The word “tampon” comes from the medieval French word “tampion”, which is a scrap of cloth used to plug a hole. Tampons are now used to stem women’s menstrual flow when they are inserted into the vagina during periods. However, occasionally, women may find that they have “lost” a tampon inside their body. What is happening? The tampon is just stuck in your vagina!

How Does It Feel When You Have a Tampon Stuck?

Women may experience the following symptoms when they think they have a tampon stuck inside:

  • Changes in the vaginal discharge

  • A foul smell

  • Pressure or pain in the pelvic region

  • Abdominal discomfort

  • Genital itching

  • Dizziness

  • Fever

  • Uncomfortable or painful feelings during sex

In rare cases where the tampon has been inside the body for a long time, women may develop a dangerous bacterial infection known as toxic shock syndrome. If you think you may be suffering for this illness, seek medical care as soon as possible.

What Causes Tampon Stuck?

There can be many reasons that cause tampon stuck in your body, here are the most common five ones.

  • Failure to remove tampons. Sometimes, especially at the end of a period, tampons can be forgotten about and left in the vagina. This is one of the main causes of a tampon stuck inside.

  • Forgetting that the tampon has been removed. Alternatively, the woman has removed her tampon, but has forgotten she’s done this, leading her to think that it’s still in there, and “lost”.

  • Issues with the string. The tampon’s string may break off and get hooked up inside the vagina, making it difficult to remove. This is particularly common finding after exercise.

  • The tampon is too small. A small tampon can occasionally get pulled further up the vagina along with its string.

  • Sex with the tampon still inside. Although most people remove tampons before having sex, sometimes this is forgotten. During sex, the tampon may get jammed up inside the vagina.

How to Remove a Stuck Tampon by Yourself

If you do find the tampon has been stuck in your vagina, you can try the following steps at home to remove a stuck tampon:

  1. Remember that a tampon cannot go any further than the vagina, as the cervical opening is too small for the tampon to go past. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about the tampon becoming “lost” inside your body.

  2. Before you remove the stuck tampon, make sure your nails are short, as sharp or long nails can tear the delicate genital tissues.

  3. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.

  4. Get into a comfortable position. Try squatting over the toilet or placing one foot on the toilet or bathtub.

  5. Create tension in your pelvic area, as though you are having a bowel movement. This increases the pressure on the vagina and pushes down on any tampons within.

  6. Gently insert your finger into your vagina. The cervix is at the end of your vagina and feels just like the end of your nose – don’t mistake this for the missing tampon. A lost tampon will often be found in a small pouch behind the cervix. Sweep around the cervix with your finger to find the tampon.

  7. If you don’t find anything the first time, try again, searching more deeply.

  8. Once you’ve located the tampon, hook it out with the finger, or use a second finger to pinch it and slowly pull it out. Remember that forgotten tampons often have an unpleasant smell.

  9. If you’re having difficulty, try bathing in clean, warm water. A dried out tampon will expand in the water, making it easier to retrieve.


If you can’t find the tampon after 10 minutes or more, don’t keep digging. Instead, make an appointment to see your doctor. It’s important not to panic about this, as the doctor will be able to remove the tampon quickly and easily.


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