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Friday, March 25, 2011

Retained Tampon

Loosing a tampon in the vagina is not as absurd as it sounds. It really is a matter of accidentally not removing one you've put there.Maybe it got to be a late day of your period, or you changed during the night, and sleepiness took over. Tampons are designed to absorb a lot of moisture, although not as much as they actually used to absorb, and it's often not apparent for a long time that something is a bit amiss. In general the patients we see have no actual pain, and often they don't have much discharge, but complain most dramatically of odor. Occasionally there is a significant amount of discharge. The discharge usually turns dark brown, it can even be black. Actually our ability to normalize the bacteria in the vagina is so great that many physicians will just treat with removing the 'lost' or 'forgotten' tampon and often antibiotics aren't necessary unless the odor and discharge doesn't resolve for a few days. Serious side effects such as Toxic Shock Syndrome are very uncommon, and if no fever or pain this is highly unlikely to be the result even from a very long retained tampon.It's important to have your gyno do a vaginal exam if you suspect a retained tampon, as it is not always possible to detect it or remove it yourself.

19 comments:

  1. Does this normally resolve itself with removal? I discovered and removed a retained tampon today that may have been in place for several days. The on-call doc seemed to think infection was unlikely to be an issue. It seems rather hard to believe.

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  2. If a woman discovers a retained tampon herself and removes it, she does not necessarily have to do anything more than that. Even if the retained tampon had been in place for several days, there is not likely to be an infection. If at first you discover a slight odor the ability of the vagina to normalize the bacteria that live in the healthy ecosystem of that environment is very good and likely to just right itself. For those who have pain, irritation, persistent discharge, they should see their physician.

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  3. If a physician does a pelvic exam and checks the cervix and see no tampon is that accurate or could they have missed seeing or feeling it?

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  4. It is unlikely for experienced gynecologist to miss a tampon on exam, but of course it would be possible.

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  5. What if u have a retained tampon, discovered by characteristic odor and have an IUD in place? Once removed would you automatically do antibiotics ? Also do you need to remove the IUD?

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  6. What if u have a retained tampon, discovered by characteristic odor and have an IUD in place? Once removed would you automatically do antibiotics ? Also do you need to remove the IUD?

    ReplyDelete
  7. In most cases a retained tampon will not cause infection. If you have pain, discharge, bleeding, odor that is abnormal, you should see a gynecologist to determine if a retained tampon caused an infection. Women with IUDs and treatable infections do not have to have the IUD removed in most cases, but your health care provider will have to determine if this will need to be removed.

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  8. I had this happen last week. doctor suspected a lost tampon may be the cause of my symptoms but I wasn't sure if there was one. She almost didn't find it and stopped looking. Saw it way back in there at the last second. I had a pretty nasty infection accompanied with all the symptoms, fever, back and abdominal pain, sore throat, fatigue, urinary issues and discharge. They gave me a shot at the hospital and put me on 2 100mg dycocycline per day and my infection was gone 2 days later.

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  9. Pelvic infections, even those caused by a retained tampon, can scar the fallopian tubes and the result of that scaring can be tubal pregnancies, chronic pain, or infertility. So in general, if an infection is even suspected the physicians generally recommend antibiotic treatment. Without an infection present, it may be reasonable to do testing and observation before treating with an antibiotic.

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  10. I recently took out a lost tampon but I am still bleeding a little and it has been the 9th day of my period. The tampon was in there for 2 days. This is not normal because my period usually lasts 4-6 days. What is happening and what should I do?

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  11. Women who find a retained tampon and still have unusual odor, bleeding, pain, fever, or discharge should consult a gynecologist.

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  12. Yesterday, I went to my OBGYN because of irregular/ prolonged vaginal bleeding. He did a trans vaginal ultrasound, and found nothing irregular. Today I discovered a retained tampon and removed it. I'm confused about how he missed it and I'm not sure if I should call to let his nurse know, to see if I need antibiotics. There was an odor, but no discharge, pain or fever.

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  13. I had a vaginal ultrasound done yesterday, and realized afterward that I forgot to take out my menstrual cup. I removed it when I got home, but am wondering if it's possible it went on a trip into my uterus with the probe, and if I should be worried about possible infection.

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  14. I maintain that any move to avoid pelvic examinations in patients is not clinically supported. It is relatively easy to insert a vaginal probe beyond a tampon, or menstrual cup, and thus it's not unheard of to miss that sort of finding. If you have new information for a physician, then yes you need to report it to your health care provider. Finding the menstrual cup should be reported. The cervical opening is very small, it is not possible for a menstrual cup to be in the uterus.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I have recently had a retained tampon removed by the doctor. This was 3 days ago. The smell isn't noticeable unless I actually feel around up there and smell my finger but it's still there - it doesn't seem to be as bad but I am just paranoid about how long it will take to go? I've been reading a lot of forums where people have said it's gone instantly. Is there anything I can do to neutralise it/help my body restore itself?

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  16. Vaginal odor indicates infection or bacterial imbalance in most cases. If there is no pain, fever, or discharge, some women may safely observe, normalize their diet and health and see if this resolves. Otherwise you need to be seen by your gynecologist for evaluation.

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  17. Don't let post election thoughts distract you from your health tasks: or here's what can happen

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  18. I just removed a tampon that has been inside of me since last month. It was very gray. I had no oder, or any other sign. Sex wasn't as good, but other than that I had no idea. There is no discharge or oder, but I never got my period this month, is that normal.

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  19. For most women who discover they have inadvertently had a retained tampon, they can listen to their body to gauge whether they can not have a medical visit. If you have no abnormal symptoms at all, it is likely you did not incur an infection. It is important to remember that you cannot judge 'sub-clinical' infections on your own without an exam.

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Thank you for your comments and questions. This blog is not intended to replace medical care, but is informational only. We hope you will become a follower or visit Womens Health Practice. We offer a variety of unique services including MonaLisa Touch, Coolsculpting, Labiaplasty, and Gynecoloigic Clinical Research Trials. For more information on menopause see http://www.amazon.com/Menopause-Make-Peace-Change

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