Endometriosis can cause pain and inflammation, particularly around and during a period. For some people, this pain may make using a tampon feel uncomfortable or painful.
This article looks at tampon pain and endometriosis, as well as treatment and management options.
When a person uses tampons correctly, they should not cause any pain. If people are experiencing pain when using a tampon, it may be a sign of an underlying condition.
Additionally, if a person regularly experiences vaginal pain due to endometriosis, anxiety about the pain occurring again can cause the pelvic floor muscles to tighten. This can cause additional discomfort during intercourse or tampon use.
The discomfort may present as:
- a heavy pain felt deep in the abdomen during penetration
- cramping after sexual intercourse or orgasm
This pain is different from the kind of pain a person may feel at the entrance of the vagina when penetration begins. This type of pain is usually sharp and localized to the vagina. It may occur due to vaginal dryness or tightness.
Tampon pain associated with endometriosis may be similar to endometriosis dyspareunia.
A person may feel pain deep inside the abdomen when they are wearing a tampon. They may also experience abdominal cramps.
These feelings may differ from vaginal pain localized to the vaginal entrance when inserting a tampon.
However, this type of pain can result from the vaginal muscles tightening in response to the anticipation of pain. This can happen if a person regularly experiences endometriosis-related tampon pain or dyspareunia.
A person may wish to avoid tampon pain by using different menstrual products.
A person may consider instead using period pads or absorbent period underwear. Other insertable methods, such as menstrual cups, may not be suitable.
Endometriosis has no cure, but some treatments may alleviate the symptoms. Some treatments can also stop a person’s periods, so they will not need to wear tampons.
These treatments include:
A person may also find that the following methods help with endometriosis and tampon pain or dyspareunia:
- Pain relief: For mild symptoms, people may find over-the-counter (OTC) medications, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, help to relieve tampon pain from endometriosis.
- Other hormonal treatments: For people who want to get pregnant, doctors may prescribe gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists instead of hormonal birth control. GnRH agonists can cause a temporary menopause, stopping endometrial tissue from growing and causing symptoms.
- Surgery: If medications are ineffective in relieving symptoms, people may require surgery to remove the areas of endometriosis tissue. This may relieve endometriosis symptoms.
- Alternative therapies: People may want to look into alternative therapies such as acupuncture, meditation, or pelvic floor exercises.
A person should consult a doctor about the best treatment method for them.
Learn more about endometriosis treatments.
As well as tampon pain and dyspareunia, endometriosis can cause other symptoms.
Some of the
- painful menstrual cramps
- pain in the lower abdomen and back
- pain during urination or bowel movements when on period
- heavy menstrual bleeding
It is also possible to have endometriosis with no symptoms.
Having endometriosis-related tampon pain does not necessarily indicate that the endometriosis is severe.
There are also treatments available that can alleviate endometriosis pain.
If a person with endometriosis experiences tampon pain, they may wish to avoid tampons. They can opt for treatment methods such as pain relief, birth control, or surgery.
In most cases, surgery is effective in relieving pain from endometriosis, although symptoms can return.
According to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), pain reoccurs in up to 8 in 10 females within two years of surgery.
More severe cases of endometriosis may increase the likelihood of the disease returning after surgery.
Hormonal medications for endometriosis may help to lengthen the amount of time that people are pain-free.
The best way to prevent tampon pain is to stop wearing tampons. A person may instead use non-insertable period products such as pads.
However, it may not be possible to prevent the related pain that occurs during sexual intercourse. Treating the underlying endometriosis may prevent the pain from happening.
If people are persistently experiencing pain from tampon use, they should contact a doctor.
Tampon pain may be a sign of an underlying medical condition, and could be an indicator of endometriosis.
If people have any other symptoms of endometriosis, they will need to contact a doctor to receive a diagnosis and treatment.
People with endometriosis may find it helpful to join a support group or connect with a network of people who are also going through endometriosis.
People may find the following organizations and resources helpful:
This section answers some frequently asked questions about endometriosis and tampon pain.
Does endometriosis cause pain when removing a tampon?
If endometriosis causes widespread inflammation, it may make it painful to insert or remove a tampon.
In some cases, endometriosis may affect the tissue between the rectum and the vagina.
Bleeding, inflammation, and scar tissue from endometriosis may cause the surrounding areas to feel painful, particularly around and during a period. This may make sexual intercourse and tampon use painful.
Do tampons aggravate endometriosis?
There is little research on tampon use and endometriosis. There appears to be no evidence to suggest that tampons aggravate endometriosis.
Can wearing tampons cause endometriosis?
Wearing tampons does cause endometriosis.
Endometriosis can cause tampon pain. It may feel like a pain or discomfort deep within the abdomen when a person wears a tampon, or it may present as abdominal cramps.
Additionally, the fear of pain occurring in those who regularly feel endometriosis-related pain may cause the vaginal muscles to tense. This can cause sharp pain at the entrance of the vagina when inserting or removing a tampon.
Endometriosis may similarly cause pain during sex, or dyspareunia.
Treating endometriosis with pain-relief medications, hormonal medications, and surgery may help to relieve dyspareunia or tampon pain.
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Endometriosis. (n.d.). https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/endometriosis
Endometriosis symptoms: Painful sex (dyspareunia). (n.d.). https://www.endofound.org/painful-sex-dyspareunia
Maddern, J., et al. (2020). Pain in endometriosis.
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Riazi, H., et al. (2015). Clinical diagnosis of pelvic endometriosis: a scoping review.
Symptoms and causes. (2019). https://www.jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/endometriosis/symptoms-causes