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If You Accidentally Had Sex With A Tampon In, Here's What You Need To Know

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Hey, accidents happen to everyone. If you’ve been menstruating for many years, you know it’s possible to forget when you changed your tampon last or if you even have one in at all. So it’s not hard to see how someone could forget about wearing a tampon and then try to pursue intimate activities, only to realize a disaster has occurred. So what happens if you have sex with the tampon in? Will you be okay, or should you go straight to the hospital?

In most cases, having sex while wearing a tampon is more of an inconvenience than anything. “The tampon may be pushed further into the vagina causing difficult removal,” as Dr. Paulami Guha, MD, a Board Certified obstetrician-gynecologist and medical advisor for eMediHealth, tells Romper in an email. But it isn’t an immediate emergency in most cases. “The tampon will simply be compressed to the side or to the upper portion of the vagina and will absorb some of the semen. There is nothing intrinsically dangerous about this happening,” as Felice Gersh, M.D., OB-GYN and founder and director of the Integrative Medical Group of Irvine, explains to Romper via email. With that said, if you’re in any major pain, then contact a medical professional at once for advice.

If you aren't hurting much or at all, then this might be one issue you can fix at home with a little patience. (And if this whole idea is completely freaking you out, then consider looking into getting a menstrual cup so you can avoid the possibility altogether. Either way, take a deep breath. Although you’re probably feeling a little panicky (and/or embarrassed), it’s actually not that uncommon. Yes, this situation is difficult to read about without cringing majorly, but it’s important to know what to do if the situation ever happens to you. So if you ever find yourself thinking, "now what" after accidentally getting it on while wearing a tampon, here’s what you should know.


There’s one easy (and ideal) way to retrieve the tampon


If you're nervous and tense, this might be easier said than done. But there are a couple of techniques you can try. “Simply using a finger, sweep the vagina, and remove the tampon. If the string can be grasped, that would be the easiest way to remove it,” says Dr. Gersh. Relaxing — as much as possible at least — will make the process easier, so try to chill out.


A soak can help in stubborn situations

If you’re still striking out, try another approach. “If encountering difficulties, soak in a bath and try to allow water to enter the vagina, to further facilitate its removal,” advises Dr. Gersh. Plus, the warm bath might help you relax a little more, hopefully making the removal easier.


Timing is important

Leaving it there is not a sound option. “Don’t leave in more than 4 to 6 hours, because the concern is about toxic shock,” urologist Dr. Jennifer Berman, NY Times best-selling author of For Women Only and sexual health expert, tells Romper via email. Whether you get it out yourself or have some help from a medical professional, timely retrieval can help lower your risk of this nasty infection.


It might be time to call in a favor

If you’re still struggling to retrieve the errant tampon, then consider help from somebody else. “A partner or girlfriend can help as well . . . if needed,” recommends Dr. Gersh. It will become one of those stories you laugh about a few months down the road — a bonding experience like no other.


You Could Still Get Pregnant


The tampon does not take the place of birth control. “If the woman is not on any contraception and has sex with just the tampon in, she will need to contact a doctor for emergency contraception. A tampon DOES NOT work as contraception,” warns Dr. Guha. It may absorb some of the semen, as Dr. Gersh mentions above, but not all.


It Can't Get Lost

Don’t panic that you will never find the tampon and that it will somehow get lost in your body. “The vagina is a small, contained space, so the tampon is never more than a finger away,” reassures Dr. Gersh. It won't migrate to your spleen or anything.


Leaving It In Could Cause Other Symptoms

Toxic shock syndrome is not the only concern with a forgotten tampon. “Left inside, it would most probably result in the development of an extremely foul odor and discharge, after just a day or two, which could be so strong that it could be smelled easily by nearby people,” warns Dr. Gersh. If any of these symptoms sound familiar, then call your doctor for advice. The possibility for infection is very real.


Here's When To See Your Doctor

If all your other efforts at retrieval fail, then it’s time to call in the professionals. “Only if the tampon cannot be removed should the patient go to her gynecologist or to an urgent care,” advises Dr. Gersh. A medical pro can definitely get it out and check for any potential complications.


You Don’t Have To Be Embarrassed

You are not the only person who has dealt with this. OB-GYN Lisa Masterson revealed on a segment of CBS’ daytime talk show The Doctors that she sees one or two patients a week who have sex with a tampon. You're not alone in this, and you will get through it.


Dr. Jennifer Berman, co-host on CBS’ daytime talk show “The Doctors,” world-renowned sexual health expert, and NY Times best- selling author

Felice Gersh, M.D. OB-GYN and founder and director of the Integrative Medical Group of Irvine, in Irvine, CA

Dr. Paulami Guha, MD, board certified OB-GYN in Jacksonville, Florida and medical advisor for eMediHealth

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