Can You Get Toxic Shock Syndrome From Wearing Tampons?

Tampons, especially super-absorbent varieties, can increase the risk of toxic shock syndrome (TSS), a rare but potentially deadly disease that affects menstruating women.

The Woman Post | Carolina Rodríguez Monclou

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In 2012, 24-year-old model Lauren Wasser went through the life-threatening symptoms of toxic shock syndrome (TSS). At that time, Lauren was on her period and using tampons. She experienced flu-like symptoms, renal failure, and two heart attacks, leading to a hopeless diagnosis. Doctors gave Wasser a 1% chance of survival and had to amputate her right leg. Luckily, she survived.

Nevertheless, in 2018, due to some health complications, her left leg was amputated as well. After being in a wheelchair for months, the young model had to learn to walk again. Nowadays, Wasser has golden prosthetic legs that allow her to play basketball.

Lauren is a survivor of toxic shock syndrome, a multi-system illness occurring in primarily healthy people of any age group. This life-threatening condition was initially described in 1978 and had peak incidents in 1980. TSS was, from the beginning, linked to a series of menstrual-associated causes, specifically tampon use.

Causes of Toxic Shock Syndrome

According to a study conducted by Dr. Mehreen Rathore and Duke University Health System, TSS is due to tampon use in about 50% of cases. However, toxic shock syndrome isn't limited to tampons. Other triggers include: Surgical wound infection, mastitis, septorhinoplasty, sinusitis, osteomyelitis, arthritis, burns, cutaneous or subcutaneous lesions, respiratory infections following influenza, or enterocolitis.

In short, super-absorbent tampons can raise a woman's chances of getting it. So can: unclean cuts or burns, surgical cuts, and wounds from childbirth. According to WebMD, these attract the types of bacterial infections that cause toxic shock. The human health and well-being corporation explain, "The bacteria release toxins in your blood. And the toxins can spread to your organs, seriously damaging them."

Symptoms of Toxic Shock Syndrome

Some toxic shock syndrome symptoms are high fever, light-headedness or fainting, vomiting, headache or muscle pain, and a sunburn-like rash.


Treatment for Toxic Shock Syndrome

Common treatments for TSS include antibiotics, fluid through a being (IV), and medication for low blood pressure. In several cases, some people need dialysis for kidney failure, a machine that helps them breathe, surgery to remove badly infected tissues, and an operation to drain the infection.

How Can Toxic Shock Syndrome Be Prevented?

To lower your chances of toxic shock, doctors recommend washing your hands often and keeping wounds and surgical cuts clean (if they're red or swollen, call the doctor). If you use tampons:

-Choose the lowest absorbency you can.

-Change them at least every 4 to 8 hours.

-Switch between tampons and sanitary pads

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