Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
Infectious Diseases in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Volume 10, Issue 3, Pages 141-151

Site-Specific Prevalence and Cell Densities of Selected Microbes in the Lower Reproductive Tract of Menstruating Tampon Users

The Procter & Gamble Company, 6110 Center Hill Road, Cincinnati 45224, OH, USA

Received 24 December 2001; Accepted 29 April 2002

Copyright © 2002 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective: To assess differences in prevalence and cell densities of enterococci, Gram negative enterics (GNEs), yeast and Staphylococcus aureus among four genital sites and to examine whether the presence of organisms at one site affected the presence of organisms at other sites.

Methods: Swab samples from the perineum, below and above the hymen, and the posterior fornix obtained from 52 tampon users on menstrual cycle day 3 were analyzed for site-specific prevalence and cell densities of microorganisms.

Results: Enterococci and GNEs were the most prevalent study organisms at all sites and decreased in prevalence fromthe perineumto the posterior fornix.Cell densities similarly decreased frombelow the hymen to the posterior fornix. Yeast were detected at the hymen only; S. aureus frequency was similarly low at all sites. Yeast and S. aureus site-specific cell densities were similar. The above- and below-hymen sites were similar in prevalence and cell density of organisms. An above-chance association existed between the presence of any study organism below the hymen and above the hymen and was strongest for GNEs.

Conclusions: The pattern of genital colonization with enterococci and GNEs reflects their likely gastrointestinal source. The absence of significant differences in the prevalence and cell densities of study microflora above and below the hymen combined with an above-chance association of the presence of microorganisms at these regions suggests that the regions above and below the hymen are not different with respect to the presence of the organisms evaluated in this study.