Doctor's Notes on Foreign Body, Vagina
Some objects are designed for use in a woman's vagina such as tampons, vaginal suppositories, medications delivered through the vagina, and sex toys. Foreign bodies are things not meant for insertion into the vagina that may be placed there accidentally or intentionally.
Foreign bodies in the vagina may or may not produce symptoms. Small objects inserted into the vagina generally do not cause pain. Large or sharp objects may cause pain. Symptoms of a foreign body in the vagina include
- vaginal discharge (generally foul-smelling and yellow, pink, or brown),
- vaginal bleeding,
- vaginal itching or foul odor,
- urinary symptoms such as discomfort with urination,
- vulvar discomfort due to vaginal discharge producing skin irritation, or
- abdominal or pelvic pain from placement of large objects or perforation of a foreign body into the peritoneal cavity.
Symptoms that can accompany the presence of a foreign body in the vagina include
- skin redness,
- dwelling of the vagina and vaginal entrance, and
- a rash in the vaginal area.
Symptoms of complications of a foreign body in the vagina include
- disorders of urination or bowel function,
- loss of bladder control (incontinence) or abnormal bowel function,
- blood in the urine or stool,
- fever, or
- signs of serious infection.
What Is the Treatment for a Foreign Body in the Vagina?
The treatment for a foreign body in the vagina is to remove it as soon as possible. Patients may be able to remove uncomplicated foreign bodies on their own with their fingers. People should never insert any devices, clamps, tools, or swabs on their own to remove a stuck foreign body. Patients should go to their gynecologist or an emergency room for foreign bodies they cannot remove themselves.
There is increased risk of infection the longer a foreign body stays in the vagina. If there is any pain, odor, discharge, abdominal pain, or fever associated with a retained foreign body, go to an emergency room right away. If you have a fever and severe abdominal pain and are unsure if there is a retained vaginal foreign body, go to the emergency room immediately. Patients with these symptoms may need antibiotics and possibly surgery for the retained vaginal foreign body and resulting infections.
After removal of the foreign body, if there is mild irritation, mild discharge, or residual pain, see your gynecologist for follow up.
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Abnormal Vaginal BleedingLearn about what causes abnormal vaginal bleeding (spotting in between periods), including hormonal disorders, benign or malignant tumors, blood clotting disorders, certain medications, and infections.
Dysuria (Painful Urination)Dysuria is the sensation of pain during urination and may be caused by a std or infection of the bladder, kidney, urethra, or prostate. A urinalysis will be performed to determine the bacteria causing the infection. Infections are treated with antibiotics.
Painful Intercourse (Sex)Painful intercourse or sex (dyspareunia) is pain or discomfort in a woman's labial, vaginal, or pelvic areas during or after sexual intercourse. Pain during sex can be caused by endometriosis, vaginal changes that occur during menopause, infections, and uterine fibroids or growths. The pain may be upon entry to the vagina; deep or cramping pain, and muscle spasms or tightness. Treatment for pain during intercourse is directed at the cause.
Vaginal DischargeVaginal discharge is a fluid or semisolid substance that is normal and helps keep the vagina clean. Normal vaginal discharge is clear or milky white and does not have an unpleasant odor. Bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections, or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) including trichomonas, gonorrhea, or Chlamydia can cause a change in color or odor. Symptoms of infection may include yellow-green or gray discharge, strong odor, or irritation of the genitals. Treatment depends on the infection.
Vaginal InfectionsVaginal infections, or vaginitis, describe the most common medical concerns women have in the area of their reproductive organs. Vaginitis is an inflammation of the vagina that creates discharge, odor, and other symptoms.
What Is Normal Vaginal Discharge?Vaginal discharge describes fluid or mucus that comes from the vagina. Vaginal discharge helps protect the vagina and urinary tract from infections and helps lubricate vaginal tissues. A certain amount of vaginal discharge is normal, unless it occurs with bothersome symptoms.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.