Intimate Care

“I Can’t Remember If I Took My Tampon Out”: What To Do?

Rest assured tampons cannot get lost inside and you can still take them out.

Written by Manal Yahya

Medically Reviewed by Aria Raina

On Dec 27, 2023 – 10 minutes read

tampon lost

A common frantic concern of tampon users is “I can’t remember if I took my tampon out.” Numerous tampon users, including experienced ones, encounter the issue of a “lost tampon, can’t feel” scenario. If you find yourself in this situation, remain calm as we can assist you in removing it. Continue reading to learn how to safely extract a stuck tampon on your own and when it’s necessary to seek medical help.

Lost Tampons: A Common Occurrence Amongst Users

Anyone who menstruates fears losing tampons inside their body ever since hitting puberty. Some stick with pads because of this fear alone. As a menstrual cup user myself, I used to often wonder how I would bring myself to put a cup inside me, regardless of how small or big it looked. I overcame my fear after years of fearing the cup getting lost inside me and months of trials.

safest menstrual product

But a tampon is no cup. It is soft to touch and even after you find the right size tampon for you, if you cannot find it inside, your heart will drop to your stomach in fear. No doubt about that.

Would knowing that it is a common occurrence bring some relief? Maybe.

Would knowing that it is impossible for a tampon to get lost inside you bring some relief? It should.

Knowing the basic anatomy of your body is the key.

Can A Tampon Get Lost Inside You?

The simple answer is, no. Sure, it can get squished into a flat mess or lodged in a corner but definitely not lost.

lost tampon diagram

Though tampons are pretty convenient to use, they can give you some trouble if you are not careful. For instance, you got drunk and forgot to take it out. It happens.

Perhaps your forgetfulness got the better of you and days after your period, you suddenly have a moment of panic unable to recall if you took the tampon out on the last day.

Perhaps you forgot you had one in and inserted a second one without removing the first. Not a big deal.

Maybe you had sex and didn’t remember or think to remove your tampon first. No one blames you. Or the tampon string broke. Again, no room to point fingers. It is easy to get freaked out and start panicking in either of these troublesome situations.

All you need to do is calm down. Albeit easier said than done, you can take out the tampon only once your body stays calm and relaxed.

First of all, the vagina is not a huge black hole that something gets stuck inside is never to be found again. In fact, the vagina is only 3 or 4 inches deep and ends at the cervix —bottom of the uterus. Basically, it is a dead end!

So, rest assured any foreign body simply cannot get far because it has nowhere to go! It simply has to stay in your vaginal canal as the cervical opening is too small for a tampon to slip through.

Should I worry if I can’t remember if I took my tampon out?

No, there’s no need to worry as you can’t lose a tampon inside you. It just may be out of reach. If you are unable to remove it even with the tips and techniques discussed in this article, you may need to seek medical assistance as it is not advisable to leave a tampon inside for too long.

Can you feel a lost tampon inside you?

Given the elasticity of both the tampon and the vaginal canal, it’s not uncommon to inadvertently forget a tampon inside. A retained tampon is often compressed at the top of the vagina or squashed sideways, causing the strings to retract. This can make it challenging for you to detect the “lost tampon,” as it may simply be out of reach.

forget a tampon for 13 hours

What if the tampon string breaks?

Tampons typically measure slightly less than two inches in length. Removal is typically straightforward by pulling the attached string. However, there may be instances where you’re unable to reach the string, and in rare cases, the string might break. In such rare instances, seeking medical assistance is advisable, as it may become even more challenging to remove the tampon.

Will a stuck tampon come out by itself?

A stuck tampon will usually stay at the top of your vagina until you remove it. So, act quickly and try to remove it as soon as possible.

However, keep in mind that a tampon can come out if there’s excessive bleeding or if the tampon size is too small.

A tampon inserted right after sex with lubricant also may slip out while urinating.

Can you push a tampon out like a baby?

Not usually. But when constipated patients bear down, this can happen as the vaginal and anal canals are adjacent. It also often happens when new users do not insert their tampon deep enough and place it just at the near end of the vaginal opening, it comes out!

Would My Partner Feel A Lost Tampon?

Your partner is supposed to feel a tampon inside when having sex. Moreover, having sex with a tampon inside could be uncomfortable for both of you but of course, cause more discomfort and pain for you. Your body naturally produces lubrication while having intercourse. With a tampon stuck inside, it only absorbs the lubrication making it uncomfortable for you.

All of the above questions are oftentimes asked while dealing with a stuck tampon. A retained or stuck tampon is not any danger to your vagina or cervix, according to gynecologists. Unfortunately, it may cause an infection called Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). Hence, you need to know the signs of a stuck tampon to be aware.

Signs Of A Retained Tampon

The vaginal walls hold a tampon in place. However, it cannot roam and drift to your abdomen or belly because it cannot move outside of your vaginal canal, which is a contained space. Although common, a retained tampon is not exactly good in any way. If you are going through an ‘I can’t remember if I took my tampon out’ situation, look out for the following signs of a retained or stuck tampon:

will i still bleed if my tampon is stuck
  • Yellow, green, grey, brown, or pink vaginal discharge
  • Vaginal discharge with a foul odor
  • Foul odor from your vagina without discharge
  • Itching inside your vagina or on your vulva
  • Pain or discomfort while passing urine
  • Swelling of the vaginal area
  • Redness or rash around the genital area
  • Abdominal or pelvic pain 
  • A high temperature —fever of 104°F (40°C) or higher

NB: Even low to moderate temperatures can be an indication of TSS. So report to a doctor immediately without waiting for it to reach 104.

How To Remove A Stuck Tampon On Your Own?

If you are sure that you don’t have an infection, meaning none of the listed signs of a retained tampon, you can try removing it yourself. Most importantly, you need to act fast to avoid risking your health. Meaning, you should take care of the problem right away.

how to remove stuck tampon

The first way of removing a stuck tampon on your own is by bearing down like you would for a bowel movement. This helps the walls of your vagina to contract and may push the tampon closer to the opening where you can find its string to pull out. If that doesn’t happen, follow these steps to safely remove a stuck tampon with your clean fingers:


Clip your nails: To remove a stuck tampon, you need to insert your fingers inside your vagina. For this, you need to trim your nails to make the process as painless as possible. You also don’t want to risk cutting the insides of your vagina with jagged or long, sharp nails.

Clean your hands: To prevent introducing germs into your vaginal cavity and getting an infection, clean your hands. Use a mild soap and water to thoroughly wash your hands clean. In addition, if your fingers have any open cuts or scabs, cover them up with a bandage.

Step 1: Relax your muscles

Becoming tense will exacerbate the situation. Tensing and clenching the muscles in your vagina can secure the stuck tampon in place, making removal more difficult. While it’s understandable to feel distressed, nobody enjoys dealing with a stuck tampon. After allowing yourself to panic, consider taking a warm shower or bath to promote relaxation. You might also find relief through breathing exercises.

Step 2: Sit, squat, or lie down

In an “I can’t remember if I took my tampon out” situation, the easier way to remove the stuck tampon is by sitting, squatting, or lying down. After you try bearing down to dislodge the tampon, try sitting on the toilet with your knees a little more than hip-width apart. Or, you can squat down without sitting on the ground. You can also try standing with one leg propped on the toilet seat, bathtub, or trashcan. If you prefer to lie down, lie flat on your bed with your knees bent. 

Step 3: Tug on the string

If you can see the string and not stuck on your body, lightly pull on the string while squatting. There should be at least an inch of string coming out of your vaginal opening. If it doesn’t come out by pulling the string, try the next step.

Step 4: Insert a finger or two

While exhaling, insert your middle finger (or index and thumb) into your vagina as far as possible. Then, sweep around with circular motions between the cervix and vagina to locate the tampon. Try to feel the area at the top of the vagina. Bearing down also helps in this step to find the stuck tampon.

Step 5: Pull out the tampon

If you can find the tampon, grasp it between your fingers and gently pull it out. Catch the tampon’s cotton cylinder instead of only the string.

If you cannot find the tampon even after 10 minutes, don’t just dig around for it. Call your doctor without waiting around. Especially if you think there might still be some pieces in your vagina.

Tips For Removing Tampons:

  • Try a lubricant
  • Use only fingers, not any other foreign object
  • Change positions as needed
  • Use a mirror

What Not To Do If You Have A Stuck Tampon

Take care not to scratch or hurt yourself while searching for an inserted tampon! The wound often ends up being more of a problem than the tampon itself. This happens too often with lost/ retained condoms.

Should You Be Concerned?

An overstayed tampon may not cause any serious health issues. The FDA recommends no more than 8 hours for a tampon inside. One of the biggest risks could be vaginitis, an inflammation of the vagina which can be caused by a number of reasons including bacteria that clutch onto the tampon.

toxic shock syndrome

Another risk, a much more severe one, is TSS. This potentially deadly condition is triggered by Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) bacteria on the tampon that emit toxins, according to the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). Although treatable, it could be fatal. However, TSS is pretty unlikely even if a tampon is left inside for a longer period of time, according to experts.

When Should You Go To A Doctor?

While a stuck tampon may not qualify as an emergency, it’s crucial to recognize when medical help is necessary. If you’re unable to safely remove it yourself, contact your OB-GYN immediately. Prompt removal is essential to avoid potential health complications. If you experience any signs of a retained tampon, seek prompt medical attention, as you may require treatment for infection. Additionally, if remnants of the tampon are suspected to be left in your vagina, medical assistance is warranted.

If you suspect you have TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome) in the worst-case scenario, head to the nearest emergency room. In any situation, healthcare professionals can safely and effectively remove the stuck tampon using their finger or a small clamp. Remember, medical staff have encountered numerous cases like yours and are present to provide assistance, not judgment.


1. How do I know if I have left a tampon in?

Your body will send you obvious signs and the first sign could be the foul odor and old blood (brown-red) discharge from your vagina.

2. Can a tampon fall out if it is full?

Tampons can become slippery when full. If you have a heavy flow or a tampon size too small for your flow, it may even slip out of place. This is a hint for you to change your tampon.

3. Will you still bleed if a tampon is stuck?

Yes, of course.

Final Words

A lost tampon in your body is definitely not the end of the world. But you need it out as soon as possible. Without worrying, try removing it yourself or get medical assistance without any embarrassment to prevent further health complications.

  1. NHS. (n.d.). Toxic shock syndrome. NHS choices.
  2. NHS. (n.d.-b). What if I forget to remove my tampon?. NHS choices.

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Manal is a lifestyle influencer who has spent years delving into the world of beauty, fashion, and wellness- a pro when it comes to anything woman.

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