Scientific research has provided somewhat of a good answer to the question: "Can tampons cause yeast infections?" The answer really may depend on what kind of tampon you use. According to research we will discuss, deodorant tampons and menstrual pads may raise your risk for developing a yeast infection by about two times. Even menstrual pads that are treated with baking soda can impart about a two-fold increase in risk for developing a vaginal yeast infection.
So what about regular tampons that are not deodorant? Studies indicate that using a tampon may slightly elevate your risk for developing vaginal Candidiasis (Candida is the genus of yeast that causes yeast infections). One study, which will be discussed later, found the risk of developing a yeast infection for tampon users was increased by about 20%. However, because tampons do not appear to drastically affect the bacteria in the vagina, or the presence of Candida, this study’s risk assessment may be slightly elevated.
A key thing that you should know about vaginal yeast infections is that probiotic bacteria help keep yeast infections away. A healthy woman’s vagina has probiotic Lactobacilli bacteria living in it. You may have heard about the probiotic Lactobacillus acidophilus; this is one of the bacteria that can live in the vagina. And, a healthy woman’s vagina will be dominated by Lactobacilli. As research shows, the microbiota (the microscopic life) of the vagina is not drastically disturbed by tampon use. So the state of the vaginal microbiota is one possible factor that does not appear to be too interrupted by tampon use.
Possibly the most likely way a tampon can cause a yeast infection is by elevating the vaginal pH. This is due to the fact Candida prefers a more alkaline environment to thrive in, and this yeast does not grow as well in acidic conditions. A healthy woman’s vagina will have an acidic pH of about 3.6 to 4.5. The pH of blood is slightly alkaline, and is about 7.4. When you use a tampon, it traps fluid in the vagina, and can raise the vaginal pH as a result. Research indicates that tampon use typically does not cause an elevation in pH that is too severe.
For the woman with an average menstrual flow, using a tampon may only slightly predispose her to getting a yeast infection; possibly nothing to consider. However, a woman with a heavier menstrual flow, and who uses a tampon for longer durations of time, may have more risk imparted for developing vaginal Candidiasis by tampon use. This may be primarily due to the elevation of vaginal pH caused by the tampon storing menstrual fluid—causing the pH of the vagina to become more alkaline. Using a pH balancing tampon may help allay some risk of a yeast infection—pH balancing tampons will also be discussed later on.
The answer then to this question regarding tampon use and Candida is that tampons generally do not predispose a woman much to a yeast infection. Tampon use may only slightly elevate a woman’s risk for Candidiasis. What does appear to be a major factor is the use of deodorant tampons and menstrual pads. These feminine hygiene products should certainly be avoided; as they can dramatically increase a woman’s risk for getting a yeast infection.
If it appears you keep getting yeast infections during your period, and you are not sure if tampons are causing it, you may want to read this article on Candida Hub: Understanding Yeast Infections During a Period.
The Tampon’s Effect on the Vaginal Microbiota
One study looked at how tampons and oral contraceptives influenced the vaginal microbiota of women who used them. This research was published in the Journal of Clinical Pathology [20.4 (1967): 636]. The study stated that reports of vaginal yeast infections, due to changes in the female genital tract, may present a hazard. The study set out to establish a baseline for variations in the normal vaginal flora, and to see how tampons and oral contraceptives influenced the vaginal microbiota.
The study analyzed 291 women who were not pregnant that attended a clinic; and, none of these women were being treated for vaginal discharge. The ages of these women ranged from 18 to 45 years; 75% of the women were aged 20 to 35 years. Of these women, 261 were married and 30 were single. 56% of the women had 2 to 5 pregnancies. Tampons were used by 184 women and oral contraceptives were used by 104 women. These participating women had three vaginal swabs taken. The specimens were not taken at specific stages of the menstrual cycle; and, almost 30% were taken in each of the last three weeks of a woman’s menstrual cycle.
The study reported that inserting a tampon can possibly carry bacteria into the vagina from the vulva and perianal skin. However, the research found that women who used tampons were not especially at risk for having fecal bacteria or a mixed bacterial flora in their vagina. It should be noted that most vaginal swabs were taken more than a week after the first day of the last menstrual period. Thus, the study stated that it may be that the normal Lactobacilli bacteria had re-established themselves after menses.
The results of the study show that the prevalence of yeasts in the vagina of women who used tampons was not elevated much above those that did not use tampons. For those women who did use tampons, 17.9% of them had yeasts in their vagina. For those women who did not use tampons, about 16% of them had yeasts in their vagina. This does not appear to be a drastic difference.
Another study sought to determine if the use of tampons altered the microbiota of the vagina. The research was published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology [51.2 (1986): 333]. The study looked at vaginal bacteria from women using tampons and compared these samples to samples of vaginal bacteria taken from the same women using external menstrual pads. It should be noted that only 100% cotton tampons (Tampax Regular) were used by the participants who utilized tampons in this study.
The women participating in the research were analyzed for an average of nine total menstrual cycles. These women underwent vaginal swabs and provided tampon samples; this occurred on days 2, 4, and 21 after the start of menstruation.
The study took vaginal swabs from the participating women when they used only external menstrual pads and analyzed the number of bacteria present in these swabs. For both aerobic and anaerobic bacteria present in the women’s vagina, the changes that occurred from menstruation alone appeared not to be statistically significant.
Additionally, the study found that women who used a tampon for 2 and 6 hours had significantly lower numbers of facultative bacteria (bacteria that can switch between aerobic and anaerobic respiration; Lactobacilli are facultative bacteria) than they had when these women wore menstrual pads. However, after 6 hours of wearing a tampon, there were significantly more facultative bacteria present in vaginal samples than when the women wore pads.
The results of the research showed that cotton tampons had little noticeable effect on the bacterial life in the vagina. During menstruation, it was found that the numbers of Lactobacilli declined.
Another study on tampons and vaignal microbiota, discussed briefly, was published in Reviews of Infectious Diseases [Volume 11, Supplement 1 (1989): S68-S74]. The study sought to see how tampon use would influence the microbiota of the vagina. The study utilized 35 women who volunteered. Samples of these women’s vaginal microbiota were taken about the 3rd, 15th, and 25th days of the menstrual cycle; with the first day being the first day of a woman’s period.
The study found that the number of aerobic and anaerobic bacteria in the vaginal environment were not affected by the use of tampons. However, the numbers of a certain type of staphylococci in vaginal swabs was increased, while eubacteria and anaerobic bacterial species were diminished. The authors of this research stated: "The data presented here support the notion that tampon use may alter the autochthonous [indigenous] vaginal microflora. It remains to be determined if these ecologic shifts, although minor in nature, may adversely affect the resistance to colonization by potential pathogens in the lower female genital tract."
In this, it may be able to be assumed there is no apparent difference in major bacteria, caused by tampons, that could predispose a woman to a yeast infection. The following chart was taken from the study and illustrates the levels of 8 different bacteria. Perhaps the primary bacteria to consider, aerobic Lactobacilli (denoted by the x-axis’ column 1) and anaerobic Lactobacilli (denoted by column 6), do not show much decline for women using a tampon. Lactobacilli dominate the vaginal microbiota in healthy women; and, help to keep Candida yeast in check.
Vaginal Candida Colonization Amongst Tampon Users
The first study we will consider discussed briefly the ramifications of tampon use and vaginal yeast infections. The study was published in Sexually Transmitted Infections [73.1 (1997): 23-28]. The research employed 26 female volunteers and analyzed their vaginal microbiota. The use of tampons, and the use of tampons for more than 50% of the time, was taken into consideration.
The study did not appear to focus on tampon use; but did find somewhat of a correlation between the use of these menstrual products and Candidiasis. Two female participants had hysterectomies and another participant was past menopause. The analysis of the remaining women revealed that those with vaginal yeast infections appeared to have a tendency to use tampons for a longer portion of menses. Thus, this study indicates there may be an association between tampon use and vaginal Candidiasis.
The next study also investigated, to some degree, tampon use and how it correlated with vaginal yeast infections. This study was published in Epidemiology [7.2 (1996): 182-187]. This research is good to consult as it involved many volunteers; helping to ensure the accuracy of the findings. Concerning the participants, the researchers were able to ascertain 64 volunteers with positive laboratory findings for Candida. The study also enlisted 196 women volunteers to serve as controls. These women in the control group had negative laboratory tests for Candida. The study also used a mailed out survey to enlist another group of women participants deemed population controls. There were 431 women selected to be in the population control group.
Concerning this study’s findings, relating to vaginal Candidiasis and tampon use, there was somewhat of a correlation for users of deodorant tampons (not regular unscented tampons). The study found that the use of deodorant tampons and deodorant menstrual pads (again, not regular unscented menstrual pads) had a moderate association with vaginal yeast infections. The study calculated a crude odds ratio for several factors; among these being tampon use. The odds ratio shows you how much more or less likely an occurence of something is given a certain factor. An odds ratio of 2, for example, means an event is twice as likely to occur given a certain condition. The crude odds ratios presented by this research, pertaining to menstrual pads and tampons use and how they influenced the development of vaginal yeast infections, are as follows:
- Deodorant Tampon Use: 2.12 Odds Ratio (which means a yeast infection is 2.12 times as likely to occur compared to women who did not use a deodorant tampon)
- Baking Soda Treated Menstrual Pad Use: 2.17 Odds Ratio
- Deodorant Menstrual Pad Use: 1.89 Odds Ratio
Another smaller study also examined tampon use and its correlation to vaginal yeast infections. The research was published in the American Journal of Public Health [80.3 (1990): 329]. Information from medical records and a questionnaire were utilized to compare 85 women with vaginal Candidiasis to 1,245 other participants and 113 chosen participants. The study found that using tampons carried an odds ratio for developing vaginal Candidiasis of 1.19. Using both tampons and menstrual pads had an odds ratio of 1.20. Thus, this research shows that there was not much association between using tampons and developing vaginal Candidiasis.
The next study used a large group of women to determine risk factors for vaginal Candidiasis; among these analyzed factors was tampon use. The study was published in Obstetrics & Gynecology [92.5 (1998): 757-765]. The research involved 774 randomly selected women from a sexually transmitted disease clinic. These women were evaluated for risk factors and the signs and symptoms associated with C. albicans infection. Laboratory cultures were also used to detect the presence of C. albicans. Concerning tampon use, the study found there was no association with this practice and the isolation of C. albicans via laboratory culture. Thus, this research indicates that tampon use was not associated with the presence of C. albicans. And, C. albicans is responsible for about 80% of all yeast infections.
Effects of pH Balancing Tampons / Products
A normal vaginal pH is one essential factor in preventing vaginal yeast infections and also bacterial vaginosis (BV; i.e., a condition noted for the overgrowth of anaerobic bacteria and causes a foul vaginal odor—BV is the most common of all vaginal infections). For women of reproductive age with a healthy vagina, their vaginal pH will range from 3.6 to 4.5. And, their vagina’s microbiome will be dominated by Lactobacilli bacteria. Since Candida prefers a more alkaline vaginal environment, and Lactobacilli can be probiotic in nature (helping to combat Candida), having an alkaline vaginal environment can predispose women to yeast infections in this area.
One study examined how well tampons, coated with a pH balancing gel, would work to help keep vaginal pH in the normal acidic range. This research was published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology [115.5 (2008): 639-645]. The study had 81 women participate. These women’s ages ranged from 16 to 48 years. Of note is that the study used only women who were taking an oral contraceptive pill. This particular pill, as the study’s authors stated, did not appear to influence vaginal pH.
The study found that the use of a pH-balancing gel on the tampons made no significant difference in vagainal pH or laboratory evidence of Candida or BV compared to women using non-lubricated tampons. Thus, this research shows that the use of a pH balancing tampon gel does not appear to offer any advantages compared to regular, non-pH balancing gel, tampons.
Another study looked at a different pH balancing tampon. This research was published in the International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics [85.3 (2004): 298-300]. The pH balancing tampon used in the study had strips on it that released lactic acid and citric acid when these strips were in contact with menstrual fluid. The study had 28 women complete the full course of the research. The study used a primary visit at the start of the research, a menstruation visit at day 3 or 4 of menses, and a final follow-up visit 4 to 7 days before the woman’s next period. This visit pattern was performed for the next menstrual cycle as well.
The study found women using a regular tampon had an average vaginal pH of 4.6 before menstruation; and, an average pH of 5.58 during menstruation. Those women in the pH balancing tampon group had an average vaginal pH of 4.76 before menstruation. The women who used the pH balancing tampon during menstruation had an average vaginal pH of 5.08. The authors of the study stated that these results indicated that the tested pH balancing tampon can reduce the elevation of vaginal pH during menstruation to the levels present when women are not menstruating. Thus, such a tampon with lactic and citric acid strips may help control vaginal Candidiasis.
A Natural, 12 Hour Yeast Infection Cure
Yeast infections are an arduous health occurrence that many men and women experience. Although often, just one yeast infection is not too serious, many people suffer from these infections much more. Women are particularly susceptible to recurrent yeast infections. And, as you may know, Candida can cause a lot more health maladies than just yeast infections. When Candida has overgrown enough in the body; it can start wreaking havoc on your health. If enough Candida is present in the intestines, it can even create enough alcohol to induce drunkenness!
Candida related health issues perhaps got the most notice from the books of the late Dr. William Crook; who you may have heard about. However, although Candida related health issues are now more well known, many people still suffer from systemic Candidiasis.
One woman who found herself suffering from recurrent yeast infections for years was Linda Allen. Linda’s experience with Candida really started when she got a yeast infection; and, like many people, she went to the doctor to resolve the issue. The medication the doctor provided certainly worked at first; and Linda’s yeast infection cleared up. Yet, it wasn’t long before Linda found herself coming down with another yeast infection. This was merely the start of her problems; recurrent yeast infections would end up plaguing Linda’s life for about the next decade. And, outward infections were not the only problem she was having with her health. The Candida in Linda’s body had overgrown to the point where it was causing a host of other health issues; she had systemic Candidiasis. However, at the time, Linda and her doctor did not know what was causing her strange health problems.
At a time when Linda should have been able to afford a better living situation; she found herself living in a small apartment. The medical bills she incurred simply had drained her finances. The doctors could not offer a solution; they even tried placing her on allergy medication. Nothing seemed to work. Those that knew her wondered if she was sicker than she was letting people know about or a hypochondriac.
Linda’s mysterious health problems were suddenly elucidated when she consulted a naturopathic practitioner. The naturopath knew exactly what was causing all of Linda’s repeat yeast infections and poor health: systemic Candidiasis.
Although the naturopath did not provide a permanent solution, Linda was finally set on the right path. After learning the source of her problems, Linda began to ardently study natural medicine and Candida. Linda would even enlist the help of medical professionals who were kind enough to lend her some time. And, Linda tried an array of purported solutions for Candida overgrowth; yet, nothing completely solved her problems. Yet, in time, Linda was able to gather together the right information and formulated a solution for regaining her health. Linda would go on to spend about a year refining her new plan before she gave it a try on herself.
When Linda put her new plan into action, she found that her recurrent yeast infections stopped. And, as time went on, she began to fully recover her health. Eventually, as she felt so good and her yeast infections had stopped, it was clear she had really had discovered a permanent cure for systemic Candidiasis. Linda presented her new treatment plan to a doctor; the physician thought Linda might really have something on her hands. The doctor suggested letting others try her new protocol to see how they would respond. Linda did just that.
When Linda gave her new system to others, she found that they too had the same amazing positive results that she did. Those who tried her system were getting free from systemic Candidiasis using Linda’s natural medicine expertise.
Eventually Linda went on to write an entire book documenting how to replicate her success and cure recurrent yeast infections and end systemic Candidiasis. Linda has even developed an efficacious natural system that will clear up a yeast infection in just 12 hours of time. Natural medicine is powerful; and, this alacrity of cure is a testimony to that fact!
Since Linda published her book, approximately 138,000 people from around the world have used it to get rid of their Candida problems naturally. Linda’s publication has helped many clear up their yeast infections fast; and, for those with a systemic Candida problem, many have been helped as well.
Linda’s book is guaranteed by a 100%, 60 day money back guarantee. So, if you decide to read her book, and you don’ find it satisfactory (e.g., you do not see your yeast infection clear up in half a day), you can promptly get a full refund from her publisher. Linda’s publisher is a large online company based in the U.S. and is owned by the U.S. based firm Keynetics Incorporated. They specialize in digital publishing and make the purchase process secure and easy; and, make it simple for dissatisfied customers to get a full refund for Linda’s book. And, of course, Linda’s book is available for digitally downloading; so you can read it on your mobile phone or device if you so choose.
If you’d like to learn more about Linda’s personal story, see testimonials from the many people who gave her treatment system a try, or learn about her book; you can find more information at Linda Allen’s website.
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- http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jcp.20.4.636 — Morris, C. A., and Delia F. Morris. "Normal'vaginal microbiology of women of childbearing age in relation to the use of oral contraceptives and vaginal tampons." Journal of Clinical Pathology [20.4 (1967): 636].
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC238869/ — Onderdonk, A. B., et al. "Methods for quantitative and qualitative evaluation of vaginal microflora during menstruation." Applied and Environmental Microbiology [51.2 (1986): 333].
- https://doi.org/10.1093/clinids/11.Supplement_1.S68 — Chow, Anthony W., and Karen H. Bartlett. "Sequential assessment of vaginal microflora in healthy women randomly assigned to tampon or napkin use." Reviews of Infectious Diseases [Volume 11, Supplement 1 (1989): S68-S74].
- http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/sti.73.1.23 — Priestley, C. J., et al. "What is normal vaginal flora?." Sexually Transmitted Infections [73.1 (1997): 23-28].
- https://doi.org/10.1097/00001648-199603000-00013 — Geiger, Ann, and Betsy Foxman. "Risk Factors for Vulvovaginal Candidiasis: A Case-Control Study among University Students." Epidemiology [7.2 (1996): 182-187].
- https://dx.doi.org/10.2105/ajph.80.3.329 — Foxman, B. "The epidemiology of vulvovaginal candidiasis: risk factors." American Journal of Public Health [80.3 (1990): 329].
- https://doi.org/10.1016/S0029-7844(98)00264-6 — Eckert, LindaO, et al. "Vulvovaginal candidiasis: clinical manifestations, risk factors, management algorithm." Obstetrics & Gynecology [92.5 (1998): 757-765].
- https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1471-0528.2008.01666.x — Melvin, L., et al. "pH?balanced tampons: do they effectively control vaginal pH?." BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology [115.5 (2008): 639-645].
- https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijgo.2004.03.003 — Brzezinski, A., et al. "Efficacy of a novel pH buffering tampon in preserving the acidic vaginal pH during menstruation." International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics [85.3 (2004): 298-300].