Pelvic organ prolapse, or POP, is a very common condition that affects about 50% of women in the U.S. 1 and up to 70% of women wear tampons at least some of the time. 2 So naturally, pelvic health specialists field lots of questions about tampons and POP!
In this article, we’ll briefly explain POP, and then answer some of your FAQs about POP and tampon use.
What is POP?
Pelvic organ prolapse is a pelvic floor disorder in which the uterus, bladder, or rectum (or other tissues and organs) drop from their normal position into or out of your vagina or anus. It can cause physical discomfort and/or impact your sex life, body image, and quality of life. POP can cause bladder leakage as well as other issues.
For some women, there may be no symptoms of POP, and non-invasive interventions, like lifestyle changes, physical therapy, and pelvic floor exercises can really help. Severe pelvic organ prolapse may require surgery.
Otherwise, let’s jump into your questions!
Your POP & Tampons FAQS Answered
Can you use tampons with POP?
Your ability to wear tampons will depend on the nature and severity of your POP. You may not be able to wear a tampon if your cervix has fallen into your vagina.
Can you use tampons with a prolapsed uterus?
You may be able to use tampons if your uterus has prolapsed, but you may find it leads to irritation.
Does wearing a tampon help with incontinence?
Some women take matters into their own hands and wear a tampon to help with mild prolapse and bladder leakage. While you may find this helpful, this is not a solution. Tampons are designed to absorb fluid and should only be used when you are on your period, according to their instructions. Wearing them to treat POP can lead to toxic shock syndrome.
Repeat: do not wear tampons to treat incontinence.
If you find that when you wear tampons, you get some relief from incontinence and POP, then speak to your doctor. You may be a good candidate for a device called a pessary, which is similar to tampons but specifically designed for this use.
Unfortunately, too many women suffer in silence from POP and other pelvic floor disorders. It’s always better to speak to a doctor about any of your concerns, since many pelvic floor disorders are treatable, but can get worse over time.
Can a tampon put pressure on your bladder? Can a tampon cause incontinence?
Some women will only experience bladder leakage when they are using a tampon or menstrual cup. In this case, the patient may have bladder prolapse, but also have incontinence that is unrelated to the prolapse. If a tampon relieves your prolapse, but you still have leakage, then you may have another issue that is causing incontinence.
In other words, tampons don’t cause incontinence, but they may reveal that you have incontinence and help you understand the root causes of it.
As with any and all questions related to your pelvic health, they are often best addressed by a pelvic health specialist. Use our Physician Finder to locate one near you, and be sure to follow us on Instagram for regular tips to help support your pelvic floor health.