I’m just going to dive right into this.
I think I have a lost tampon somewhere in the depths of my vagina.
*Disclaimer (that I purposely added after the initial shocking confession) — to those who are squeamish or uncomfortable talking about bodily stuff or private parts or women’s health, or tampons or periods or vaginas, I am not sorry. And you should continue reading. Because it’s about damn time we made this stuff okay to talk about. And if I offend any of you, why the hell are you here in the first place?
So here’s what happened —
During my last period, I used tampons like I always do. Believe me, with how unpredictable my flow can be it’s pretty much impossible to successfully (or comfortably) use pads. Plus, then it makes it awkward if someone pinches or grabs my ass in just the right copping-a-feel kind of way. Which happens more often than you think.
Anyway, I was going about my normal business and changing my tampon every few hours or every time I peed, whichever came first, and one time I noticed there was no string. NO STRING.
I thought for a moment. This has happened before. I simply forgot to put one in last time because my flow wasn’t that heavy. Was it? No, I don’t think so. So that’s what happened — I must have forgotten to put one in. One time a few months ago I even made a nifty little chart so I could mark off what time I did and didn’t change my tampon, and left it out in the open to figuratively slap me in the face during those mind-wandering times, which I guess happen a lot.
But that only lasted about a week.
This time I did not have a handy chart, or a good memory. So I must have just forgotten to put a new one in once I took the old one out. No big deal. It’ll just be on my mind for a while, but I go through this almost every month and soon my worries will disappear.
I put a new tampon in, and it felt a little strange, but it feels a little strange about 60% of the time because I mean, I’m literally putting a few inches of condensed, dry, hard cotton into my naughty place. It took me months to even get the positioning right when I first every tried to use tampons, and sometimes I think I still don’t have it right.
I went on with my day as usual, and nothing seemed particularly off.
The next time I had to pee, I felt for the string to take out the tampon I knew I had inserted, but IT WASN’T THERE. Now, even though I did push a human being out of my nether region and, according to my mother, “he came flying out like a rocket,” I know my vagina is not some sort of black hole.
(Get your minds out of the gutter, by the way — we’re not here to discuss my sacred place’s elasticity.) (But if you must know, I’ve been told it went right back to almost normal.) (Normal was not a black hole. Not even close.) (Here, read this and assume I’m close in comparison.)
Okay, now that that’s over with . . .
The string wasn’t there, again. So this time I really searched for it, all up in my vulva. And guess what? I found it! Right there, twirled up in my labia minora, just chilling. (If you aren’t familiar with those terms, you should be. Go read an encyclopedia or something.)
First thought: Thank God! Second thought: Well, this is annoying. Third thought: OH SHIT.
Oh shit. What if that had happened with the last tampon? What if it did exist — if I did remember to put it in — and I just didn’t search hard enough for the string? So once I pulled the most recent tampon out, I searched for the possibly-existent/maybe-non-existent one. Briefly.
But I didn’t feel anything, and I thought for sure I would be able to fairly easily, so again I went back to my original thought that I just forgot to insert it in the first place.
And then some days or weeks or whatever went by, my period ended, and my pee started smelling weird. If you’re one of the 22% of people who can smell asparagus pee, it smelled like that. And I don’t eat asparagus, ever. I do have a pretty bad diet, though.
Once I started to get really concerned, I Googled “lost tampon.” And “forgotten tampon” and “stuck tampon” and all that crap. Only one article that I found mentioned anything about asparagus pee, but that got me all worked up. So I decided to perform a more thorough check.
I got in the shower, because one time I read something about the hot water expanding the tampon or relaxing your body or something that helps. I cut one of my nails, so as not to scratch myself. I strained and grunted like I was pooping, trying to push whatever might be in there down further.
I searched again. Only I found nothing, again. I kept searching and pushing until it felt incredibly uncomfortable and I managed to hurt some deep-within area.
But I did not pull out a gross, old tampon.
Now, days or weeks or whatever later, I’ve gotten my period again. And, for the first time in my life, my period is actually every 28 days on point. (Praise the gods for that one.) So although I didn’t mark my calendar as usual during my last monthly cycle, there are pretty good odds that it’s been 28 days.
Well, minus the few days that I had already had my period last time, plus two days since I actually got this period two days ago. So let’s just say 28. Actually, let’s say a month.
A MONTH. There’s a chance there’s been a gross, decaying feminine product inside of my body for a month.
I’ve researched “lost tampon” symptoms and Toxic Shock Syndrome symptoms and everything says something different.
I’ve been getting headaches, which is commonly a symptom, but that may be from the rat’s nest that has beaten my luscious locks in a battle to reside on my head.
I’ve been a little dizzy lately, but that could be from staring at technological screens too much, laying/sitting too often, and having a crazy fucked up diet and eating schedule.
Sometimes I feel nauseous, but I don’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t.
I keep checking my palms for a rash. Supposedly, that’s when you know there definitely is a tampon lodged inside you and it’s gotten really bad and you’re probably going to die.
So far, no rash.
I would just go to my gynecologist, but I don’t have one. I would just go to the hospital, but I don’t have insurance and if there isn’t a tampon there, I don’t want to have to worry about the astronomical ER bill.
I asked Jack to check for me, but he declined. Nate said he would do it, but that doesn’t help me for the next 13+ years.
So, here’s to hoping that rash doesn’t appear.
**Do you know what the really sad thing is? No one talks about it. Or when they do, they make fun of the people who have gone through this. Including doctors!! (Check out the comment thread for the really mean stuff.) Supposedly, this is a lot more common than most women think. Like, a lot. I recently found out it happened to several of my close friends. But they didn’t tell me their stories until I prompted them with mine. Why don’t we talk about this?
I’m here to talk about it. I’m here to tell you it’s okay to reach out for help and make this common mistake be known. We shouldn’t have to be ashamed of a normal thing.
Luckily I’ve found a few hilarious articles written by other awesome bloggers about their lady bits not being black holes. Those are their stories (spoiler: some did have lost tampons, some did not), this is mine, and you should feel free to share yours as well.**
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Did you ever experience something like this? A lost tampon? Panic over nothing? Panic over something? An embarrassing medical situation? Tell me about it! (Or, submit your story to