Question: I’m concerned about the new pH controlling tampon. What is the real story on these?
Larry’s Response: There’s been “discussion” about pH adjusted tampons for a few years now. The product is coated with a gel material that is supposed to maintain a vaginal pH in the 4.5 area.
There was actually a study (L. Melvin, et al) done in 2007 and published in 2008. It was done in the UK so it may not carry a lot of weight in this country. U.S. health providers are usually wary of scientific work done outside OUR borders. Regardless, the study was done well and reported in a peer reviewed journal. Here are a few of their findings;
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 with lubrication.
I think their conclusions are valid. Therefore, any suggestion that a pH-balanced tampon is superior is pure marketing hype, designed to enhance sales, not improve health. I also have to wonder about the advisability of inserting yet another chemical into the vaginal area.