Life is busy and let’s face it, keeping on top of everyday to-do lists means that sometimes you can find yourself forgetting anything from what you had for dinner last night to when you last changed your tampon. 

We’ve all been there – you’re out with friends and have taken a trip to the loo to insert a new tampon and after doing so, that horrible afterthought crosses your mind, did you remove your last tampon? Do I now have two tampons stuck inside me? 

Read on to find out what to do if you’ve accidentally inserted two tampons.

Two tampons

How to tell if you have two tampons in

The only way you will know if you have accidentally put two tampons in is to insert your finger far up into your vagina and see if you can feel anything. As long as you wash your hands first, there’s no way that you can cause damage or hurt yourself by doing this. If you have long nails, you might want to wear rubber gloves to avoid scratching yourself.

Signs that you have two tampons inside your vagina

If you notice any of the below symptoms, it's a surefire sign that something's up.

  • Brown, green or unusual coloured vaginal discharge
  • Discharge that smells unpleasant or different to usual
  • A foul odour coming from your vagina
  • Itching inside or around your vulva
  • A rash or redness around your vagina
  • Experiencing discomfort or pain when urinating
  • Pain in the abdomen or pelvis

What happens if you accidentally put two tampons in?

If you forget to take an old tampon out and it moves up into the vagina, it’s possible to insert another tampon comfortably into the lower part of the vagina. Inserting two tampons will not cause any immediate problems but if left for a long period of time, complications such as toxic shock syndrome can occur. Find out more about what happens if you leave a tampon in.

Three tampons

What to do if you have accidentally inserted two tampons

First off, don’t stress! Keeping your mind and body relaxed will make this process much easier.

  1. Start by using the cord to remove the most recent tampon that you have inserted.
  2. After this is removed, wash your hands with soap and water.
  3. Gently insert your index finger into the vagina to see if you can feel another tampon or string and try to remove it.
  4. If this causes you pain or you are not able to remove the tampon, you need to make an appointment to see your GP.

The longer that a lost tampon is left inside of you the greater the chance of complications arising, so make sure to ask for an emergency appointment and explain the situation to the receptionist at your surgery – it might feel a bit embarrassing but remember that they're used to dealing with this type of thing all the time.

Complications of having two tampons inside

Inserting two tampons will not cause any immediate problems but if they are left for a long period of time, complications can occur.

Toxic shock syndrome

Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is a rare condition that can occur when normally harmless bacteria – staphylococcus aureus and streptococcus bacteria – enter into the bloodstream. TSS is typically caused by tampons that are left in for longer than the recommended time, forgotten tampons, or using a higher-than-needed tampon absorbency, which can lead to the build-up of bacteria. Find out more about the symptoms of TSS.

Bacterial vaginosis

Vaginitis is an inflammation of the vagina that can cause itching and pain, which can be the result of an infection or the natural balance of vaginal bacteria being altered. Reduced oestrogen after menopause and some skin conditions can also be a trigger.

Yeast infections or thrush

Thrush is a fungal infection caused by an overgrowth of candida – a type of yeast. Tampons do not cause thrush, however if a soiled tampon is left in for too long, this can provide the ideal breeding ground for bacteria and fungi.

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