Historical Review of Pessary

Jaime Long, Sonia Bhandari Randhawa

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and its different treatment options have been documented concerns for women throughout centuries of evolving civilizations. Pessaries, devices placed in the vagina to support the uterus or vaginal walls, have been a mainstay method of treatment for thousands of years. For most of this time, their use was guided by expert opinion and experience, but currently, there are better tools to improve their utilization. In addition to treating POP, pessaries have been used to treat urinary incontinence, uterine retroversion and cervical insufficiency. The term pessary is derived from the Greek word "pessos," which was an oval stone used in games. Homer described checkers-like games played with iron balls called pessos in The Odyssey. It then evolved to describe oval stones that were placed in the uteri of camels for contraception in both Arabia and Turkey, and later was used to describe other intrauterine devices.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationVaginal Pessaries
EditorsTeresa Tam, Matthew F. Davies
ISBN (Electronic)9780429401183
ISBN (Print)9781138394407
StatePublished - 2019


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