Noninfectious factors associated with cervical inflammation on Pap smear results
The purpose of this study was to establish if there is a relationship between degree of tampon use and cervical inflammation of women with no history of sexually transmitted disease, previous abnormal Pap smears, and no current abnormal vaginal symptoms. This non-experimental retrospective study was conducted using medical record review with complete confidentiality of the sample maintained at all times. The study population consisted of women who accessed a family practice clinic in the Dallas/Fort Worth area for a physical examination including a Pap smear between March 1 , 1999 and February 29, 2000. Forty-four women met the study sample criteria of history of normal Pap smears , no history of sexually transmitted disease, having monthly menstrual cycles, and between 18 and 40 years of age . The methodology consisted of reviewing medical records to collect descriptive statistics on the sample which included: (a) tobacco use, (b) last menstrual period, (c) last occurrence of intercourse, (d) last occurrence of douching, and (e) type of birth control. Self-reported data on tampon use was also obtained from the medical records and the researcher computed the percentage of tampon use per menstrual cycle. The variables of tampon use were recorded as never use, tampon use 1% to 25% of time per menstrual cycle, tampon use 26% to 50% of time per menstrual cycle, and tampon use 51% to 100% of time per menstrual cycle. Degree of inflammation reported on the Pap smear laboratory sheet was recorded as none, mild, moderate, or marked. Using Chi-square for data analysis, a statistically significant relationship was found between tampon use and cervical inflammation based on Pap smear results. A statistically significant relationship was also found between degree of tampon use and degree of inflammation based on Pap smear results. Study findings suggests that health care providers and patient educators should assume a more active role in explaining the appropriate use, benefits, and potential risk of tampon use .