Your tampon is missing, presumed lost. But has it really done a disappearing act inside your body? We give you the lowdown of the facts and clear up any lost tampon myths that you might be worrying about if your tampon's gone walkabout.
Will a lost tampon eventually come out on its own?
Forgetting to remove or thinking you’ve forgotten to remove a tampon, is something the vast majority of the female population will experience in their menstruating lifetime. But can a tampon actually ‘get lost’ inside your body? The good news is NO. We’re pleased to report that the vaginal canal, where a tampon sits, is only about three to five inches long. Plus, the only other opening is through your cervix at the top of your vagina. This is simply too small for a tampon to pass through so, in other words, it’s not possible for it to get stuck inside you and it will eventually come out (collective sigh of relief).
How to remove a lost tampon
If you do leave a tampon in by accident, it can become compressed at the top of your vagina. This does not equal lost, but it can make the tampon more tricky to remove. Here’s a quick checklist of actions to work through if you are worried about a stuck tampon:
- First things first – DON’T PANIC
- Try to relax, especially your pelvic muscles
- Insert two fingers and try to grasp the tampon or its string
- Pull the tampon out very gently, making sure you have it all
Lost tampon infection worries
It's also important to realise any signs of infection related to a tampon that has become stuck. If you notice an unpleasant smell or vaginal discharge, have pelvic pain or have a high temperature or fever it’s important to seek medical help. Occasionally, a rare but life-threatening bacterial infection called Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) has been linked to women using tampons, but we repeat, this is rare. Tampon manufacturers advise that a tampon shouldn’t be left in for more than 8 hours, so if you’re the forgetful type set an alarm on your phone to act as a reminder.
If you’ve managed to locate the lost tampon but it’s stuck inside of you and you can't get it out, go to your GP or nearest sexual health clinic. A doctor or nurse will be able to remove it for you. You can also call NHS 111 for help.