The risk factors for sexually transmitted diseases in women who use, and do not use tampons, attending a gynaecology clinic

C. K. Fairley, P. M. Robinson, S. M. Garland

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This cross sectional study compares the risk factors for sexually transmitted diseases between women who use and do not use tampons attending a gynaecology clinic. The sample consists of English speaking women between 18-35 years of age attending a gynaecology clinic at The Royal Women's Hospital, Melbourne. Two hundred and ninety eight women who used tampons and 68 who did not are included in the sample. The mean age of the two groups was similar (27.0 vs 26.3, p = 0.31), while tampon-users had a younger age at first intercourse (16.8 vs 18.5, p = 0.00003), a greater number of sexual partners, both during their life time (6.1 vs 2.1, p < 0.001) and in the last year before enrollment (0.6 vs 0.2, p = 0.003). Tampon-users were also significantly more likely to have ever had a Papanicolaou smear or used the oral contraceptive pill and were more likely to be current users of the oral contraceptive pill. In this study women who used tampons were at greater risk of sexually transmitted diseases than those who did not. The use of tampons for investigating sexually transmitted diseases may select women who are not representative of the entire population. We suggest that investigators using the tampon collection method obtain information from non-tampon-users to allow for possible correction of their results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172-173
Number of pages2
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1994

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