Many women have inserted a new tampon, while forgetting to remove the old one. Others have
genital intercourse with a tampon in. The vagina is quite elastic and so, it is possible to put two tampons in, an old one
in a second one or a penis. This is especially true if they are the smaller tampons.
Sometimes, the tampon simply gets pushed in farther and harder than needed with the insertion.
In these cases, the tampon often gets turns sideways
and compressed into the far end of the vagina. The string gets drawn in. These are the "stuck"
tampons. Reaching and retrieval is the main issue here.
More often tampons are "forgotten". At the end of a period, the woman simply forgets to take
the last one out. Mid-life and mature women use them to prevent exercise induced urine loss
and forget them after the work-out. There is usually some degree of sideways turning and
compression, otherwise the woman would notice the string when wiping. Foul odor or discharge
occur in rare cases. Most often, it is that sudden sinking feeling of
"did-I-ever-take-that-one-out" that alerts the woman? In these situations, weeks may have
passed. The woman is mostly worried about infections, and she has uncertainty as to if there is
one or not.
So What Does A Woman Have To Worry About?
A tampon cannot go up through the uterus and be lost in the abdomen, as people sometimes think.
The vagina is like a blind pouch or a tube sock. The cervix is at the deep end. It only has
a tiny opening for blood and semen and the like. It is hard and not easily forced open. Tampons
have not been shown to cause other damage to the vagina or cervix.
Infections are the only real concern. Again, odor, discharge, pelvic pain, and fever are the
general signs. Toxic Shock Syndrome is the most feared. More likely, a woman may get a
bacterial vaginosis, which can be easily treated.
In order to retrieve a lost tampon:
1. Thoroughly wash your hands. This prevents introducing
outside bacteria into the vagina. Ideally, the woman would also have short
nails, and no open cuts on her fingers.
2. Remove any tampons that
still have a string hanging out.
3. Bear down. Sit on the toilet. Grab a wastepaper basket or something that is about
12 inches high. Put the feet up on it. Bear down like when having a bowel movement or
pushing out a baby. This can push the tampon down.
3. Then gently insert one finger
inside yourself. Use a mirror at first, if there is trouble finding the opening.
Most women start with the index finger, but she should use the
middle if she cannot reach very far in.
4. Reach in as far as possible. A woman knows she has reached the end of the vagina when she
feels her cervix. The cervix is a cartilaginous tissue that feels like the tip of the nose.
A woman can push in slightly, so that her knuckle tents the tissue of the vulva a bit, without
causing discomfort or damage. She can bear down at the same time.
5. Sweep. Make a circular and back and forth motions with the finger. The cevix is like an
upside down bowl
at the end of the tube (vagina). The vagina is like a tube around the edge. Try to sweep
the space between the rim of the bowl (cervix) and the start of the tube (vagina).
This is where crammed in tampons tend to
get stuck. More get stuck towards the edge nearest the back.
5. Finding One. If your finger runs into a
tampon, come out. Insert two fingers (ones next to each other, of course)
and trap the tampon between
Seeing The Doctor
A woman should seek medical help if:
1. She has any signs of Infection (see above)
2. She didn't feel one and still has doubts. There's no sure fire way for women to figure out
herself that she doesn't have one. So, this is the only option.
3. If she felt/knows she has one, but there's someone pounding on the door
"I need to use the bathroom! How long ya
gonna be in there!" If a woman knows she has one stuck and just can't get to it, let
the doctor get it. (Ten minutes is the limit for those fortunate enough to have their own
4. If a tampon has been left in several weeks.
woman can see her own doctor, if she can get in right away. Discuss the situation with her.
The doctor can make the call as to how urgent the situation is. Otherwise, any signs of
Syndrome or any fever, go to the Emergency Room. Urgent Care/Fast Track/Walk-in
Clinics/Planned Parenthood Clinics are also options, if they are open at the time.