It’s the stuff that has haunted your nightmares since you got your first period; the idea of a tampon getting ‘lost’ inside you.
While it can’t actually get lost (it’s not like it can sneak into some other part of your anatomy), being unable to see or locate it does happen. And it most certainly happened to Alexia LaFata.
After leaving in her tampon overnight and fooling around with a guy, LaFata tried to remove it the following morning. There was one problem; she couldn’t find it.
At first she remained calm, telling herself she was silly for assuming it could’ve gone somewhere.
“I furrowed my brows, confused. I got up and perched one foot on the rim of the toilet and the other on the floor. Inhaling sharply, I stuck two fingers in, scrunching my face and looking up at the ceiling deep in concentration. Again, I didn’t feel a string,” she wrote for Elite Daily. (Watch: What really happens when a tampon gets lost. Post continues after video.)
After calling in her pre-med student roommate Chantal in a panic, LaFata realised there were two options: it was lost and stuck somewhere inside her which meant she was now at risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome. Or it had fallen out and was hiding among the guy’s sheets. She couldn’t decide which was worse.
Eventually seeing no other option, the pair headed to the emergency room.
LaFata then received a phone call from her mum who was meant to be coming to visit for the day. After telling her what happened through "gritted teeth", Mrs LaFata was on her way to the hospital, too.
When she was finally able to see the doctor, she recounted the incident to him and her mother.
"I started rambling, in one giant, self-conscious breath: 'Well, I put in a tampon last night at, like, 9pm? And then I hooked up with this guy and I guess he was going really hard with his fingers, so now I think he shoved it really far up in my vagina because I tried to get it out but I can’t. I can’t even see it. So it could REALLY be in there,'" she described to Elite Daily. (Post continues after gallery.)
After assuring them both that he'd "seen worse", LaFata was instructed to change into a paper gown so he could properly examine the situation.
A few minutes of uncomfortable rummaging and maneouvering led to her feeling a light tug. It had been located.
"He held up the mummified tampon. It looked exactly like I pictured: a dead rabbit’s foot," she told Elite Daily.
"'Oh, you were never going to get that yourself,' he said, pulling his rubber gloves off. 'It was all the way at your cervix, and the string was pretty tightly wrapped around the cotton. You must have been going at it really vigorously'," she recalled him saying.
After warning her to keep a look out for signs of TSS, LaFata and her mum headed home. The situation was over, until she received another phone call from her mum informing her that the hospital bill had arrived for a casual $1187.
The takeaway? Save yourself the awkward encounter (and a grand) by keeping track of how long you leave your tampons in. Most importantly don't be afraid to seek professional help if this does happen. Trust us, they've seen worse.
Yes, it may be embarrassing but the risk of TSS is definitely not worth it.
Have you ever had a tampon lost or stuck?