OBJECTIVES: To explore the knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs related to pessary use in Spanish-speaking women along the US-Mexico border. METHODS: Spanish-speaking women with symptoms of vaginal bulge were recruited from the urogynecology/gynecology clinics at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso to participate in moderated focus groups. Discussion topics included knowledge of prolapse/pessaries, pros/cons of pessaries, alternatives, and prolapse surgery. Audio-recorded group discussions were transcribed verbatim, and qualitative analysis completed by independent review using grounded theory methodology. Common themes were identified and then aggregated to form consensus concepts, agreed upon by the reviewers. RESULTS: Twenty-nine Spanish-speaking women participated in 6 focus group discussions. Approximately half of women reported little or no prior knowledge about pessaries. Three main themes were identified from analysis: knowledge/perceptions, misinformation/misconceptions, and surgery-related concerns. Concepts identified from common themes included limited knowledge of pessaries, confusing "pessary" with "mesh," willingness to try pessaries in order to avoid surgery, desire to try pessary if it was recommended by physician, limited efficacy or complications of surgery, and mesh-related concerns. Interestingly, some women reported that pessaries appear to be a treatment more often offered in the United States rather than in Mexico. CONCLUSIONS: Most participants showed a willingness to try a pessary for symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse in an effort to avoid surgery, despite expressing limited knowledge about this treatment. Physician recommendations and risks of pessary use influence their likelihood of trying a pessary. These concepts serve as focus points for effective pessary counseling to help improve education and informed decision making in this patient population.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Obstetrics and Gynecology