9 Signs You’re Leaving Tampons In Too Long

Ever forget you have a tampon in? You might get busy and leave it in a little to long or simply forget about it all together. Hey, it happens. It's nothing to panic about, but how do you know when a tampon has been left in too long. Besides the obvious sign of bleeding right through it, there are some interesting ways to know if you're leaving tampons in too long .

Tampons are really a great convenience for women who still want to be active during their periods. Thy are available in different sizes, absorbencies, and even fragrances (if you're into that kind of thing). But as handy as tampons are, they still require attention and frequent changing. Instructions are in the tampon box, but those pamphlets don't describe everything that you could feel or experience.

There are definitely signs you left your tampon in too long that are not included in the instruction manuals. If you think you might be stretching your tampon use to the max or you're just curious to learn about the less-talked-about signs of extended tampon use, the tips below should help guide you. Here are nine compelling signs you may be leaving your tampon in longer than you should.


You Can't See The Tampon String

According to the Young Women's Health website, the tampon string should be visibly hanging out of the vagina at all times. If you can't see it, that could mean you soaked through your tampon (which obviously is a sign you need to change it). The other scenario is that you forgot about a tampon being inside of you. Either way, if you can't see the string you've left it in too long.


You're Itchy Down There

The whole point of tampons is to be dry. But if you leave your tampon in too long you could get excessively itchy, according to the All Things Vagina website. This is a result of the tampon drying out all of down there. There's the possibility that bacteria could be forming if you've left the tampon in too long, which can cause an extra scratchy situation.


You Smell Something Foul

You ever have the feeling that something just isn't right down there? Well, let scent be your guide. A funky smell is usually a big indicator that you've left your tampon in too long.

If you've left your plug in too long or forgot about it, Dr. Sherry Ross told Hello Flo that, "you may notice a watery brown discharge with a foul and pungent odor." She went on to explain that it will be different than a yeast infection, because those typically have a cottage-cheese like discharge. It will also be different than a bacterial vaginal infection which usually carries a more fishy odor.


You're Getting Vaginal Infections During Or After Your Period

Speaking of infections in your vagina, leaving a tampon in too long could start causing them. According to The Doctors, leaving a tampon inside your body for an extended amount of time can lead to abrasions and infections. If you notice that you keep getting yeast infections or bacterial infections during your period or directly after, you may want to re-examine how long you're leaving your tampon in.


You Poop

It doesn't matter if you've had your tampon in for five minutes or five hours, the tampon has to go if you've had a bowel movement, . As explained in Cosmopolitan, if the tampon string picks up any bacteria from your backdoor, it could infect the urethra. So basically, any amount of time is too long if there's been a poop.


You Go Swimming

This one is similar to the pooping premise — if you swim with a tampon in, it has to go when you're done. Any amount of time that an old tampon is in you post swim is too long. It doesn't matter if you've swam in a hot tub, pool, lake, or ocean. As explained in the aforementioned Cosmpolitan article, a tampon covered in chlorine, salt water, or lake water can cause irritation if it's not changed immediately.


You've Had It In For More Than 8 Hours

According to the aforementioned Young Women's Health website, you should be changing your tampon at least every four to six hours, although many tampon packages say eight hours. Either way, if the tampon has been in you for more than eight hours it's too long for anyone.


Sex Is Painful

If you have some pelvic or vaginal pain during period sex and can't remember if you took out your tampon, there's a good chance it's in there. You don't have to panic and as explained by Women's Health, the key is to just get the forgotten tampon out as fast as possible. If you can't seem to do it, call your doctor immediately as they'll be able to retrieve it.


You're Feeling Dizzy Or Have A Fever

If you start feeling flu-like symptoms, this could be a sign that -- not only did you leave your tampon in too long, you need emergency medical help right away. Fevers, dizziness, and chills (among other symptoms) could be signs of a serious infection called Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS), as explained on Medline Plus.

TSS is a serious bacterial infection, often associated with tampon use (you can get it other ways too). In most cases, people with TSS will need to be hospitalized and closely monitored. If left untreated, TSS can lead to shock, renal failure, and even death.

So many women stretch tampon use time because they're busy or they just simply forget. If you think you might be leaving your tampon in for too long it may be a good idea to re-examine your tampon use. If you "lose" a tampon inside of you, it's best to call a doctor right away as they'll be able to get it out in the quickest, safest manner.