Toxic shock syndrome is a rare but serious medical condition that is the result of a bacteria infection from a retained tampon or IUD. It’s important for women to be vigilant and to take the proper precautions. 

Men can get it too

Most commonly linked to tampon use in menstruating women, this condition can affect men, children, and people of all ages as in bacteria enters your body through an opening in your skin like a cut, sore, or other wound. Other ways to contract the condition are through the use of a diaphragm or vaginal sponge to prevent pregnancy, childbirth or an open cut. 

The symptoms are misleading

Although symptoms may vary from person to person, TSS symptoms can seem flu like. Some of the common symptoms include a sudden fever low blood pressure headache muscle aches confusion diarrhea nausea vomiting rash redness of eyes, mouth, and throat seizures. If you experience the above symptoms after using tampons or after a surgery or skin injury, contact your doctor immediately.

You can prevent TSS

After a spate of TSS in the 70’s and 80’s doctors recommended that super absorption tampons were the cause and that you should use the lowest absorption tampon so changing the tampon is more frequent. The recommended time for using a tampon is every 4 -6 hours and never leaving one in for more than 8 hours. 

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Tampons can expire

Do you remember your health educator ever mentioning to you that tampons expire? No? Whilst there is no direct link between toxic shock syndrome and expired sanitary products, since TSS is linked to hygiene then it pays to check this once small detail. Regular tampons are considered okay as they are cotton but scented products should be checked as the fragrance may deteriorate leading to irritation and infection.

It can be treated

TSS caught early, can be treated with antibiotics and fluids. As a precaution there may also be an overnight hospital stay. With TSS, the sooner it is detected the better off you’ll be. If you suspect you have TSS, remove the tampon and seek medical attention immediately.