For a small piece of cotton, tampons can sure cause a lot of problems.

My own personal tampon horror-story came when I’d gone out one night (tampon very much intact). I went to change it, and the old one was just gone. No trace. Obviously I had knickers on so it hadn’t just fell onto the floor somewhere, and I checked multiple times that it hadn’t gone walkabout. I wonder to this day where it is, and hope I’ll eventually get some answers to my many, many questions. My mystery tampon tale isn’t the only distressing and weird thing to happen with the much-maligned menstrual product. Other women shared their stories with us:

Petra, 26 ‘The first time i tried to use a tampon it was my friend’s 13th birthday swimming pool party and I put it in, stood up, then passed out and hit my head on the sink. ‘I spent the next two hours sat in a bath/retching into the toilet trying to pull it out… All at a friend’s house while her mum looked after me.’

Karen, 24 ‘It was the day of the royal wedding and I spent the late afternoon and evening with tampon number 1. ‘After drinking all day I came home and got ready for bed, but not realising how drunk I was and not realising I hadn’t taken tampon number 1 out, put another one in and went to bed. ‘I woke up in the morning in total agony. I’m talking cramps and shooting pains from my abdomen, my face was so hot too, my cheeks were bright red and I immediately started panicking. ‘I knew it wasn’t a hangover and I’d never had cramps that severe before. I got out of bed and couldn’t stand upright, so I ran hunched over to the bathroom where I was actually horrified to see two strings. ‘After removing both I still couldn’t stand straight without being in agony so I just had to lie in bed and Google symptoms of TSS and wait to see if any of them would manifest but they didn’t and the pain disappeared after a few hours. That was obviously years ago but it still gives me the fear because I know I’m lucky I didn’t get TSS.’

Heather, 24 ‘First time I ever used one, I was still a virgin. Basically I somehow got it up there but when I tried to take it out it got stuck behind my hymen which was apparently substantially still there. ‘It was literally so painful, and I had to sit on the floor in front of a mirror trying to ease it out, ripping said hymen partially on its way out. ‘I didn’t use one again for like a year through fear. It was so so painful, and the string broke when I was trying to pull it out so had to get it out without one.’

Carla, 54 ‘I got drunk and couldn’t remember if I taken it out or not. I looked for it the next day and couldn’t find it, but there was no more blood which obviously isn’t the way a period dwindles off ‘It was in the back of my mind that it was still there and I was concerned, so I booked a smear test – I was due one anyway. By the time a week had passed I KNEW it must be still there because there was a smell that was alien to me. ‘Anyway it was the nurse at the GP that found it. I was lucky because that could have ended very differently. ‘I left the doctors feeling mortified and I never felt safe wearing tampons after that. Even with the inconvenience of pads, they were worth it.’ 

Ria, 30 ‘I once changed a tampon after a nightshift. I thought I had taken the old one out before I showered, but turns out no… ‘I only realised when I woke up and changed again. I took two out together and was very confused for a good five minutes, whoops. Also YUCK.’

Tampons are not for everyone. If you do use them, remember to change them every four to eight hours. Also, go for the lowest absorbency tampon for your needs. For those thinking about using tampons for the first time, read the instructions thoroughly to avoid any embarrassing moments. 

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AuthorBonjour Jolie