Having a stuck tampon can be an embarrassing problem. It may be possible to remove the tampon yourself, but a trip to your health care provider may be necessary. Medical professionals have seen this issue many times before.
There are several ways a stuck tampon can happen. You may forget you have a tampon in and then place another one. Having intercourse without first removing your tampon may cause it to become stuck. Tampons may also shift during exercise or everyday activities, obscuring the string.
The tampon may be in its correct location, but will not come out when the string is pulled. This is usually because it is too dry, and is the easiest situation to fix. If it has been fewer than eight hours since you inserted the tampon, wait until eight hours have passed and then see if it will come out. If it has been eight hours, try soaking in a warm bath to moisten the tampon.
It may be possible to remove a stuck tampon yourself. Sit on the toilet or a raised surface with your knees far apart, and insert one clean finger into your vagina. You will feel your cervix, a slightly firm structure with an indentation in the middle. Tampons often get stuck between the cervix and the vaginal wall. If you can feel the tampon, reach in with two fingers and try to trap the tampon between them to pull it out.
If you have a stuck tampon and you are unable to dislodge it yourself, you will need to make an appointment with your health care provider. He or she will be able to remove it with a simple in-office procedure. First, a speculum will be inserted, and the doctor will look for the tampon. One it is located, it will be removed with forceps, which are long tweezers. Tampons sometimes fall apart as they are being removed, and must be lifted out with an instrument with a curved end.
While it is embarrassing to have a stuck tampon, do not let your embarrassment keep you from seeking medical attention if it is needed. Having a tampon in for too long can lead to infection. If you experience foul-smelling discharge, abdominal pain, or fever, contact your health provider right away. The most common infection in this situation is bacterial vaginosis, but a serious infection called toxic shock syndrome may develop. Once the tampon is removed, use pads for the remainder of your period.