Here’s How to Remove Your Tampon If Its String Breaks (or If You Can’t Find It!)

Pexels / Polina Zimmerman

Raise your hand if you’ve ever experienced a moment of panic because you couldn’t locate your tampon string to pull it out. The nerves in that moment are definitely understandable but not exactly necessary. Even if you’re having a hard time locating your tampon (we’ll get into that further down!), it can never truly get lost. In other words, just because you can’t find it right away doesn’t mean it’s floating through your body.

“The tampon is in the vagina, and the vagina doesn’t communicate with the abdominal/pelvic cavity. It therefore will stay only in the vagina and has no way to migrate anywhere else,” explained Laurence Orbuch, MD, FABOG, a board-certified ob-gyn.

If you can’t find your string or if it breaks (which, by the way, is very rare), there are ways to remove your tampon, so remember to stay calm.

Dr. Orbuch said you can use one or two fingers in the vagina to feel for the tampon and try to then pull it out. Be sure to wash your hands first.

In an article for Tampax, Melisa Holmes, MD, an ob-gyn and founder of Girlology, noted that squatting and bearing down like you’re about to use the bathroom could help with reaching and removing the tampon. Planned Parenthood also recommends lying down and taking deep breaths to relax before attempting to remove it.

If you’re unable to get your tampon out, Dr. Orbuch said you should see your doctor. On top of simply causing you stress, Dr. Orbuch said a tampon left inside the body could be uncomfortable or contribute toward a vaginal infection.

Remember, the longest amount of time a tampon should be left in is eight hours, as wearing tampons for long periods of time may increase your risk of developing toxic shock syndrome (TSS), so if you’re nearing that time frame, consider calling your doctor as well.

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