Vaginal dryness can be a painful experience. While there are many reasons, tampons may be causing vaginal dryness too.

A tampon is a popular period product that helps to soak up menstrual blood. You just have to insert it into your vagina to absorb the period blood. Made of absorbent fibers like cotton and rayon, a tampon may sometimes even make your vagina dry. Read on to know how tampons can cause vaginal dryness.

What is vaginal dryness?

Vaginal dryness refers to a condition where the vagina lacks proper lubrication, leading to discomfort or pain, especially during sex. It is often associated with decreased estrogen levels, which can occur during menopause, breastfeeding, or certain medical treatments like chemotherapy, says obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Madhu Juneja.

Panties with red fur
Vaginal dryness may be due to hormonal changes. Image courtesy: Freepik

It can also be caused by stress, hormonal changes, or insufficient arousal during sex. Certain medications, such as hormonal contraceptives (birth control pills, patches, or injections), antidepressants can interfere with vaginal moisture levels and contribute to dryness too.

How do tampons cause vaginal dryness in some women?

Tampons can potentially contribute to vaginal dryness in some women due to their absorbent nature. When a tampon is inserted into the vagina, it can absorb not only period blood, but also natural vaginal moisture, explains the expert. This can lead to a feeling of dryness or discomfort, especially if the tampon is left in for a long time. Also, some tampons may contain chemicals or additives that could irritate the vaginal tissue, leading to dryness or inflammation in sensitive women.

Is vaginal dryness due to tampons temporary?

Vaginal dryness caused by tampons is often temporary and typically resolves once the tampon is removed and the vaginal tissues have a chance to replenish moisture, says Dr Juneja. However, if tampons are consistently used or left in for prolonged periods, it can lead to ongoing or recurrent vaginal dryness and discomfort.

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The restoration of moisture can vary from person-to-person and depends on factors such as hydration levels, hormonal fluctuations, and overall vaginal health. In most cases, once the tampon is removed, the natural lubrication of the vagina begins to replenish itself.

Using water-based lubricants or moisturisers specifically designed for vaginal use can help alleviate dryness and promote comfort during and after tampon use.

How to use tampons to avoid vaginal dryness?

To minimise the risk of vaginal dryness when using tampons, consider the following tips:

1. Choose the right absorbency

Select tampons with the lowest absorbency needed for your periods. Using a higher absorbency tampon than necessary can increase dryness by absorbing more vaginal moisture, says the expert.

2. Stay hydrated

Drink adequate amount of water or fluids to maintain overall hydration. This can help support vaginal moisture levels as well.

3. Use lubricated tampons

Some tampons come with a lubricating coating to help reduce friction and discomfort. Opt for such tampons if you are prone to vaginal dryness.

Tampon with a pink background
Don’t wear tampons for long. Image courtesy: Freepik

4. Change tampons regularly

Follow the recommended tampon usage guidelines that are given on the packaging, and change the period product every 4 to 8 hours. This will help to prevent excessive absorption of vaginal moisture.

If tampons still lead to vaginal dryness or itching or a burning sensation, you should consider using alternative period products such as pads, menstrual cups and period underwear. Make sure to choose period products based on your needs and preferences.

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