What To Do If A Condom Gets Stuck Inside Your Vagina
There’s a reason we call our Co-Founder Dr Sarah Welsh, “the girl who looks at vaginas all day”. A gynae doctor who formerly worked in NHS sexual health, gynaecology and obstetrics, she’s seen it all from the other side of the speculum - and isn’t afraid to answer those TMI questions up your sleeve. This Sexual Health Month, we’re taking on the NSFW topic that people always, always ask: what to do if something gets stuck inside your vagina. You might have heard about it from a friend, seen a plea for help on Reddit or experienced it yourself - but it’s a truth usually unspoken that when you put things inside your vagina, they don’t always come out as easily as you’d expect... From condoms, to sex toys, to tampons, it can be a startling experience that no one ever really talks about. Don’t worry, we've got you covered with Dr Sarah Welsh’s top tips.
What to do if the condom gets stuck
Sometimes if you’re really going at it, or your partner or dildo isn’t wearing the right size, the condom can come off and get temporarily wedged inside your vagina. First things first, take a deep breath! Remain calm and try these straightforward steps:
- Empty your bladder: before you try anything else, head to the bathroom and have a wee. This can help relieve any pressure that might be causing discomfort (and help avoid cystitis and UTIs, too).
- Get comfortable: find a comfortable position that allows you to relax and pop a finger or two inside your vagina more easily. Try standing with one foot on a stool, squatting down or lying on your back with your legs raised and knees apart.
- Be gentle: use your fingers to reach into your vagina and gently locate the condom. If you can get a grip on it, gradually draw it out, being careful not to rush or cause yourself any extra discomfort. If it’s tricky, you could ask the Samantha Jones to your Carrie Bradshaw to assist you in retrieving the condom. Hey, if NYC’s queen of PR isn’t afraid to dive in to remove a stuck diaphragm, your BFF should be able to step up, too!
- Seek help if needed: if you're having no luck retrieving the condom or experiencing any pain, don't hesitate to reach out for professional assistance. A healthcare provider or gynaecologist can help you safely and comfortably remove it. Trust me, I retrieved more lost condoms (and many other items) in my NHS career than you’ve had Pret sandwiches...
- Consider emergency contraception: if your partner has a penis and pregnancy is a possibility e.g. if you’re not on any form of hormonal contraception (e.g. the pill or implant), you may need to take the morning after pill swiftly. If in doubt, have a chat with your local sexual health centre, GP or pharmacy.
What To Do If A Tampon Gets Stuck
No, tampons don’t ‘get lost inside you’. It’s easy to panic if you’re on your period and your tampon won’t come out, or feels like it’s broken inside you. Firstly, try to relax your muscles as tension can make it harder to remove. Find a comfortable position, like sitting on the toilet or squatting down. Take a deep breath and gently insert a finger into your vagina to feel for the tampon string (you might find a little lube on your finger helps). If you can feel the string, gently pull it to remove the tampon. If you can't feel the string or have trouble removing it, don't panic! Rather than fretting on your own, it's best to reach out to a healthcare professional, especially if you are experiencing any of the below symptoms:
- unpleasant smells or vaginal discharge
- pelvic pain or stomach pains
- pain when you pee
- a high temperature
- itchiness, redness or swelling around your vagina
If you have noticed a tampon may have been stuck inside you for some time, then it’s really important that it's removed If you are not having any luck yourself or want to be certain, head to your doctor or A&E for review. Ideally, tampons should not stay inside your vagina for more than 8 hours to reduce your risk of a dangerous (but rare) condition called toxic shock syndrome. Many times I've examined a worried patient for a lost tampon, and confirmed that their vagina was empty. It is better to be safe and get help in these circumstances!
What to do if a toy - or something else - gets stuck
Dildos, wands and butt plugs: we’re all for expanding your sexual repertoire. However, with experimentation sometimes comes sticky situations. If you find that a toy gets stuck inside your vagina, it's important to stay calm. Remember, this is more common than you may think if you use penetrative toys thanks to strong muscles of the vaginal canal. Take a deep breath, relax, and try gently squatting down. This can help shift the toy downwards, making it easier to remove. If that doesn't work, another effective trick is to cough or bear down as if you're using the bathroom. This manoeuvre can create some natural pressure, helping the toy to come out naturally. If not, head to your local GP, sexual health clinic or accident and emergency.
Humans are both horny and curious and I’ve retrieved everything from cucumbers to golf balls from mildly shy to very embarrassed patients. If you’re in the mood for playtime, avoid repurposing household objects as these aren’t designed for sexy times. Often, they have sharp aspects or pieces that can break during masturbation or sex, which can cause soreness, increase the risk of trauma, and are just generally unsuitable for your vagina. We recommend checking out Finebone, Knude Society or our own mini suction toy, Cindy, for safe and sensual play.
Having a condom, tampon or toy stuck inside your vagina might feel embarrassing to talk to a doctor about. However, from my time in NHS sexual health, I can tell you from experience that medical professionals really do see it as a problem to be solved. They’re set on making sure you’re safe, comfortable and healthy and aren’t judging you for what’s happening with your body. Remember, if you head to the doctor or hospital for help, you can advocate for yourself and your comfort level. That includes:
- Choosing the gender of your doctor/nurse/healthcare professional
- Having someone with you during your appointment
- Ensuring a chaperone (such as a healthcare provider alongside the doctor) is also present - this is standard practice in the UK.
- Asking the health professional to stop at any point you’re uncomfortable. They will listen to you throughout the examination and not do anything you’re uncomfortable with.
Good luck and don’t panic…