Ways to improve vaginal flora


Hello, I am currently a junior nursing student at the University At Buffalo and I have recently done a clinical rotation at Planned Parenthood in women's health services. While I was there I experienced many things as to women's health and the preventions. One thing that caught my attention was when a nurse practictioner came in and was discussing vaginal flora. The lactobacillus that resides in the region can overgrow causing infections such as urinary tract infections. The interesting fact was that the usage of tampons can reduce the rates of infection because they strip the flora off of the vaginal walls when they are removed. This is an important factor because lactobacillus inhibits the pathogen adherance (Reid, Tieszer, & Lam, 1995). On the other hand the lactobacillus that result from Toxic Shock Syndrome also inhibit infections such as staph (Saunders, Saunders, and Fagnant, 1982). I was just confused as to the fact that if lactobacillus is inhibiting the infections in the vaginal region then are they still effective immediately after tampon usage? What would be the time frame at which the lactobacillus is ineffective or is not all of the lactobacillus extracted when removing the tampon. Any help or advice on this would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.


Jessica West

School of Nursing 2006

University at Buffalo

Reid G. Tieszer C. Lam D. (1995) Influence of lactobacilli on the adhesion of Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans to fibers and epithelial cells. Journal of Industrial Microbiology. 15(3):248-53.

Sanders CC. Sanders WE Jr. Fagnant JE. (1982). Toxic shock syndrome: an ecologic imbalance within the genital microflora of women? American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology. 142(8):977-82.


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I currently work in the women's health field as a nurse and have found through my experience that tampon users generally have less urinary tract infections. There are an increased number of urinary tract infections in younger women, however I don't feel it is because of tampon usage. I believe it could be contributed to the popular styles of clothing for younger women, which tend to be much tighter. Also poor eating habits and unsafe sex practices could also contribute. When tampons are removed, they don't remove all of the lacto bacillus. There is still enough to work as a protective agent. I hope this helps you. Good luck with your nursing education.

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