What's the deal with tampons sliding out vaginas once you become a mom?
After having children, things don't stay where they're supposed to anymore. It's as if gravity pulls harder on postpartum moms. Boobs begin to slowly move closer to my belly button, the bags under my eyes sink deeper into my socket and tampons begin to work their way out before I'm ready to swap it for a new one. Sorry, not sorry for the TMI. Actually, I don't follow the rules of TMI and gladly share all the goodies with you. Stop reading now if you don't want to read about vaginas.
Seriously, I warned you.
If you became a mom by caring a baby in your belly and birthing them (regardless of c-section or vaginally), you have changes to your body. The mere state of being pregnant places increased demands on your pelvic floor and vaginal area. The muscles down there have to support the added weight of your growing baby. Luckily it takes 9 months for your baby to grow which gives your body time to slowly adapt to the demands, but it's not easy. And often our systems can't meet the new demands and we start to notice things like leaking pee, pelvic pressure, back pain, groin pain, hip pains.
Then postpartum its a whole new world...sing it Jasmine!
Again, whether a vaginal or c-section delivery, your body is different, no ifs, ands or butts (I mean buts). When you get your period back and if you use an internal device such as tampons or menstrual cups, you may notice they don't stay in place.
This may be from any or all of these things:
POP (pelvic organ prolapse)
weakened or stretched fascia and ligaments
poor pressure management
Good news, this can be addressed with pelvic floor PT. But incase this is affecting your life right now and you can't get to a pelvic PT this moment I'll share some of my favorite options.
1. Make sure you push the tampon in correctly.
Navigating the vaginal canal with a tampon is like scuba diving for a rare pearl while blindfolded. It takes trial and error to figure out your new mom body (in this case, vagina). No two pelvis are the same, so try shifting the angle you insert the tampon slightly to see what is the most comfortable for you. A little to the right, no a little to the left, up a smidge, ok, that's perfect. Don't give up on the tampons until you've given different angles a try.
2. Pick the correct size.
You're not supposed to go up in size such as from regular to super unless your flow is heavy enough and needs it. But if a regular or slim size is falling out, consider going up in size if you also think your flow is heavy enough to fill up the larger size in 8 hrs. Postpartum the vaginal canal has more space and a slim size might not cut it early on.
3. If you're not in pain down there, add kegels into your regimine.
Instead of going into detail here about how to kegel correctly, skim through this blog (scroll down to step 2 because I give you juicy details and tips to learn how to kegel).
4. Learn to manage your pressure.
Such as not straining to poop or when lifting heavy things. A simple trick is talk out loud, sing or exhale as you poop or lift to take some pressure off the pelvic floor. It's a whole other blog to dive deeper into the strategy for lifting and pooping. Go here for more pooping tips.
5. Try another device.
If tampons aren't staying in, try something that opens up wider, like a disc or a menstrual cup.
The disc is ring shaped device that sits behind your pubic bone and are more likely to stay in place regardless of POP or weak pelvic floor muscles. A few choices are Flex and Softdisc. They have a flexible ring with a period catching bag. You can have sex while wearing discs and wear them up to 12 hrs 2 pretty sweet benefits.
Menstrual cups are flexible cups that sit in the vaginal canal and catch your menstrual flow. They don't open up as wide as discs, but they have a suction force that keeps them in place. The suction must be broken upon removal or it can tug on your cervix, which isn't ideal postpartum (or at any time). I personally loved these before having children, but postpartum, even after breaking the suction, there was still a tugging sensation on my cervix and my prolapse wasn't happy with that. I'm not saying this happens to everyone, but it was my personal experience. There's a huge variety of shapes, sizes, and thicknesses of the cups, so it may take trial and error to find which is best suited for your vagina. I only tried one, so its possible that another brand would serve me better and fully release the suction keeping my cervix smiling.
Another option that I love are period panties. The panties are available from light to heavy flows. I personally wear them during my light flow when tampons aren't filling up enough in 8 hrs. Thinx and Knix are the two companies I know of at this moment, but I'm sure more are popping up. Clean up is easy at home, but if out all day, they may not be the best option if your flow picks up.
Let's not forget about pads. These classics won't slide out and are available in disposable or washable cotton styles. If you're not wearing a bathing suit, there ain't no shame in the good ole pad. So many options my fellow period friends.
Don't let the postpartum period get you down, try these tips. Think of it as a fun experiment. When you find what works, throw yourself a period pampering party because mama, you deserve it.