pregnancy

Why does my tampon keep falling out?

This week, we got asked a question that we didn’t even know we needed the answer to:

Here goes:

About a year ago I started to feel like my tampon was falling out. I know I am inserting it correctly, having decades of practice…

A google search shows that MANY WOMEN my age and post-partum have the same problem.

Is there an age where a woman’s lady parts can no longer hold in a tampon? Please help me!

Anabel

(not my real name)
Melbourne

(I had two vaginal births in my early 30s – if relevant)

Even for our resident Agony Aunt – aka Editor In Chief Kate De Brito – this was a tough one. So, we asked an expert.

Listen to what Dr Ginni Mansberg told us about whether women’s vaginas get “baggier” with age. (Post continues after audio):

As we all know, the vagina is basically made from witchcraft and black magic: it can repair itself from the trauma of pushing out a small child in record time. Case in point – your vagina will retract from 10 cm fully dilated to less than one centimetre following the birth of your baby…all in a matter of hours.

But the fallout from this will be looser pelvic floor muscles.

We all know that weakened pelvic floor muscles can lead to light bladder leakage, but will that mean a tampon is no longer an option? And is there any truth to the idea that tampons fall out after childbirth because things just aren’t the same?

Not really, says resident Mamamia doctor Dr Ginni.

“Firstly, we need to clarify that it is not safe to use a tampon in the period immediately following childbirth,” says Dr Ginni. “You would never use a tampon in the first 6 weeks when you bleed like crazy – ironically, you can only start using one after you don’t need to anymore.”

Tampons are not recommended for this process as you run a high risk of infection. Pads, as frustrating as they are, are your best option.

But once you are back on the tampon wagon (what a fun wagon), Dr Ginni is quick to point out that the actual chances of your tampon ‘falling out’ are pretty slim.

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“What I’m hearing is, it’s falling out, because my vagina is so big. So this feeds into a whole stereotype that women who have a baby now have a massive vagina…which we all know is not true,” says Dr Ginni.

"We have scientific evidence that women who have just had a baby actually have a smaller vagina than those who haven't."

So what's going on? Well, it could be as simple as not putting the tampon far enough in.

"In order to have your tampon stay in, the walls of the vagina will collapse around it. And so in order to do that, it [the tampon] needs to be pushed up far enough. If you don't push it in far enough, it will feel uncomfortable and like it's never gone in properly - because it hasn't."

Want to hear more from Dr Ginni? Listen to the full episode of Mamamia Out Loud on iTunes here, or below:

Dr Ginni says the other thing that can be happening is that, for many women, periods get heavier after they have children, and as they age. And if your flow is heavier, you are going to go through tampons faster.

Ginni says that if you're still struggling, there could be something more seriously wrong, and you should go to see your doctor.

But hey, isn't it good to hear that contrary to the Oracle Kim Kardashian's fears that sex after babies would feel like "throwing a hotdog down a hallway," post-baby vaginas are just as fabulous as any other.

Has your experience of periods changed as you have got older?