POP mamas - tell me about sea sponges vs. pessary - Mothering Forums

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Old 09-17-2008, 12:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I posted a question about this in the POP support thread but that thread is getting pretty huge so I thought I would repost here to get a little more visibility...

I'm seeing a PT for cystocele - I'm 12 wks postpartum - and she suggested that part-time use of a pessary might help to take some of the stress off the pelvic floor muscles so that they have some extra time to heal. (The hope is that eventually I would only need this during high impact activities like running). She gave me a few names of docs in the city who are good at fitting pessaries (which, I gather, is as much an art as it is a science. This may be why so many docs and women aren't happy with them?)

My cystocele is an annoyance - especially for the second half of the day - but some days it's really not bad at all, so I feel like this may be a more drastic solution than I need, though the idea of unloading the muscle makes sense to me.

I'm wondering how a pessary compares to a sea sponge? Advantages/disadvantages to each?
Any experiences you can share about using either one?

Thanks!
Karen

Mom to James (ribboncesarean.gif 5/2006), Claire (vbac.gif 6/2008), furry kitties Calvin and Bob, and wife to Dennis. 

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Old 09-25-2008, 02:27 PM
 
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I've used sea sponges... the company I purchased them from actually mentions their use is supporting mild POP.

For me, the discomfort of the POP isn't too bad most days and I have a lot of scar tissue and nerve "wonkiness" in the vaginal area so the texture of the sponge was really uncomfortable. More uncomfortable than the POP alone. So I stopped using the sponges.

However, they're not that expensive, work well for many mamas as menstrual products, and would be worth a try to see if they help your POP. I've thought about looking into pessaries more seriously if I get pregnant or if my POP symptoms get worse...

I'm curious to see what other mamas do!

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Old 09-25-2008, 02:44 PM
 
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I don't use a pessary and haven't used the sea sponge as one either, but I do use the sponges as a menstrual product. It's the only thing that I can use internally that is comfortable and stays in place. I can no longer use a Diva Cup or a regular tampon, but the sponge works great.

The thing about a pessary that doesn't sit right with me is that they are hard plastic/metal, and the thought of putting something like that inside doesn't feel right to me. I've also read that they can cause a lot of irritation if not fitted correctly, which happens a lot it seems.

Sea Sponges are cheap (around $8 for two of them) and they can be trimmed and played around with a bit to see what works for you. I buy mine through a Frontier coop (they're a bit cheaper that way) but they also sell them at many health food stores. I would say give them a try before going the pessary route.

I was also following a really interesting thread over at Whole Woman, of someone who was working with her midwife to fashion a pessary made out of beeswax. If I were to need something like that, this sounds promising to me.

You're still so newly postpartum, and you're already taking care of it with a PT, so there's a pretty good likelihood that you may not even need something like this. I had a pretty severe cystocele and now, almost 3 years postpartum, it only really bothers me if I'm doing a high impact activity like running on the treadmill with a full bladder in the day or two before getting my period. Or if I've been coughing a lot, then I do have some stress incontinence (like last winter, when I had pertussis.)

Good luck!!
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Old 09-26-2008, 06:38 PM
 
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I use a sea sponge as a pessary, but only when I am running. My cystocele has improved to the point of not being noticable unless I don't use the sponge when running.

I find it works very well for me, I'm sure it varies greatly from person to person, but for me the sponge makes all the difference.

I was going to go to the OB to get a pessary, but the sponge is working so well, I'm thinking why bother?
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Old 09-29-2008, 11:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the opinions everyone. I just oredered a couple sea sponges so I'll see if I like them. I'm mostly interested in some extra support for running and other high impact activities too. My PT showed me some "demo" pessaries and a lot of the little ones (for less severe prolapse) look more like a diaphragm than anything else (though with holes in it) - they were pretty flexabile, which makes me think maybe they'd be ok. Still, can't beat a sea sponge for cheap, so if it works, great!

The good news is that my PT is pretty sure she can "fix" me in 6-12 visits (by "fix" I mean I will be able to run a 5k with good pelvic support).

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Old 10-03-2008, 07:54 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kidspiration View Post
I can no longer use a Diva Cup or a regular tampon, but the sponge works great.
I have a cystocele and tried the Diva Cup for a few cycles about 6 months ago (2 years pp). I couldn't get it to work & I couldn't figure out whether it was due to the cystocele or if I was inserting it incorrectly? Any thoughts on this?

I emailed Diva Cup but the woman who I corresponded with was entirely unhelpful.
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Old 10-04-2008, 04:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by veryerin View Post
I use a sea sponge as a pessary, but only when I am running. My cystocele has improved to the point of not being noticable unless I don't use the sponge when running.
Ok so I got some sea sponges from Jade and Pearl and tried one the other day when I felt things slipping out of place. It went in fine, was comfortable etc. But YOUCH!!! How the heck do you pull it out>?? I could reach it to grab it, but it puffed up so big that I felt like I was pulling my insides out as I carefully removed it! I actually had a little blood on it from the whole ordeal. (I know that I can loop a thread through it, but I don't think that will help this problem). So what's the trick? Do you put lube on the outside? Wet it to soften it more before removing? Other ideas? Do I just need to trim it smaller? Help please!!

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Old 10-05-2008, 06:08 PM
 
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Yeah, sometimes mine travels a little further up than I need and then the great sponge hunt begins.

TMI ahead.

If that happens, I try to just slide it down or forwards using the length of my index finger, then I try to grab onto a substantial chunk of the sponge and pull. I do this squatting and I bear down a tiny bit if necessary. If you grab too little of the sponge, it may rip, so be careful. I do have a little blood on mine from time to time, I keep hoping it just means I'm getting closer to having a period

I wet the sponge before inserting it, and it is always still plenty moist when I go to take it out. If dryness is a problem, I think lube would help, but make sure you get the sponge rinsed out really well.
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Old 07-18-2014, 12:14 PM
 
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I have both cyst/rectocele and moderate prolapse. I use a Diva Cup, but I cut off the stem and turned it inside out to make it work. It does work a bit as a pessary.....I fold mine in half, then half again, insert past the pelvic bone and PC muscles, then let it pop open.....if it stays flat, it's probably set to the side of the cervix, and you want to drop it down a wee bit. When you are past the cervix it should pop open....push it back up, and give it a twist. You may also want to push up and then bear down a bit to get it in place.

I would try after your period and before ovulation with some lube....the cervix is higher at that point, and you'll have more room to maneuver....then when you get to your period when the cervix comes down a bit, you'll be more comfortable.
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