Quantcast

These Facts About Toxic Shock Syndrome Might Make You Rethink Using Tampons

Women's Health

The moment tampons entered my life (no pun intended), my feelings towards my period changed forever.


I never knew the women closest to me to use anything other than pads, but when a college friend got my life together about what I was missing out on, I opted to give tampons a shot. Instantly, I fell in love with them. They are super discreet, I can move more freely, and, to top it off, I don't feel like I'm walking around with a wet diaper on. I chucked the deuces to pads with the quickness. In fact, I can count on one hand how many times I've used pads since.

What my dear friend nor any tampon user cared to share with me was the one health risk associated with tampon use that pad users don't have to worry about: Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). Toxic Shock Syndrome is rare condition caused by bacterial toxins that enter the bloodstream and cause a life-threatening infection.

While the chances of getting TSS are very rare, it is possible and potentially fatal if not caught early on. In a recent essay with InStyle, model Lauren Wasser recounted how she fell victim to the condition and literally had to fight for her life. The infection took over rather quickly, leading to gangrene (dead tissue caused by an infection or lack of blood flow) settling into her right leg. In order to save her life, Lauren's right leg had to be amputated at the time of her hospital admission. Five years later, she is faced with the possibility of her left leg having to be amputated as well due to the damage that the bacterial infection caused years prior. Developing this condition is literally a life or death situation so it's best we educate ourselves about it.

Here are a few things that every woman should know about TSS.

Size Matters... When It Comes To Tampons & TSS

Tampon, anyone?

While tampon usage overall puts you at risk for the condition, super-absorbent tampons put you at an even greater risk. The extra absorbency is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria looking for a home. If you tend to use super-absorbent tampons, try using regular tampons and changing them more often.

TSS Can Affect Anyone, Including Men & Children

Say what?

Though TSS is primarily associated with menstruation, men can still get it by way of open wounds. This can happen as a result of cuts, burns, or bites. The same bacteria affiliated with TSS in women can enter wounds and cause a serious bacterial infection.

There's A Good Reason For The Expiration Date On A Tampon Box

As with most products intended for consumption, be wary of usage after the expiration date. For tampons, it usually takes about five years to expire and using one past its expiration date may put you at a greater risk of bacterial infection. Can tampons technically be used after their expiration date? Yes. However, tampons are not sterile and may potentially grow mold if not stored properly.

The Symptoms Are Not Easy To Connect Back To TSS

Some of the symptoms are very similar to what a woman may experience during her cycle, or even when having the flu. So, it's important to be knowledgeable of the many symptoms that TSS can lend itself to.

Some of the symptoms most commonly affiliated with TSS include:

  • A sudden high fever
  • Low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • A rash resembling a sunburn, particularly on your palms and soles
  • Confusion
  • Muscle aches
  • Redness of your eyes, mouth, and throat
  • Seizures
  • Headaches

Lastly, It Is Preventable & Treatable

If you ask me, prevention is always your best bet. The best ways to prevent TSS are:

  • To shy away from super absorbent tampons
  • Change tampons regularly (every 4-8 hours)
  • Opt to sleep with pads rather than tampons
  • Switch it up between tampons, pads, menstrual cups, and other sanitary items during your cycle

Alongside prevention methods, it is important that we are more particular of the things that they put in our bodies. Just like Lauren penned in her essay, "It is time that we, as consumers, demand safer products and more transparency about what is going into our bodies."

For more on TSS and how to prevent it, click here.

Featured image gif

I don't care if you've been with someone for several weeks or many years, if there's one thing that should be made a top priority for the entire duration of the relationship, it's both individuals, being extremely intentional, about keeping the romance alive. One way to do that is to cook together.

Keep reading... Show less
The daily empowerment fix you need.
Make things inbox official.

A big congratulations is certainly in store for the Jameses! Earlier this week, on September 14, LeBron and Savannah James celebrated their 8th year wedding anniversary. Symbolically speaking, the 8th year in marriage is usually represented by bronze. A mixed metal, bronze is durable and stronger than copper and iron (two symbols of earlier wedding anniversaries), which is why it is traditionally gifted to couples who make it to this milestone.

Keep reading... Show less

It's been 573 days since my last New York Fashion Week. That's one year, six months, and 24 days. The last time I was in Manhattan, February 2020, was just as Big Rona was placing a chokehold on the world. I would have never guessed that while I was living my best life in the NYC streets, a pandemic would soon change my life completely. Because of the state of the world, there were no shows in September and by February 2021, the fashion houses were trying to figure out how to put on runway shows which led many brands to the digital space.

Keep reading... Show less

When it comes to money, many of us are behind in ways to provide passive income strategies for our families. Particularly, something that many of us in the culture don't do enough of, is investing. It's simple, to the point, a way to make sure your family is comfortable without putting much effort into doing so.

Keep reading... Show less

There is no way for me to hide the absolute joy unspeakable that I have about the fact that fall is just a few days away (September 22)! While there are a billion-and-one things that I adore about this time of the year, one of my favorites is preparing warm dishes, on purpose, to contrast the cooler weather that's headed our way.

Keep reading... Show less
Exclusive Interviews

How Christina Milian Reclaimed Her Confidence After Overcoming Postpartum Hair Loss

The multi-hyphenate talks postpartum, love, life, and the hustle of being Christina Milian.

Latest Posts