Spontaneous sex happens—and sometimes it happens when you’re on your period.
It stands to reason, then, that you might forget to, uh, take out your tampon before you get down and dirty.
What happens then? Is it really a big deal?
It can be, says women’s health expert Jennifer Wider, M.D. Wider says it’s not uncommon for women to just forget they have a tampon in there before sex, but the problem is what can happen next. “The biggest danger is that the tampon gets pushed farther into the vaginal canal, making it very difficult to retrieve,” she says.
Since we’re talking about an actual object being wedged up your vagina, it can cause pain and discomfort—and even an infection.
If you forgot you had a tampon in and never remembered it was there, it’s pretty likely that you’ll find out eventually. “There are many cases of women coming into their doctors with a vaginal infection, and it turns out that it was a forgotten tampon,” says Wider.
If you realize that you left a tampon in during sex, get it out ASAP. However, Wider acknowledges that this might be easier said than done.
"The biggest danger is that the tampon gets pushed farther into the vaginal canal, making it very difficult to retrieve."
If you’re having trouble, she recommends squatting or putting one leg up on the toilet and using your (thoroughly-washed) hand to remove the tampon.
Can’t find or reach it? Don’t insert anything to try to fish it out. Instead, call your ob/gyn (We know, we know—it’s kind of embarrassing. But Wider says they’ve all seen this before.)
Don’t put off the call, either, says Wider, since the longer the tampon stays in there, the more likely it is that you’ll get an infection.
The removal procedure isn’t anything you haven’t seen before, says Wider—it’s similar to a pelvic exam. Your doctor will use a speculum and sterilized medical instruments, like a long tweezer, to get the tampon out.
“I highly recommend removing the tampon before you engage in sexual activity,” says Wider. But hey, accidents happen.
(Want to have more adventurous sex? Check out the Women's Health Big Book of Sex for tips, tricks, and everything in between.)