Tampons give you a lot more freedom during your period, but they’re not always easy to insert or remove. For a lot of women, it’s the removal they dread. It can hurt or in the very least, be uncomfortable at times. How do you take out a tampon properly and is there any way to prevent the pain?
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How to Take a Tampon Out
Removing a tampon is simple and straightforward, but it’s important to make sure that you’re using the right absorbency and that you’re removing at the appropriate time. Tampons can only be worn for up to 8 hours, so make sure you’re changing it often and never exceed this timeframe.
Removing a tampon starts with you getting comfortable:
- Sit down on the toilet, and spread your legs.
- It’s difficult to remove a tampon if your vaginal muscles are clenched.
- Pull the tampon string. The tampon should slide out without any resistance.
- Once the tampon is removed, wrap it in toilet paper, and toss it in the trash.
There’s No String! Now What?
Although not ideal, it’s not uncommon for the tampon string to “disappear.” Most women assume at this point that they got the tampon stuck inside their vagina. The good news is that there’s no such thing as a lost tampon. They don’t just vanish, and your body won’t swallow it whole.
So, how do you remove a tampon if you can’t find the string?
- Start out by washing your hands and making sure you have no rough or jagged nails.
- Get into the position you normally choose for inserting tampons.
- Try to relax.
- Insert your index finger into your vagina, and try to feel for the tampon.
- Use back and forth and circular movements to locate the tampon. Sometimes, tampons can get stuck up near the top of the vaginal canal, behind the bladder.
- Once you’ve found the tampon, remove your index finger.
- Insert your first and middle fingers, locate the tampon again, and use your two fingers to trap it in between them.
- Pull out the tampon.
If you can’t find the tampon, try pushing to expel the tampon or in the very least, push it down lower in the vaginal canal.
How to Get a Stuck Tampon Out
After doing some digging, you’ve found the tampon, but it just won’t come out. Maybe the string is there, but it feels like you got the tampon stuck. Now what?
First, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. This happens to just about every woman who uses a tampon. And know that it will not be stuck forever. However, you should act quickly to remove it because leaving a tampon in for more than 8 hours could lead to Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS).
- Take a deep breath and relax. The worst thing you can do is panic. Anxiety makes your muscles tense up, which will only make it harder to remove the tampon. Try taking a warm bath or shower to relax and calm down.
- Once you’re calm, wash your hands. Clip your nails if you have to. You’ll be inserting your fingers into your vagina, so you want to avoid having any jagged or rough nails.
- Sit or squat down. You’ll probably want to be in the bathroom for this.
- Try expelling the tampon by doing reverse kegels or pushing as if you were in labor.
- If the tampon has not moved down far enough for removal, try inserting your first finger into your vagina.
- You’ll need to go deep into the vaginal canal. Use a circular motion to check between the vagina and cervix. This is the spot where most tampons get stuck.
- If you can find the string, push it against the side of your vaginal wall and gently pull the tampon out.
- Otherwise, insert both your index and middle finger, locate the tampon, and use your two fingers to trap and remove it.
2 Tips to Prevent Pain and Discomfort
Even when a tampon gets “stuck” it’s still relatively easy to remove as long as you stay relaxed and have some patience. But sometimes even when you can find the string and it should be easy to remove the tampon, it ends up hurting or feeling extremely uncomfortable.
Here are two tips to help prevent discomfort when removing a tampon.
1. Choose the Right Absorbency Level
When using a tampon, it’s important to always choose the right absorbency flow. Just before your period starts, you may want to wear a liner until the flow starts, and switch over to an absorbency that matches your flow. Towards the end of your period, you may need to switch back to liners if the lowest absorbency is still too absorbent.
2. Try the Pee Trick, or Use Lubrication
If you wear a tampon with too high of an absorbency level, the tampon will be dry when you try to remove it. That dryness is what makes the removal so painful or uncomfortable.
Many women use the “pee trick” to make dry tampon removal less painful. Urinating can help in a number of ways.
- It may add some moisture to the tampon, which will make it easier to remove.
- The act of urinating may relax your vaginal muscles enough to make removal easier and less painful.
- Peeing may also push out the tampon for easy removal.
You may also try using lubricants to remove the tampon. Make sure that you choose a lubricant that’s safe for use in your vagina, like KY Jelly, olive oil or coconut oil. Never put soap or water inside of your vagina as they can lead to infection or irritate the skin.
If you can’t locate the tampon or cannot remove it on your own, call your doctor or head to the emergency room. Tampons cannot be left in for more than 8 hours, so you need to act quickly if you cannot remove it yourself.