Female plumbing filter: routing issues?
August 15, 2007 7:30 AM   Subscribe

Shouldn't the uterus empty from above, not the side?

From my understanding of female anatomy, a tampon should fill from the top down. I've noticed during my last couple cycles that they in fact fill from about halfway down, leaving the top half (the half opposite the string) clean. After running a couple "self diagnostics", it seems that the blood comes from a spot about halfway up, on one side. Not from the top, which is where I would expect anything coming from the uterus to come from. What's going on here? Is this normal?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (7 answers total)
Here is the vagina. It's possible that for whatever reason you're either pushing your tampon up past the neck of the cervix or that your cervix is tipped in such a way that it's pointing away from where your tampon winds up. So, in short, most of the time this sort of thing is normal.

When you say self-diagnostics, do you mean that you're actually putting your fingers up there? If so, you should be able to feel your cervix with no trouble at all and it will be easy to figure out if the blood is coming from where it's supposed to be coming from [i.e. your cervix and not someplace else]. There are other things that affect what ends up where in the vagina such as pregnancy, or possibly being constipated and/or just needing to take a dump (rectum and vagina are close and share an elastic wall between them). As always your doctor is the final arbiter of things like this and shoudl be consulted if you think something that used to be working "normally" is now working strangely.
posted by jessamyn at 7:36 AM on August 15, 2007

Your cervix moves around during your cycle, and the cervix is the gateway to the uterus. Maybe your cervix is off center during your flow. Very normal.
posted by macadamiaranch at 7:37 AM on August 15, 2007

Your interiors aren't perfectly straight up and down, and there's excess space in the vaginal vault. Side view diagram.

You can insert a tampon deep enough that the head of it is above the cervical opening, which would give you that side-fill down effect. This could be more pronounced if you have a tipped uterus.

It sounds pretty normal to me, but it never hurts to ask your OB/GYN.
posted by headspace at 7:38 AM on August 15, 2007

i always thought it was due to gravity. the blood wants to flow down and out, so it pools up at the end. i guess for whatever reason, tampons don't completely fill up your space like they should, so to speak, which allows it to go around the top half...that's just my theory though.
posted by tastycracker at 7:40 AM on August 15, 2007

You're probably inserting the tampon past the cervical opening and into the posterior fornix of the vagina. Absolutely nothing to worry about.
posted by jesourie at 8:30 AM on August 15, 2007

In my experience this happens more when the blood is thicker/full of clots. It's nothing to worry about and happens to all of us.
posted by frecklefaerie at 8:54 AM on August 15, 2007

Sometimes when my tampons aren't "full" I notice that they fill from the side too. I'd never done the math on it myself because I just never cared, but the gyn has noted that my junk is "tipped funny." He said it's no big deal, but I can see how it would make things flow differently from the anatomy charts. I'm not built like the anatomy charts, and it sounds like maybe you're not either.

Probably a good idea to have yourself checked out for all the yearly stuff and mention the question. They've certainly heard far, far weirder stuff.
posted by bilabial at 6:33 PM on August 16, 2007

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