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Positive Study Results For CBD-Infused Tampons

Most women experience some amount of period pain
Written by Sarah Friedman

Dysmenorrhea – or extremely painful periods – affect many women worldwide. A new study assess whether CBD-infused tampons can help

For all the ladies out there; a recent study on the efficacy of CBD-infused tampons, may bring some hope to the cramp-filled among us.

Recent study on CBD-infused tampons

The study in question, called Efficacy and usability of a cannabidiol-infused tampon for the relief of primary dysmenorrhea, was recently published in the Journal of Endometriosis and Uterine Disorders. The objective was to investigate if CBD-infused cannabis tampons are effective and usable for women suffering from dysmenorrhea. In short, dysmenorrhea describes frequent and painful cramping during a woman’s period, but I’ll get more into the specifics of this problem later.

Investigators developed a CBD-infused tampon for the study, complete with lubrication for easier administration. They conducted a random, single-blind, placebo-controlled, non-interventional study. This means that the participants were randomly put in groups; that they didn’t know what group they were in (placebo or experimental), but the investigators did; that some women were given a CBD-infused tampon, while others were given an inactive tampon; and that it involved self-report.

In total, 114 women were screened, and 63 women were eligible and continued on to participate in the study. None were pregnant, or with a sexually transmitted infection. All met inclusion criteria through medical records and gynecological exam. All were between the ages of 18-45. And all enrolled through the Institute for Medical Research in Sofia, Bulgaria. All participants gave informed consent to be in the study.

Study on CBD-infused tampons
Study on CBD-infused tampons

Study data was collected via self-reports by the women concerning their experiences with the tampons. Pain was recorded using a modified Mankoski scale; a numerical scale from 1-10 that assess pain levels (1 is low, 10 is high). The study followed the women through three menstruation cycles, and they gave their pain rating three times per day when using the tampons.

The ratings were related to 10 questions which covered a few points. The women self-reported on the following topics: vaginal dryness, irritation from using the tampon, how comfortable the tampon was, general satisfaction level with the product, and overall well-being of the woman.

What did the study find?

Results of the study indicate a statistically significant reduction in pain following use of the CBD-infused tampons, for the first and third months. Specifically it showed a reduction in pain the second day of the first month, and the first and second days of the third month. The results also show that a “consistent exponential escalation in pain relief was observed over the duration of each menstrual cycle, reaching its peak of 100% on the seventh day.”

The study found a couple other interesting points. For one thing, less than 5% of the women experienced any sort of irritation from using CBD-infused tampons; with more than 80% saying it was a satisfactory experience. On the contrary to a bad experience, between 37-40% of the women who participated said that they experienced less vaginal dryness with use of the medicated tampons. Not only that, between 37-70% said they experienced an improvement in their mood and general feelings of well-being.

In terms of negative responses, only three participants reported something of this nature. Two were in the CBD group. One participant experienced vertigo on the first day in each cycle after use of the CBD-infused tampons. Another said she had vertigo during just the first cycle. In both cases, there was no need for medical intervention, and symptoms subsided after the tampon was removed. A third participant in the placebo group reported pain after the first day of the third cycle, but this was unrelated to CBD use, as it was a placebo participant.

Can CBD-infused tampons reduce menstrual pain
Can CBD-infused tampons reduce menstrual pain

Study authors concluded: “In conclusion, these findings highlight the potential of the CBD-infused tampon as a viable intervention for primary dysmenorrhea, strengthening the case for continued exploration of the interrelationship between cannabinoids and menstrual pain.”

A little on dysmenorrhea

According to study authors, approximately 50%-95% of adolescent women experience dysmenorrhea worldwide. The College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists says: “Pain associated with menstruation is called dysmenorrhea. More than half of women who menstruate have some pain for 1 to 2 days each month. Usually, the pain is mild. But for some women, the pain is so severe that it keeps them from doing their normal activities for several days a month.”

The site explains that this goes beyond regular pain, and can include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, headache, and dizziness. It also describes two different kinds of dysmenorrhea – primary and secondary. The current study undertook an investigation solely of primary dysmenorrhea. This type is described as:

“The cramping pain that comes before or during a period. This pain is caused by natural chemicals called prostaglandins that are made in the lining of the uterus. Prostaglandins cause the muscles and blood vessels of the uterus to contract. On the first day of a period, the level of prostaglandins is high. As bleeding continues and the lining of the uterus is shed, the level goes down. This is why pain tends to lessen after the first few days of a period.”

Secondary dysmenorrhea is described as something “caused by a disorder in the reproductive organs. The pain tends to get worse over time and it often lasts longer than normal menstrual cramps. For example, the pain may begin a few days before a period starts. The pain may get worse as the period continues and may not go away after it ends.”

Some of the reasons behind secondary dysmenorrhea include: endometriosis – when uterus lining grows outside the uterus; fibroids – which are tumors that grow outside, inside, or on the walls of the uterus; adenomyosis – which involves tissue meant to line the uterus, growing in the muscle wall of the uterus instead; problems with reproductive organs – often from a defect at birth; or other medical issues that can become exacerbated during a period, like urinary tract infections or Crohn’s disease.

Very painful periods are referred to as dysmenorrhea
Very painful periods are referred to as dysmenorrhea

Right now, there is no great answer for period pain. NSAID pain relievers are generally the go-to, but I can attest to the fact that they often don’t stand up well against this pain and discomfort. There are also plenty of natural options; but once again, the truth is that most will not do more than take the edge off, for women really in this struggle.

Can dysmenorrhea affect work?

It’s a standard joke of society that women shouldn’t be able to have control of certain things during their periods because they’re too all-over the place emotionally. Though this isn’t true of all women, it does hold some truths for others. Not in the sense that we become totally crazy monsters, who can’t handle responsibility; but in that some of us have extreme experiences that truly make it difficult to perform daily functions. This perhaps plays into the overall issue of workplace depression and lost productivity.

In a study from 2019 entitled Productivity loss due to menstruation-related symptoms: a nationwide cross-sectional survey among 32,748 women, investigators found that out of 32,748 respondents, 13.8% said they had been absent from work at least sometimes during menstruation. 3.4% said this absenteeism is a monthly occurrence. Researchers on the study calculated a 1.3 day per year rate of absenteeism for menstruation reasons.

Beyond simply not showing up, 80.7% reported decreased productivity levels on an average of 23.2 days per year, due to menstruation. Researchers calculated this as an average productivity loss of 33%, or 8.9 days per year of lost productivity. The study noted that only 20.1% explained to an employer or school that they didn’t show up due to menstruation issues; and 67.7% expressed a desire for more flexibility in scheduling to accommodate menstruation issues, for both work and school.

Another study from 2022 backs up this general information. Called Menstrual cycle-associated symptoms and workplace productivity in US employees: A cross-sectional survey of users of the Flo mobile phone app, this study comes from a survey specifically through the Flo app, a menstruation tracking app. Altogether, 1,867 participants using the app took part.

According to the survey results, most did report moderate to severe impaction of menstruation on productivity in the workplace. Of the respondents, 45.2% reported being absent during menstruation, at a rate of 5.8 days on average within the last 12 months. The survey also collected some other important data; like that 48.8% said they got no support from a manager, 94.6% said they got no extra benefit for dealing with these issues, and 75.6% said they thought such benefits would be useful and want them.

Menstruation issues cause lost productivity at work
Menstruation issues cause lost productivity at work

Conclusion

I expect we will see a lot of CBD-infused tampons in the future as more research is done into the benefits to dysmenorrhea. Right now, for those who want to try this out, there is a brand already putting them out. Daye provides tampons coated with 100mg of 30% CBD, medical grade. This is a British company, however, so contact them for shipping information abroad, as its not immediately available on the site. You can read a review of the product in Cosmopolitan, here.

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About the author

Sarah Friedman

I look stuff up and and write stuff down, in order to make sense of the world around. And I travel a lot too.