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Ask Dr. Norm S. Your Own Question
Dr. Norm S.
Dr. Norm S., Board Certified OB/GYN
Category: OB GYN
Satisfied Customers: 11297
Experience:  Over 30 years of experience in OB/GYN practice, including teaching students. Fellow of American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
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Left a in for 5 days and have lower back pain

Left a tampon in for... Show More

Left a tampon in for 5 days and now have lower back pain (right side) that started the day before I removed it (yesterday) - could this be an infection or just muscle pain from the ordeal? Odour & brown discharge stopped immediately after removing tampon and no other symptoms. Thanks

Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: OB GYN
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replied 3 years ago.
Hello and welcome.
I am Dr. Norm, and I look forward to helping you today.

When did your last period start?
Do you have any other symptoms? Any fever? Bowel movements normal?
Do you use anything for brith control? Thank you.
Customer reply replied 3 years ago.

Hi Dr Norm


My last period started on Friday 13th. I havent been using tampons much of late but this month had a very heavy flow on the saturday and so was using both tampon (medium) and sanitary towel. I was particularly distracted over the weekend with various events but do remember checking and seeing no string so assumed I must have automatically removed it and just didnt remember doing so (auto pilot).


I have no other symptoms now other than lower back pain (right side) - I started to get the odour and brown discharge on Thursday and back pain on Friday when I realised something was up. I checked inside for a tampon yesterday (Saturday) after an online search and was horrified to find it. I removed it so quickly and flushed it away before thinking to check if there was a string attached but I can feel nothing else inside. The odour and brown discharge disappeared immediately after removing it but the lower back pain discomfort is still there today?


I am not taking any birth control as we are trying for a baby. Bowel movements are fine but this morning I have needed to go to the toilet more frequently to urinate so wonder if its a kidney/urine infection due to the tampon being in side for so long? I have not other symptoms and feel perfectly fine otherwise


Hope that provides enough detail. thank you.

Dr. Norm S., Board Certified OB/GYN replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for the detail.

Leaving a tampon inside happens fairly regularly. It usually causes a foul smelling discharge, but that usually clears well once the tampon is removed.

I've never seen an infection develop from leaving a tampon inside, but I suppose it's possible. However, the fact that the odor and discharge disappeared make an infection unlikely.

I would guess that there is another reason for your lower back discomfort. You might be developing and ovarian cyst, or perhaps it's the lower back pain that many of us suffer from occasionally.

I think it would be safe for you to give it a little time and see whether the back pain goes away, or perhaps whether you develop any other symptoms. If you continue to urinate more frequently, I would get your urine checked to see if there may be an infection. I don't think leaving a tampon in would lead to a urinary infection, but it's probably possible.

If the string was still inside, I think you would still be having the odor, so I think it came out with the tampon.
Customer reply replied 3 years ago.

Thank you

Dr. Norm S., Board Certified OB/GYN replied 3 years ago.
You're welcome.