What Happens If You Get A Tampon Stuck Inside You – It is relatively common for tampons to get stuck in the vagina. Although it is unpleasant to think about, it generally does not pose any health risks.
In this article, we’ll look at what happens when a tampon gets stuck for days or weeks, the risks it can pose, and how to get it out. In most cases, a person can remove a plug at home, but we also explain when to see a doctor.
What Happens If You Get A Tampon Stuck Inside You
A tampon can get stuck in the vagina, making it difficult to remove. However, it cannot be “lost” inside the body.
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The passage is relatively short—about 3 to 4 inches—and the cervix is too small for a tampon to enter. So even if a tampon gets inside, it can always be removed from the vagina.
It is important to remove a stuck plug as soon as possible to prevent infection and other complications.
Health professionals recommend that people use tampons with the correct absorbency for their menstrual flow. Doing so makes it easier to insert and remove plugs at appropriate intervals.
Tampon use is very common among women of childbearing age in the United States. Research shows that 55% of white, 31% of black, and 22% of Hispanic women use tampons regularly.
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The FDA considers tampons to be medical devices and regulates them as such. Most people use tampons without problems, although some report discomfort when inserting or removing tampons.
A stored tampon is unlikely to seriously damage the cervix or vagina. However, there is a risk of infection with a vaginal tampon, so it is important to remove it as soon as possible.
Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is the most serious potential complication of tampon insertion. It is also very rare.
However, using tampons with higher absorbency than necessary or leaving them in for too long can increase the chance of bacteria that can cause TSS growth. Symptoms of TSS include:
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According to the National Institute of Rare Diseases, in 1980, there were six cases of TSS per 100,000 women aged 19 to 44 in the United States. However, by 1986—after superabsorbent tampons were no longer on the market and new guidelines for the manufacture and use of tampons became available—there were only one or three cases per 100,000 women.
Some people may worry that a compressed tampon will harm their organs. However, while a solid tampon can be painful and irritate the vaginal lining when trying to remove it, it is very unlikely to damage the cervix.
When a person realizes that a tampon is stuck in their vagina, it is important to remove it as soon as possible.
One can usually do this on their own, but must be very gentle and careful. Use the following steps:
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Using a lubricant can make it easier to remove a stuck tampon. People should avoid using other things like tweezers as they can cause injury.
If they can’t, a doctor or other health care provider can remove it. Trained professionals know what to do and likely have experience helping people do this.
If a person has any signs or symptoms of infection, they should see a doctor. These include:
Having a tampon stuck in your vagina can be very uncomfortable, both physically and emotionally, but it’s not an uncommon problem.
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In most cases, a person can remove a retained plug on their own, but if that is not possible, a doctor can help. Tampons left in the vagina for too long can increase the risk of infection and TSS, so prompt medical attention is important.
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Squeeze tampons are more common and less weird than you might think. “A lot of times a woman forgets the plug is there, or puts in a second one and forgets the first one,” says Jessica Kiley, MD, assistant professor and chief of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
Better news: Keely says the tampon has nowhere to go—the vagina is only three or four inches deep, and the opening to the cervix is too small for a tampon to go through. So the buffer is never lost (
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The discharge will give you a clue: If it changes color to a thick yellow or even brownish—yes, even during your period—it could mean you inserted a tampon.
Jessica Shepherd, M.D., M.B.A., OB/GYN at Baylor. says this is true when combined with other symptoms, such as musty or fishy odors, that get stronger (and worse) over time. University Medical Center.
You may even feel pressure from inserting a tampon deeper or inserting another tampon (every girl’s fear of inserting another tampon).
On their own, these symptoms are definitely a sign that a tampon may be stuck and you should get it out quickly. But the combination of these symptoms, plus fever, nausea, vomiting or body rash, could indicate something more serious, such as Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS), which occurs when bacteria enter the bloodstream through tiny tears in the vagina. Although it’s rare, the longer your plug is in there (for example, longer than the recommended eight hours), the higher the risk of TSS, so all the more reason to pop it.
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Don’t panic – really. When you’re nervous, your muscles tighten, even those that are there. Tight pelvic floor muscles can make it difficult to find and remove the tampon.
Definitely good for DIY. Experts recommend sitting over the toilet or standing with one leg up on the toilet lid or on the edge of the bathtub so that the pelvis is at an angle, which can help access the tampon.
Insert a finger with clean hands (and trimmed nails, please!) and gently sweep to find the stain. Hold and pull lightly. Don’t worry, you won’t hurt yourself or cause damage by stretching, says Kiley, who recommends keeping lube nearby for easy access.
After the plug comes out, Shepherd warns to take a shower. Instead, rinse the vagina briefly with a showerhead to remove any blood or discharge. You should be symptom free and back to normal within a day.
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Go ahead and call your doctor. Nothing to be ashamed of – they see things like this all the time. Advantages of getting expert help? They get a full view from the front compared to almost no view when you do it yourself (yoga can only make you
Plus, the gynecologist has all the tools you need to get up there—like a speculator, Shepherd says.
Another reason to visit? Worsening symptoms, especially when fever, pain or increased odor occur. Sure, it’s rare, but still, TSS is no joke. Therefore, just in case, Dr. Ditch Google and contact the IRL doc.
Elizabeth Bacharach is an Associate Editor at Women’s Health, where she writes and edits content on mental and physical health, food and nutrition, sexual health and lifestyle trends, and print magazines. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University, lives in New York and dreams of becoming best friends with Ina Garten, who is undoubtedly a real queen.
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