What should I do with a stuck tampon?

Having a stuck tampon can be an embarrassing problem. You may be able to remove the tampon yourself, but a trip to your health care provider may be necessary. Medical professionals have seen this problem many times before.

There are several ways a stuck tampon can occur. You may forget you have a tampon and then insert another one. Having sex without removing the tampon first can cause it to get stuck. Tampons can also change during exercise or everyday activity, darkening the string.

The tampon may be in its correct location, but it will not come out when the string is pulled. This is usually due to being dry and is the easiest situation to fix. If it has been less than eight hours since you inserted the tampon, wait until eight hours have passed and then see if it will come out. If eight hours have passed, try soaking in a warm bath to moisten the tampon.

It may be possible to remove a stuck tampon yourself. Sit on the toilet or on a raised surface with your knees wide apart and insert a clean finger into your vagina. You will feel your cervix, a slightly firm structure with an indentation in the middle. Tampons often get stuck between the cervix and the vaginal wall. If you can feel the tampon, reach out with two fingers and try to catch the tampon between them to pull it out.

If you have a stuck tampon and cannot dislodge it yourself, you will need to make an appointment with your health care provider. He or she will be able to remove it with a simple in-office procedure. First, a speculum will be inserted and the doctor will look for the tampon. Once it is found, it will be extracted with tweezers, which are long tweezers. Tampons sometimes crumble as they are removed, and must be lifted with an instrument with a curved end.

While it is embarrassing to have a stuck tampon, don't let your embarrassment stop you from seeking medical attention if necessary. Holding a tampon for too long can lead to infection. If you experience foul-smelling discharge, abdominal pain, or fever, contact your healthcare provider immediately. The most common infection in this situation is bacterial vaginosis, but a serious infection called toxic shock syndrome can develop. Once the tampon is removed, use pads for the rest of your period.

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