What Every Woman Needs to Know
By now, most women have heard about Toxic Shock Syndrome, or TSS. Every time you open a new packet of tampons, you will find yourself confronted with a pamphlet warning you about the dangers of Toxic Shock Syndrome. Like most women, you probably throw this little pamphlet away without paying it much mind and like most women, you probably think you know all that there is to know about the dangers of TSS. Even if you think you know all that you need to know about Toxic Shock Syndrome, if you use tampons you should read ahead. This information could just save your life.
What is Toxic Shock Syndrome?
Toxic Shock Syndrome is a very serious medical condition that is caused by the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, which is the same bacteria present in staph infections. Staph is a very common bacteria that is generally harmless, however, it can enter the body and multiply which causes many problems. In TSS, staph bacteria makes its way into the blood stream and begins to multiply.
As the staph bacteria continues to multiply, it overpowers your body’s immune system and begins to attack your major organs. As the infection worsens and the bacteria becomes more prevalent, it can result in kidney failure, a collapsed lung, cardiac arrest and death.
What are the Symptoms of TSS?
The initial symptoms of Toxic Shock Syndrome can be quite misleading and often present as flu-like symptoms. Symptoms of Toxic Shock Syndrome can include: a sore throat; tired and achy muscles; a persistent headache; a fever that exceeds 102 degrees F; an upset stomach; diarrhea and/or vomiting; a red rash; mental fogginess; dizziness or light-headedness; or very low blood pressure.
It is important to note that if you have TSS, you might not experience all of these symptoms. However, as this condition progresses, you will find that you experience more and more symptoms and with greater severity.
If you think that you are suffering from Toxic Shock Syndrome, it is important to remove your tampon and to seek IMMEDIATE medial attention. When you talk to your doctor, make sure you let him or her know that you have been using tampons. It might also be a good idea to take along a TSS pamphlet when you go to see your doctor.
3 TSS Myths You Probably Believe:
Myth: TSS Related to Tampon Use Only Occurs if the Tampon is Used Too Long
This is untrue.
Wearing a tampon for too long increases your risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome, however, even if you change your tampon frequently, you are still at risk of developing TSS.
Myth: TSS is Caused by Using High Absorbency Tampons With a Rating of Super, Super Plus, or Ultra
This is untrue.
Again, higher absorbency tampons can increase your risk of developing TSS, however, using low absorbency tampons does not leave you in the clear. There have been many cases of Toxic Shock Syndrome that have been caused by low absorbency tampons.
Myth: All Tampons Come With the Same Risk of Developing TSS
This is untrue.
Dr. Philip Tierno, a professor of NYU’s School of Medicine, has been involved in tampon and TSS research for more than 30 years. Dr. Tierno’s research has shown that most cases of tampon related Toxic Shock Syndrome are caused by the viscose rayon fibre used in many tampons. Further, his research has found that there have never been any cases of TSS related to the use of 100% organic tampons.
How do you Reduce the Risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome?
If you are a tampon user, you are probably wondering what you can do to reduce your risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome. For starters, if you’ve had TSS in the past, it is recommended that you cease using tampons all together. Additionally, if you have experienced any unusual discharge before, or during, your period, don’t use tampons, go with pads instead.
Other tips that can help you reduce the risk of toxic shock syndrome are: ensuring you use the lowest possible absorbency needed at each stage of your period; throughout your period, switch between tampons and pads frequently; toward the end of your period, switch to using a pad; ensure that you are changing your tampon every 4-6 hours; be sure to wash your hands before and after you handle a tampon; handle a tampon as little as possible; use only 100% organic cotton tampons and pads.
Most importantly, if you believe that you are suffered from any of the symptoms related to Toxic Shock Syndrome, please get yourself to a doctor as quickly as you can.