A trick best forgotten to alleviate diarrhea

So, I am going to be honest with everyone, I received this question, and I have tried writing about it numerous times, and I know that it was asked in no uncertain terms as a serious question, it just seems like nothing anyone would try…..until I got out into researching it, and this is, apparently, used as a home treatment for diarrhea.  I was queried whether you could use a tampon to help stop uncontrollable liquid poop? I had no idea that this was something people did/do, and it does bring up some interesting thoughts, and I get where people are going with it, but SHOULD we be doing it is a whole other ball of wax. So, let’s dig deep, as it were, and really get to the crux if this issue.


What is the anatomy of the Anus?                        

The anus is a pretty tricky area of the body, no matter how you want to look at it.  Basically,  it is a 2.5 to 4cm long canal that has inner involuntary sphincters and outer voluntary sphincters that help to keep the canal closed. The voluntary sphincters open when you allow them to because you need to poop.  The canal itself is made of muscle and has different blood sources, such as the inferior rectal artery and the pudendal artery, so there is a lot of blood flow, and a lot of nerves ending in that musculature. With a lot of nerve endings and blood vessels present in the area, there is a risk for ulcerations due to pressure and lack of blood flow, when there is something causing continuous pressure in the area.  And, those sphincters should be closed at all times, unless actually needed.  

How would tampon use work?

The idea, as posed to me, was related to uncontrollable explosive diarrhea. So, if you had diarrhea to the point that you cannot control it, would a tampon help to prevent the anal leakage and act somewhat as a cork? As I was looking for true research based on this, I couldn’t really find anything related to this topic, but was completely overwhelmed by the number of people who use tampons for diarrhea and suggest use for other people.  They seem to think that it works and helps their issues, of course there is also a whole other genre of people who just put the tampons in their anus simply to feel something in their anus all day.  SO, back to people with pooping issues: Here’s the deal, tampons are created for women who are menstruating, hence there is a continuous flow (as it were) of fluids from the uterus/cervix onto the tampon, so it is easy to insert and remove.  One of the issues that can occur with tampons up the anus, is that your diarrhea may subside and the cotton from the tampon can stick to the inner walls of your anal canal.  It can also travel up continuously; vaginas have an endpoint, anal canals, not so much.  And, I also want people to remember that you are still at risk for Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS): a bacteria infection (usually from Staphylococcus) that causes generalized shock syndromes and has a fast onset.  TSS was common with women with tampon usage but those rates have gone down, but anyone with any form of packing with a foreign body (i.e. a tampons) are at risk.  

The Bottom Line: 

I don’t suggest you use a tampon in your anus.  You can cause internal pressure ulcers, from pressure causing blood pooling or low blood flow, you can get TSS, and you may either lose the tampon in the anal canal OR just leave parts of the tampon stuck to the walls of your anal canal. All of these issues are not good.  The biggest downside?  You are pushing a sphincter continuously open that should be closed; you can cause weakness in that sphincter and henceforth problems with said sphincter in the future.  If you have such issues with diarrhea, you should see your HCP (Healthcare Practitioner) and find out what the problem is, and cure the diarrhea, rather than a quick fix by sticking a tampon up your butt.  Call me crazy, but I think that you should deal with your embarrassing issue with your HCP before it gets crazy embarrassing and you need to have invasive procedures to get a dislodged tampon out of your anal canal.  Agreed?  Be safe, be healthy, and leave tampons to the ladies during their menstruation time….


Yours in Good Health


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