Two diagonal rows of unwrapped tampons sit on a black background.

I forgot to take my tampon out two days ago, and now it’s really far into my vagina and the string isn’t hanging out. Is that dangerous? Could it get lost in my body? How can I get it out? I’m really worried.

First, take a deep breath. You’re not the first person to forget about a tampon, and you definitely won’t be the last! We explain how to get the tampon out below, but if you can’t do it by yourself you should see a health care provider, preferably the same day.

A tampon cannot get lost in your body. Your vagina ends at your cervix, which is a donut-like muscle with a small hole in the middle. Think of the cervix like the roof to your vagina. While it lets sperm in and menstrual (period) blood out, the cervix will definitely not let something as big as a tampon pass! Your tampon is still in there.

You may be able to get your tampon out using your fingers.

Wash your hands thoroughly using soap and water. Then, squat over a toilet or stand with one foot on a toilet rim or the edge of a bath tub. This can make grabbing your tampon easier. If you want, put a little lube on your fingers. Take a few deep breaths to relax your muscles. Insert a finger or two into your vagina, feeling for the tampon string or the tampon itself. Your vagina is 2-4 inches long, which means you should be able to feel it in there. Try to get a grip on it and pull it out. This may be a bit tricky, since the tampon will be slippery. If you’re having a hard time, try lying down on a bed or changing positions. Chances are that with some deft maneuvering, you’ll successfully pull out your renegade tampon.

If you can’t get it out though, you should see a health care provider—preferably that same day.

They should be able to pull your tampon out easily, and have probably done this loads of times before. There’s no need to feel squeamish or embarrassed!

Leaving in a tampon for longer than the recommended 8 hours can sometimes lead to an infection. You may notice that your vagina smells stronger, your vaginal discharge becomes yellow or green, you start itching down there, or even feel pressure or pain in your pelvic area. If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your health care provider.

Leaving in a tampon also increases your risk of getting Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). TSS is very rare—it occurs in fewer than 1 in 1 million people—but it’s serious and potentially life-threatening if you do get it. We talk more about TSS here. If you have any symptoms of TSS, like a fever, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, a rash, a headache and/or fatigue, go directly to the emergency room.

Do you forget to change your tampon pretty regularly? Think about setting an alarm to remind yourself!

If you’re 10-22 years old in NYC and have more questions about your body, get confidential health care—at no cost to you—at the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center. Call (212) 423-3000 to make an appointment.