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Q: What can you tell me about RepHresh Brilliant pH tampons?
A: RepHresh Brilliant pH tampons are different from traditional tampons because they contain two ingredients (L-lactide and citric acid) that help to reduce the usual increase in vaginal pH that occurs during a woman’s menstrual period.
In chemistry, the acidity or alkalinity of a substance is expressed in pH values with a pH value of 7 being neutral, a pH value less than 7 being acidic, and a pH value greater than 7 being basic or alkaline.
For example, stomach acid has a pH of about 1 to 5 while lye (sodium hydroxide) may have a pH of 11 to 14. In the vagina, a normal pH of about 4.5 (acidic) is important for maintaining good vaginal health. In women, anything that reduces the acidity (increases the pH) of the vagina can increase the likelihood of vaginal infections, bacterial vaginosis or other problems.
The acidity of the vagina may be reduced by hormonal changes shortly before and during menstrual periods or during pregnancy. Frequent douching, use of spermicides, and semen can also reduce vaginal acidity. In addition, aging and sexual activity can affect vaginal pH.
In a normal vagina, the acidity of vaginal secretions is maintained by lactic acid, which is produced by bacteria called lactobacilli. When one or more types of vaginal bacteria overgrow and displace the number of protective lactobacilli, the pH of the vagina increases and problem infections or bacterial vaginosis can occur.
During a woman’s period, the high pH of blood (7.4) causes vaginal pH to increase beyond the normal range, and tampons retain the fluids that cause pH to increase.
When tampons were first invented in 1929, they were designed for leak protection, comfort and convenience. The RepHresh Brilliant pH tampons may also help to reduce the risk of vaginosis and perhaps other types of vaginitis.
Tampon use basics:
+ Use tampons only during menstruation.
+ Change your tampon at least every four to eight hours.
+ You can wear a tampon overnight for up to eight hours. Before going to bed, insert a new tampon and replace it immediately upon waking.
+ Always remove your used tampon before inserting a new one.
+ Be sure to remove the last tampon you use at the end of your period.
Richard P. Hoffmann, Pharm.D., has been a pharmacist for more than 40 years. Send questions to him at 2960 E. Coventry Court, Hernando, FL 34442.