Bladder Support Option

Can Tampons and Menstrual Cups Stop Stress Incontinence or Bladder Leaks?

Why tampons may stop your bladder leakage, but why we don’t recommend it and why the Uresta pessary is a better alternative.

Have you ever noticed that your bladder leakage is reduced when you’re using a tampon? Some women we’ve worked with have mentioned they’ve seen less incontinence while running or working out when using a tampon. In these scenarios, your tampon is acting like a pessary.

Bladder leaks (aka stress urinary incontinence or SUI) happen when the muscles that support your urethra lose strength or become damaged. As a result, these muscles can give out during moments of extra pressure like sneezing, coughing, and jumping, resulting in bladder leaks.⁠

The use of tampons might stop incontinence due to their shape as they apply subtle pressure to the urethra through your vaginal wall – similar to how the Uresta pessary works (see below for how it works). If you want to learn more about what a pessary is, read our blog here.

However, there are a variety of reasons why we don’t recommend the long-term use of tampons or menstrual cups to stop bladder leakage.

Why not just use a tampon for bladder leakage?

1. Tampons are not made for bladder leakage.

For most women, the pressure (or support) applied by a tampon might make a slight difference to their incontinence, but it will not be significant enough to reduce or stop their bladder leaks meaningfully. Also, only a few women will see improvement in their incontinence when a tampon is in use. Unlike tampons, the Uresta pessary is specifically designed to apply the right amount of pressure to support your pelvic organs to stop bladder leakage.

To learn more, visit our FAQ section – why can’t I just use a tampon?

2. Tampons can cause pain with the removal and drying of vaginal tissues.

Tampons are designed for use during your menstrual cycle. That means tampon use outside your menstrual cycle can cause vaginal dryness and pain when extracting. Have you ever removed a dry tampon towards the end of your cycle – not fun!

Watch Kim Vopni, The Vagina Coach, YouTube video on Using a Tampon for Incontinence.

3. Risk of toxic shock syndrome + other chemicals in tampons.

Improper use of tampons poses the risk of toxic shock syndrome, particularly when used for extended periods. Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) is a rare but potentially life-threatening bacterial infection caused by the overgrowth of certain bacteria, such as staphylococcus aureus. Symptoms include a high fever, vomiting, diarrhea, low blood pressure, and a rash that looks like a sunburn. If left untreated, TSS can be fatal.

Also, some common chemicals that wind up in menstrual products include chlorine bleaching, pesticides, rayon, fragrances, dyes, etc. There are 100% cotton tampons on the market free of these potentially harmful chemicals with long-term use, however, we still don’t recommend using tampons or menstrual cups outside your menstrual cycle for the above reasons.

To learn more, check out the Well + Good article 5 Things You Need to Know About Common Tampon Ingredients

4. Tampons are wasteful in the long run.

Tampons can be wasteful with long-term use due to their disposable nature. Tampons and pads are often made from single-use materials such as cotton, plastic, and silicone. When discarded, they contribute to the growing problem of plastic pollution in the environment. Since many of these materials are not biodegradable, they remain in the environment for a long time, contributing to the growing problem of landfills.

Why Uresta is a better alternative for incontinence.

1. The Uresta pessary is much more likely to reduce your leaks.

The Uresta pessary is specifically designed to provide direct support to your urethra to stop bladder leaks. In fact, in a recent independent clinical study 97% of women saw a reduction in their leaks when using Uresta. That means if a tampon doesn’t stop or reduce your leaks, that does not mean that Uresta won’t work for you. The Uresta pessary comes in 5 different sizes so you can find the perfect level of support.

When the Uresta pessary goes inside your vagina, it supports your urethra from underneath (see the graphic below) and bladder muscles to keep them braced so that pee doesn’t escape during moments of extra pressure. That way, pee stays in the bladder during everyday activities.⁠

2. The Uresta pessary is much more comfortable as it’s non-drying.

Uresta is made of medical-grade silicone, which is much easier to insert and remove than a tampon. This material is also non-absorbent and, therefore, will not result in any vaginal dryness. If you feel any discomfort, you can always use a water-based lubricant to help with the application process. The support from the Uresta pessary is not enough to prevent you from peeing normally, which means you don’t need to remove Uresta to pee.

3. The Uresta pessary is sustainable and affordable.

Uresta is also sustainable and more cost-effective in the long run since it can be washed and reused.

4. The Uresta pessary comes in a range of sizes – find the one that works best for you.

Uresta comes in 5 different sizes, and each size applies a different level of support and pressure to stop bladder leaks. To make finding your perfect fit easy, our starter kit (just $139) comes with the 3 sizes which work for over 80% of women. You can then experiment to find the one that works best for you, and if you need to try the other two sizes, we’ll send them to you for free.


Buy Uresta Now (Canada only)

Get on our US waitlist


In our most recent clinical study, 97% of women said they saw reduced bladder leaks when using the Uresta pessary! Not to mention, 94% of those women said they would recommend Uresta to a friend, and 91% felt more confident when using Uresta.

See the full blog post here

Curious if Uresta is right for you? Take our Free Assessment to find out!