When you have your period, a quickie can turn into an oopsie pretty fast. You're so fired up to have sex that you don't even think about the fact that you have your period — and maybe you forget that you have a tampon inserted as well. It happens, and it can be scary to think about a tampon potentially floating around inside of you. You might be wondering: Can you just wait and see if it falls out, or do you have to see a doctor ASAP?
Annoying as it is, if this happens to you, and you're really not sure if there's still a tampon up in you, it's a good idea see a doctor. During penetrative sex, a tampon could get pushed deeper inside the vagina and mix with the other secretions involved in intercourse, says Adeeti Gupta, MD, FACOG, an Ob/Gyn at Walk-In Gyn Care in Manhattan. "This can make the tampon a 'foreign body,' [which is] a seed for some nasty infections including toxic shock syndrome (TSS)," she says. When left undiagnosed, an infection like TSS can become very dangerous, she says. So, you'll want to know for sure whether there is a tampon inside of you.
The first step you can take is to literally try and reach inside your vagina to feel the string, Dr. Gupta says. To do that, relax your pelvic muscles, bear down with some abdominal pressure, and sweep your finger near your cervix, Nicole Bullock, DO, FACOG, an Ob/Gyn in Abilene, TX told Refinery29. Should you find the string, pull the tampon out. "If you cannot feel the string and cannot reach the tampon, do not keep exploring because you may push the tampon even further," Dr. Gupta says.
At this point, if you can't reach the tampon, then you should go see an Ob/Gyn or healthcare provider, Dr. Gupta says. Don't feel awkward, because they see this type of situation all the time. Once there, your doctor will take a look inside your vagina using a speculum, and pull out the tampon using large forceps, she says.
The good news to keep in mind while you're stressing or sweeping your vagina is that the mouth of the cervix is too small to let foreign bodies in, Dr. Gupta says. So, it's highly unlikely that a tampon will get "lost" inside of you. "However, a vagina is a very roomy organ and tampon can get pushed further anywhere in between the folds of vaginal walls," she says.
At the end of the day, a retained tampon is not the end of the world, but it is definitely worth checking out. Often when people don't realize they have a tampon inside of them, it causes an intense odor like something dead. If nothing else, be on high alert for those symptoms — and maybe wear a pad or stick to non-penetrative sex on your period.