What do you know about Toxic Shock Syndrome?

by Amanda Hearn · 9 comments

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TSSDid you know that anyone who uses a traditional tampon is at risk for Toxic Shock Syndrome, or TSS?
Brands like Tampax, Playtex, Kotex and OB, just to name a few, are among those to watch out for.

What is TSS, and why is there a risk with traditional tampons?
TSS is the result of the common bacteria, Staphylococcus Aureus, producing a toxin which is absorbed into the bloodstream.  It quickly takes over the body and begins to attack the major organs. It can manifest similarly to the flu, with symptoms like sore throat, achy muscles, fever, nausea, rash, confusion, dizziness, low blood pressure and diarrhea. While these symptoms might seem like a common flu, if you ever have them during your menstrual cycle, call your physician!  TSS can be fatal.

The cause for the relationship to traditional tampons is that they contain synthetic fibers which not only leave tiny abrasions in the vagina, giving direct access to the bloodstream, but also because synthetic fibers do not breathe like natural fibers.  They provide the perfect breeding grounds for bacteria, like the strain that can cause TSS.  Half of all know cases of TSS are related to tampon use.  It is also associated with diaphragm birth control methods and contraceptive sponges.

Thankfully there is an alternative.
Choosing 100% organic cotton tampons, a reusable menstrual cup or menstrual pads can eliminate the risk.  No one has ever reported TSS as the result of using a 100% cotton tampon.  Brands like Maxim Hygiene and Seventh Generation are great options.  Additionally, reusable cups like Lunette & Diva Cup offer the same claim, and are oh so friendly to your body.  I’m a total cup girl, I can’t deny it.

You can read all about why you don’t want to use traditional menstrual products here (and what ones to give a try!)

Want to learn more about TSS and how you can help?  Visit You-ARE-Loved.org

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous January 28, 2012 at 5:39 am

Very well written. Thank you so much for getting correct facts about TSS out to the public. My daughter died of TSS just 18 months ago while using a regular absorbancy Playtex tampon, and changing like clockwork. You may just save a life with this post!

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Anonymous August 7, 2012 at 5:11 pm

Sorry for your loss, but I had went through te same situation DR’s put me in comma to try to fight the infection but thank god I am here, I thought I was not going to make it, I was for three months in the hospital on and off, I am so depressed because I cannot longer wear shorts because of my burns but then I say to myself I rather not wear shorts and give thanks to the man up above for giving a second chance at life…

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Amanda Hearn January 28, 2012 at 5:02 pm

Thank you for you kind words. I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I have two daughters of my own, though young. I am thankful to have this information for them when they are old enough to need it. So many women simply are not informed. I know I wasn't.

I hope that this posts, and others like it, do help.

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Theresa April 30, 2012 at 7:46 am

Thanks for the list of signs and symptoms of TSS. It’s important to be aware of these things.

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Anonymous August 7, 2012 at 5:06 pm

I last year went to ER for the toxic shock I never did use any tampons
I was in a comma for seven days trying to fight the infection.

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Samantha Lippard May 6, 2013 at 6:33 am

I am so glad I switched to the Diva Cup!

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