Strange things sometimes happen when you're on your period. It's just part of the game. Every once in a while we may encounter something that throws us off and makes us wonder if the world is coming to an end. Like your tampon getting stuck, for example. It sounds absolutely horrifying and semi-sci-fi, but according to Dr. Jennifer Wider, renowned women's health expert, it's not the end of the world. Her first piece of advice? "Don't panic."
Dr. Wider told POPSUGAR that a tampon getting stuck is "more common than people think." If it happens to you, take a few calming breaths first. "Try to get the tampon out yourself, using your thoroughly washed fingers," she advised. "If you can't, do not insert anything into the vaginal canal to try to retrieve it. It may cause an unwanted injury."
If you find that you can't get the stubborn thing out with your bare hands, "you can visit your healthcare provider, who can safely remove it." But whatever you do, don't put anything foreign inside of yourself to try to get it out.
Just in case you were wondering, "the vagina is not an open-ended canal, so it won't go anywhere," Dr. Wider said. It's not going to magically disappear into your body and wreak havoc on your insides. "It just needs to come out," she assured us.
"If women don't realize they have a tampon stuck, they may notice a persistent odor," Dr. Wider continued. "It isn't really dangerous. You just need to get it out because it can cause irritation, inflammation, and infection." If it stays in there for too long, you increase your risk of developing toxic shock syndrome (TSS). "But the chances of that happening are very, very slim," she said.
So how do you prevent something like this from happening? "Oftentimes, women put an extra tampon in without realizing that there is one inserted already," Dr. Wider told POPSUGAR. "If you find that you are frequently forgetting the original tampon, you can hang a chart in the bathroom or put a spreadsheet on your phone." You can even set a reminder somewhere that signals you to change the tampon every few hours. This should help you keep track of everything.