Using tampons in the presence of a vaginal bacterial infection may be a contributing factor for pelvic inflammatory disease, or PID, notes HERS Foundation. Untreated sexually transmitted infections cause the majority of PID cases, according to WebMD.
Pelvic inflammatory disease is a serious medical condition in which the internal female reproductive organs become infected with bacteria. This usually happens when an infection or another factor weakens the cervix, interfering with its ability to block the transfer of bacteria from the vagina into the uterus and other organs, according to WebMD. Untreated cases of gonorrhea and chlamydia are the most common causes of PID.
A person may be at a higher risk for developing PID at times when the cervix is more open and therefore more penetrable, such as during menstruation and ovulation. Medical procedures, such as abortion and intrauterine device insertion, also involve pushing objects through the cervix, and therefore pose a small risk of PID, notes The STD Project.
The vagina is normally home to a variety of harmless bacteria. Changes in body chemistry caused by illness, aging, sexual activity or stress hormones may change the balance of vaginal flora, creating an environment that is more conducive to infection, notes HERS Foundation. Using tampons or douching when the vaginal flora is imbalanced is a risk factor for developing PID.