What? A lost tampon. Hey, it happens. It is one of those topics that a woman might be embarrassed to call her doctor about, even if she knows she might need help. You would think that if a tampon was lost during your period you would automatically know about it, but this isn’t always the case. Occasionally a woman will insert a tampon and either forget it is there or insert a second one without removing the first. Sometimes a woman will feel like something is not right and start to second guess herself on whether she actually removed a tampon or if it is still located higher up in her vagina. If you are one of those women, here are some symptoms you might notice if you have a lost tampon.
Lost Tampon Symptoms
- vaginal discharge
- foul odor
- abdominal discomfort
- pelvic pressure or pain
- vaginal itching
- uncomfortable or painful sex
Tampons and Toxic Shock Syndrome
Hopefully, you will notice that a tampon has gotten lost before you experience many of these symptoms. It is worth double checking early. If a tampon is not removed, it can lead to a problem known as toxic shock syndrome, which is a rare but dangerous bacterial infection. If you suspect that you may have toxic shock syndrome it is important to seek medical care immediately. Symptoms of TSS include dizziness, high fever, headache, muscle ache, and a sunburn-like rash.
How to Know if You Have a Lost Tampon
If you are not sure if you have left a tampon inside of you, you can do your own investigating to see if anything is inside of your vagina. Before you start, wash your hands. You may want to take a shower first to help you relax or to make sure you aren’t too grossed out by your investigation. Then squat or place one leg on the edge of your bathtub or toilet. Reach up inside your vagina as far as you can. Feel around and see if you feel anything. If you feel all the way up to your cervix and don’t run into a tampon, then odds are good that there is indeed nothing up there. Make sure to feel around the internal folds and do a thorough search before you decide all is well. If you are still nervous that you just didn’t find it, call your doctor. Don’t worry: you will not be the first woman to call about this. Your doctor can check for you to ease your mind and make sure that there is, in fact, nothing inside you.
How to Remove a Lost Tampon
If you are sure that you have a lost tampon and can’t easily find the removal string, there are some things you can do to make finding and removing easier. First, before you get started wash your hands. Then squat and bear down. Pretend you are giving birth or having a bowel movement. The tampon may be in a location high inside of you, close to your cervix. Bearing down will help ease it into a more easy-to-reach position. Then, try to find it with one finger. Once you have located it, use your finger and thumb to grab onto it and pull it out. You may also want to bear down while you pull it out. Make sure when you remove it that everything was removed. If it has started to disintegrate and you aren’t sure if you got all the pieces out, call your doctor. Tampon remnants left behind can lead to a serious infection and must be removed.
If You Can’t Remove it by Yourself
There are a couple options. If you have a partner that isn’t easily grossed out, he may be able to help you get it out. It is sometimes easier for another person to remove a tampon than it is to do yourself. This is not for the faint of heart though so if this option doesn’t sound reasonable, skip it and go directly to your doctor’s office. Try not to be embarrassed. Lost tampons happen more often than you think and your doctor should be able to remove it for you. Don’t wait to be seen. If your doctor can’t see you right away, go to a walk-in clinic or urgent care clinic. If there are no other immediate options, go to the emergency room. Yes, this is something that is urgent and needs to be dealt with quickly. Waiting around can lead to a serious infection so if you can’t get it out yourself, seek immediate help for removing a lost tampon.