Posted by: Sue | 2007/05/15

Tampons <> Endometriosis

Hi Dr.

I have what I always thought to be a stupid question.... Is tampons unsafe to use? The reason being, I had a lap 3 years back and when I woke up the surgeon said that I should stop using tampons. I was still very sleepy from anaesthesia, and couldn't quite follow why. I tried sanitary pads once, and then decided that there is just no way. So, off to a new doc I went recently, seeing that I'm infertile already (PCOS & Blocked tubes) and after examination he said that I should stop using tampons. He explained that the endometrium shed during menstruation does not always come out properly when using tampons, and then goes up in the fallopian tubes for instance, causing endometriosis. He also explained the whole Toxic Shock Syndrome in detail, but said that it is the endo he is more worried about, as it is now believed that I do indeed have endo as well. The way he explained things really does make sense, but I am NOT a sanitary pad fan. Is there reason to beleive that tampons can cause and / or worsen endometriosis? Or, except for TSS, is there any reason not to use tampons and rather pads?

I also had a look at my insert in the tampon box and when I read carefully it said that you have to use pads inbetween tampons, and not only tampons. Could using only tampons be the culprit?

Thanks in advance.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageFertility expert

Dear Sue

There is certainly a growing body of evidence to suggest that tampon use may in fact be associated with retrograde menstruation and hence endometriosis. However, the exact mechanism remains to be explored and is in my opinion not simply an obstructive process i.e. blocking the outflow of blood, but may also be due to a slight change or shift in the angle of the cervix, which may alter the position of the canal and thereby increase outflow pressure.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Dee | 2007/05/16

You read alot of different stories about the whole tampon debate. I just dont know. What I do is use tampons for the first few heavy days and then switch to pads. I also try not to use tampons at night although that can become a problem during the heavier days. i wish the tampon companies would warn us if that were the case but I just dont know.

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