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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1988 May;158(5):1040-3.

Diaphragm insertion increases human vaginal oxygen tension.

Author information

1
Panum Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Abstract

The normal insertion of a contraceptive diaphragm into the vagina of five young women induced a dramatic increase in the vaginal oxygen tension (131 +/- 13 mm Hg, mean +/- SD, n = 5), which slowly fell at an initial rate of 0.9 +/- 0.2 mm Hg/min. Withdrawal of the diaphragm immediately restored vaginal oxygen tension to the normal hypoxic state (11 +/- 12 mm Hg). The change in gaseous equilibrium created by the trapped air of the diaphragm could have significant actions on the microbial activity and balance of the vagina.

PIP:

Cases of toxic shock syndrome have been reported in women who had inserted a diaphragm for contraceptive purposes. As no mention could be found in the literature about the insertion of a diaphragm affecting the oxygen tension of the vagina, experiments were undertaken to investigate this question in healthy young women who used the diaphragm as their method of contraception in Denmark. The normal insertion of a contraceptive diaphragm into the vagina of 5 young women induced a dramatic increase in the vaginal oxygen tension (131 +or- 13 mm Hg, mean +or- SD, n=5), which slowly fell at a initial rate of 0.9 + or-0.2 mm Hg/min. Withdrawl of the diaphragm immediately restored vaginal oxygen tension to the normal hypoxic state (11 +or- 12 mm Hg). The change in the gaseous equilibrium created by the trapped air of the diaphragm could have significant actions on the microbial activity and balance of the vagina. It should be noted that the diaphragms were inserted into women who were not sexually aroused; thus the vaginal blood flow would be basal. Sexual arousal induces increased vaginal blood flow as shown by xenon washout, heat electrode, and photoplethysmographic techniques. As the increased blood flow raises the level of PO2 at the vaginal surface, the PO2 gradient for the absorption of the pocket of oxygen trapped in the vagina would tend to decrease. The actual increased volume flow of blood, however, would aid the resorption of the trapped gas. Further experiments are needed to ascertain the balance between these 2 effects and whether sexual arousal markedly affects the clearance of the trapped oxygen.

PMID:
3369481
DOI:
10.1016/0002-9378(88)90214-1
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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