pH-balanced tampons: do they effectively control vaginal pH?
Article first published online: 7 MAR 2008
© 2008 The Authors
BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology
Volume 115, Issue 5, pages 639–645, April 2008
How to Cite
Melvin, L., Glasier, A., Elton, R. and Cameron, S. (2008), pH-balanced tampons: do they effectively control vaginal pH?. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, 115: 639–645. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-0528.2008.01666.x
- Issue published online: 7 MAR 2008
- Article first published online: 7 MAR 2008
- Accepted 28 December 2007.
- vaginal pH
Objective To determine if tampons lubricated with pH-balanced gel are effective at maintaining normal vaginal pH.
Design Randomised controlled trial.
Setting Urban family planning clinic and teaching hospital.
Population Healthy volunteers using the combined oral contraceptive pill.
Methods Women were randomised to use an existing lubricating gel (pH 5.1) or a lactic acid-buffered gel (pH 3.8–4.2) with regular size, non-applicator tampons. In the preceding control cycle, women used identical tampons without gel.
Main outcome measures Vaginal pH ≤ 4.5, microbiology (candida and bacterial vaginosis [BV]) and colposcopic appearance within 72 hours of tampon use, subject acceptability and symptoms.
Results Eighty-one out of 98 (83%) women completed the study. No significant difference was observed between tampons with the standard gel formulation, the pH-balanced gel and nonlubricated tampons in terms of vaginal pH, microbiological evidence of candida or BV, or colposcopic appearance. Acceptability scores were significantly higher for lubricated tampons compared with nonlubricated tampons (P < 0.05), although there was no difference in reported symptoms.
Conclusions Tampons lubricated with pH-balanced gel do not control vaginal pH. There was no evidence of measurable health benefits of lubricated tampons, but women preferred tampons without lubrication.