Lost Tampon

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.

Search Party

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 them.

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 bathroom.)

4. If a tampon has been left in several weeks. A 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 Toxic Shock 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.

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Copyright © 1999 GenneX Healthcare Technologies,Inc.


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