Tampons and HPV need some INFO!

I have read a lot of you ladies out there saying that tampons should not be used if you have HPV. Why is that? I havent talked to my doctor about this yet but ill def. ask her on the 31st when go for my colop. have your doctors been telling you not to use tampons? im just curious! also is it ok to be on birth control if you have HPV???

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Well, about the tampons; my OB said not to wear them because they cause unnecessary friction on the cervix. Picture it this way; if you have a sore on your arm and you start rubbing on it, what would happen? It would become aggravated and the healing process would take longer. You want the HPV cleared up as soon as you can.

As for the BC I have heard some things against using it during an active HPV infection but I am not too educated about BC and how it can affect your bodies reaction to the HPV so I will leave that for someone else to answer :o)

Don't 4get to get copies of all your procedures and take some really good multi-vitamins k :o)

My best to you :o)

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Yes -- I agree with bymyside -- it has to do with the friction, which can create little microscopic tears which could be another entry point for HPV. Plus, it can push HPV from one part of the vagina to another or up onto the cervix -- (just the act of insertion). I also wonder if it interferes with your body's natural cleaning function -- where various fluids tend to "flush out" and cleanse the cervix/vagina. (That part I'm just speculating.)

Here's a link to a Canadian study in young college women called, "Modifiable Risk Factors Associated with Clearance of Type-Specific Cervical Human Papillomavirus Infections in a Cohort of University Students." Here's a quote and the link is at the bottom of the page. This is a very interesting paper and one of the few you can read in full without having to buy a copy.

"Most interestingly, the use of tampons was a strong predictor of high-risk HPV persistence, and women who used sanitary napkins, exclusively, were five times (HR, 5.0; 5% CI, 2.5-10.0) more likely to clear their high-risk HPV ifection compared with women who used tampons, exclusively." -- pg 1153 in the "Results" section.

"Hygienic practices, such as douching and use of tampons during menstruation, have frequently been proposed as explanatory variables for observed differences in HPV prevalence, but associations have been inconsistent (8, 35, 38). Our data showed that women who used tampons instead of sanitary napkins were significantly less likely to clear their high-risk HPV infection. One other cohort study observed a similar elevated risk for cumulative high-risk HPV among women who used tampons instead of sanitary napkins during menstruation (35). Although the mechanism is currently unknown, it is possible that tampons will serve to spread the viral infection to different locations in the cervix, thereby increasing the area and possibly the severity of the HPV infection. Cervical inflammation has also recently been proposed as a relevant cofactor in HPV carcinogenesis (48) and perhaps the premature removal of tampons may induce some form of epithelial irritation that may facilitate persistence of a high-risk HPV infection. Nonetheless, regardless of the mechanism, if future studies among populations with equally high exposure to tampons reveal similar measures of effect, then discouraging the use of tampons during the course of a HPV infection may prove to be one of the more easily modifiable determinants of rapid HPV clearance." pg 1154 in the "Discussion" section.


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correlin: GREAT info, ty for sharing! I am with you too about how tampons may keep the natural cleansing process at bay. That makes a lot of sense.

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Wow, great info.

Also, in regard to the question on oral contraceptive use, I have heard two reasons why it might not be good during an hpv infection. 1) OCs deplete folate levels, which are important for both dysplasia clearance and possibly for fighting the virus. 2) I have also been told that the estrogen from the pills can fuel this dysplasia, although not all doctors agree on this.

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just to look at another perspective, birth control pills do have a few advantages....for instance, they help to reduce the risks for other gyn cancers (uterine/endometrial and ovarian cancers), and, obviously, they very effectively prevent pregnancy. everyone needs to decide for themselves what's best for them, weigh pros and cons, etc.

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OK, now I'm super-confused. I've been extemely dissatisfied w/ all the doctors I've visited lately. They keep saying that I should have another surgery/cone biopsy b/c they're not sure if the precancerous cells that were found were all removed during the last surgery 3 mo. ago. Meanwhile, I've been trying all the natural/alternative treatments avail. The latest thing I'm doing is acupuncture. My acupuncturist is a Chinese lady in her late 40s who used to be an MD in China. She can't practice medicine here, but she is trying to understand my case and help me out. In addition to acupuncture sessions, she's been giving me herbal vitamins to take orally. She also gave me an herbal solution, Yin-Care, that I'm supposed to dilute w/ water and soak a tampon and wear overnight, excluding days of ovulation/menstruation. I have never douched before but had been using tampons during my period for the last 8 yrs or so, never wearing them overnight. So I was apprehensive to try this, for the same reasons listed in this discussion board. However, when I mentioned this to my mother, she said she's always douched and used tampons on a regular basis her entire life, still douches w/ natural vinegar even though she's in menopause. And then I found out that some of my girlfriends are also avid users of douching. I never douched before and tried to avoid tampons as much as possible because I didn't want to throw out of balance the natural bacteria in my body. But when I told my acupuncturist this, she said that since I have the precancerous cells, that this is not natural so I'm already out of balance. I am feeling better now, and had a really good period this last mo.

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Wow, I had no idea..thank you, gross pads it is.

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Ugh, I hate using pads! At night I feel like I have to lay on my back the entire time I sleep or else I'm gonna leak...and then I can't even get a good night's sleep. But, I guess it's worth it if this would lessen my chances of spreading the hpv or irritating my cervix.

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Keep in mind that one study can say one thing and then another study comes along a few years later that completely contradicts it -- so I don't mean to suggest that we know for sure that tampons will make a difference. You probably understand your body best and what feels healthy, so can weigh the pros/cons and decide what you can live with. Believe me, I think tampons were the single best invention of the modern age, so switching to pads was a real struggle for me. Yuck! But I know I've felt a lot healthier vaginally since I stopped using them, partially because they would dry out and I felt irritation when inserting or removing them -- but that might not be the case for others of you.

So... in general, I've read that douching is a real bad idea -- that the vagina is self-cleansing and that douching disrupts the ph and makes us more susceptible to infection and STD's. But, I know that some herbalists and naturopaths have recommended herbal treatments directly to the cervix and, meliza4, your acupuncturist makes a good point that the ph is already disrupted. And maybe a tampon soaked in an herbal solution will actually be soothing to your vaginal/cervical area.

I think it's really important for us to listen to our body, weigh the pros/cons & alternatives and then choose what feels the most balanced and healthy.

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SPARKLES: Yeah, I hate pads too. Instead of lying on your back, just pull the pad really far forward if you are a tummy sleeper; that's what I do. The new pads by Always are AWESOME by the way! You don't even know that they are there. They are so soft and smooth. They move the moisture away from the skin too so that is nice.

K, I just thought I would throw that tid bit in :o)

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So this effectively means no sex either as this also involves rubbing against the vaginal wall, whether its a penis or maybe even fingering!

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thanks for the info ladies! I always thought tampons was just sort of plugging the flow like a drain in the sink, but all this talk really makes sense. And sparkles, I hate pads too. I always end up having to use the biggest and longest ones I can find cause I bleed WAY too much. I always seem to soak through them within two hours of putting em on.

Anybody got any idea of mollusculum? I dont want to shave for fear of getting it again, cause when the doctor sutured it (aka poked it with a needle, it went away) but I shaved my bikini ONE TIME and it came back. :-/ any advice would help. I just told my roomate it was an infected hair follicle. I could be wrong though, but I didnt want her to worry.

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corellin! you show that patients involved in certain diseases are often more informed and competent than many doctors! thank you! i know that women like you and all those that here are interested in deepening what doctors say will definitly defeat this disease.

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My Dr. never told me that I could not use tampons and I was always on the pill even after diagnosed with HPV and she is the head of Obstectrics and Gynocology at Yale-New Haven hospital so I like to think that she knows what she is talking about. The only time I could not use tampons was for a few weeks following cryosurgery. I am now seeing another Dr. due to a move and change in insurance, and she also never told me I could not use tampons, except right after my LEEP for a couple of weeks. I suppose there are many different opinions out there and so research is always the best way to go.

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mutchy, it's not that you can't use tampons....not like after a surgery where there's risk of infection....the studies have found that if you avoid tampons, it will help you to clear the hpv infection....but of course, you can still clear the hpv even if you do use tampons.

and, like corellin, i've always read that douches or anything in the vagina can result in inflammation and disrupt balance. i'm not familiar with these herbal remedies some of you have been trying but wonder how it's monitored. there is a product called 'rephresh' or something similar to help restore healthy ph balance.

like many of us are saying...i think we all agree that it' s a matter of balance, assessing pros and cons, figuring out what works for each of us.

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It seems like a penis in the act of penetration would be just as irritating to the cervix, spreading the infection the same way....right?

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I just read through that study. It's very confusing (for example, it says we should all be drinking more to clear HPV?) Many points they bring up they also refute by other findings of different studies. And this was from 2005. Has any group done a more recent study about clearing HPV?

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Hi everyone,

Concerning oral contraceptive use and the risk of HPV progressing to cervical cancer, here's a link describing the 2002 IARC study showing increased risk (not a huge risk but an increase based on whether people ever used the pill and for how long):


Here's a link to a different study, published in The Lancet, showing that the increased risk goes down 10 years after a woman stops taking the pill, which is nice news:

As Flowershoplady noted, if you're especially worried about ovarian cancer or uterine cancer then the pill's benefits may outweigh the risks. But if you have no particular reason based on family history or other medical problems to worry about those cancers and do have reason to worry about cervical cancer, then you might consider stopping the pill. That's what I did when I found out I'd need to have a LEEP, and I wished I'd tried it earlier, on the chance that it might have helped stop the dysplasia from progressing. Who knows. It's always a tough personal decision to make.


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I want to know that too? If a tampon can cause friction to the vaginal walls, common sense tells me that a condomed penis(much larger than a tampon in all it's dimensions)can definately aggrivate the vaginal mucosa. Can this lead to further vaginal dissemination of the HPV virus?

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I imagine abstaining from sex and the like would certainly help.....but then who is willing to take these measures? Especially if you're in a commited relationship. Maybe that is why it's not touched upon so much...but yes, I'd like to know more as

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