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What Should I do About a Stuck Tampon?

By Bobbie Fredericks
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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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.

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Discussion Comments

By donasmrs — On Apr 04, 2013

@SarahGen-- It's kind of hard to just lose a tampon. If you're sure that you didn't remove it, it's probably still there. It must have moved farther up while you exercised. Please don't be ashamed, see your doctor. Lots of people go through this all the time.

By serenesurface — On Apr 04, 2013

I've lost my tampon! I know I put one in this morning and now it's noon and there is nothing there! Could it have fallen out without me realizing? I did go to the gym this morning after I put it in.

I've followed the directions in this article but I can't feel anything! I really don't want to go to the doctor for this. I feel really stupid. Is there anything else I can do to make sure it's still not inside?

By SarahGen — On Apr 03, 2013

This happened to me once. I wasn't having my period, I was only spotting and this is why I forgot that I had put in a tampon. I had intercourse with my husband and only remembered about the tampon afterward.

I was so scared that the tampon was now so far in, it couldn't be removed by a doctor. But that didn't happen. I went to see my gynecologist immediately and she removed it with ease.

Ever since this incident, I only use pads. There is no chance of pads causing problems.

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