You might know this story. Lauren Wasser, a 24 year old model living in LA, becomes feverish one night. Assuming the flu, Wasser doesn’t seek further medical attention, but the symptoms worsen. She wakes up in the hospital, having suffered a heart attack. Her internal organs shutting down and no one knows what’s wrong. The parents are told to prepare for the worse. As a last attempt, the doctors bring in the infectious disease specialist. He asks, “Does she have a tampon in?”
Toxic Shock Syndrome, or TSS, gained national attention in the 1980s when super absorbent tampons were introduced to consumers. The infection can begin with an abrasion or cut that becomes inflamed when contacting bacterial toxins. This bacteria is better known as a Staph infection (staphylococcus aureus). It can spread rapidly, leaving the body in chaos and often completely shut down.
Kotex in the 80s, determined to take advantage of the industry, began to sell cheaply made tampons. No more 100% cotton. With little to no warnings included, women became far more susceptible to the deadly disease. After several cases of contraction and death, there was a rise in awareness. Doctors and schools began to alert patients do the possibility. Yet today many women still don’t know the repercussions.
Some quick tips about tampon safety!
Don’t leave it in for too long. Though the chances of getting TSS are very low, it’s important to follow the label. No more than 4-8 hours. Especially be careful when sleeping with it if you know you’ll be sleeping more than 8 hours.
The absorbency should correlate with your flow. No need for extra-super if you’re at the end of your cycle.
Talk to your GYWN if you have any questions! That’s what they are there for.
And this isn’t just for women. TSS is an infection that can impact anyone with a cut. Staph doesn’t take sides. Finally, no need to be afraid of tampons! ScienceFM loves tampons, but awareness is key so watch out and read labels. Make sure you know what you are sticking in your body. We are all big fans of safe ladies here and above all, safe vaginas.
For more information on the subject, check out here and here.