you scared me, Nursey.


  4. Bless you, ma’am. I say, is that your golden errrmm thing, bouncing down the stairs?

  5. Do us blokes need to do those kegel thingies as well?

  6. Absolutely!!!

    Just imagine a future that includes faecal incontinence Archie…..

  7. Where do you find this stuff . . . ?

    it finds me……

  8. I’m glad this issue is being addressed. I hate it when I’m walking down 6th Avenue and I see some woman’s vagina fall out of her skirt.

    Why do they always have to blame masturbation?

  9. When they start becoming engorged with blood, that’s when we’ll know that men are obsolete.

  10. I just checked, and so far my vag is in tact.

    tactfully put rassles

  11. Is it true what they say about http://www.flickr.com/photos/jahsonic/3043282157/ ?

    Yes 🙂

  12. Kegelling like I have never kegelled before 😉

  13. Oh my, I had no idea about these facts! Luckily I don’t have to worry about such issues now haha

  14. When I was in New Mexico, pessaries used to come into the back yard and root around in the trash or eat the flower bulbs. If you can stick one of those in your vagina, and not get cut up by their tusks, more power to you.

  15. This is very interesting because I once read a book called “The Good Women of China” and one of the chapters was about a very primitive group of Chinese people who still lived as they had centuries ago. The writer of the book had gone to observe them and couldn’t figure out why all the women walked with this weird gate. It turned out that they all had prolapsed wombs due to what they used for feminine protection. I can’t remember what it was, but it was causing the prolapsed wombs. I was quite fascinated by this. I hadn’t thought of that in ages till I read this post.

  16. You know when you think of something TOTALLY amusing to say and then life intervenes and you get calls and weird shit that goes on all day and then you can’t remember what you were going to say…?

    That’s me, that is.

    And I’m grumpy now.

    But it WAS funny.


  17. thought the best way to avoid a falling vagina was to use an umbrella…

  18. Vaginal Suspenders

  19. I would have no desire to avoid a falling vagina, m’dear!

  20. I misread the title as “How to avoid falling into a vagina.” And I thought to myself why would I want to avoid that?

    Also, one of my pick-up lines is “Excuse me, is that your vagina?” The results should be obvious.

  21. yikes!

  22. I’d like to see Richard Simmons put those excercises to music.
    I mean it…really I would.

  23. I should surprise no one that I actually own a dumbbell for this set of muscles.
    I only break it out occasionally, since equipment-free exercises will take you a long way, but sometimes you just can’t resist a status check.

    It’s possible that you could take some things too far since there was once an incident involving a condom that stayed put when the wearer excused himself, a moment of considerable elastic traction when he attempted to recover it and a shout of “Leggo!” followed by a snapping recoil. If I could do that every time I’d take it on the road.

  24. PS. BTW I reckon it is also partly about the iliacus muscles, or short deep hip flexors, whose fascia are continuous with the muscularly infiltrated broad ligament of the uterus. I would imagine that a well-maintained iliacus provides a suspension counterpoint to the support function of the pubococcygeals etc. Or does this count as talking too dirty? 😉

  25. Slepres- More like too nerdy.

  26. Well, that explains why I think nerds are hot…

  27. ‘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.”’

    Well it hasnt happened to me yet!

  28. sometimes I think all you guys’n’gals are cleverer than me…..

    great comments!!!


  30. 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.

    Oh yeah… some think this would be great… but let me tell ya… it ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. One week in bed and I was darn ready to kill someone.

  31. Not that my vagina fell out or anything, but *something* had fallen out and I had it fixed…

  32. I’m picking someone up from the hospital next week. He is having day surgery for a hernia in his groin – NOT caused by me I might add.

    Any tips on what I can do to make his recovery more bearable? I’ll only be able to drop in on him every couple of days…

  33. Ah, the dreaded inguinal hernia. It’s amazing what they can do with laparoscopes. I see people with dimple-sized incisions where you used to view signs of mayhem. But the only advice I have is to bring him plenty of things like figs and dates that will keep the bowels going without any spikes in intra-abdominal pressure to strain the repair site… there is nothing like a big braid of Turkish figs…

  34. that’s a great idea sledpress

  35. […] seems like a bad idea to me.  More information can be found on this tongue-in-cheek blog about Gimcrack hospital.  The URL says it […]

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