Association between tampon use and choosing the contraceptive vaginal ring

Obstet Gynecol. 2010 Apr;115(4):735-739. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0b013e3181d41c4a.


Objective: To estimate whether tampon users are more likely to select the contraceptive vaginal ring than combined oral contraceptive pills (OCPs).

Methods: The Contraceptive Choice Project is a longitudinal study of 10,000 St. Louis area women promoting the use of long-acting, reversible methods of contraception and evaluating user continuation and satisfaction for all reversible methods. We performed univariable and multivariable analyses of the 311 women who were asked about tampon use at the time of enrollment and who chose the contraceptive vaginal ring or OCPs to assess the association of tampon use and choice of combined hormonal method.

Results: Among contraceptive vaginal ring and OCP users, 247 (79%) reported using tampons. Contraceptive vaginal ring users were not significantly different from OCP users in terms of age, race or ethnicity, marital status, insurance, body mass index, or parity. Adjusted analysis indicated that tampon users were more likely to choose the contraceptive vaginal ring instead of OCPs (adjusted relative risk 1.34, 95% confidence interval 1.01-1.78). Women with previous contraceptive vaginal ring experience were also more likely to choose the contraceptive vaginal ring (adjusted relative risk 1.96, 95% confidence interval 1.6-2.4). Recent OCP use did not influence method choice.

Conclusion: In our baseline analysis of the Contraceptive Choice Project, tampon users were more likely to choose the contraceptive vaginal ring than OCPs. Use of tampons could be considered an indicator for the initial acceptability of the contraceptive vaginal ring, but all women should be offered the contraceptive vaginal ring regardless of experience with tampon use.

Level of evidence: II.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Contraceptive Devices, Female*
  • Contraceptives, Oral, Hormonal
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Menstrual Hygiene Products*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Young Adult


  • Contraceptives, Oral, Hormonal