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Toxic Shock Syndrome Is Shockingly Real

It can be shocking (pun intended) but if you are following the right practices there shouldn't be anything to worry about. Here's a break down of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS).

TSS occurs when bacteria Staphylococcus aureus releases a toxin into the bloodstream which causes symptoms of shock. It was first detected in 1978 but was only found to be associated with tampon use in the 1980s and 90s. However, it is important to know that anyone with Staph infection can potentially develop TSS from things like cuts, burns and recent surgery. However, TSS occurs in less than 1 million people, and tampon related TSS has declined since changes in tampon manufacture with increased awareness. [1]

Better education on menstrual health and TSS (toxic shock syndrome) is needed for the future generation.

More Facts about Toxic Shock Syndrome:

  • TSS can become life threatening fast, can cause organ failure and some patients have had amputations as a result of the spreading toxin.

  • Symptoms can include; diarrhoea  high temperature, dizziness, vomiting, aching muscles, headache, low blood pressure and red rash. These symptoms could easily be for various illnesses and you can imagine how people wouldn’t just jump to the conclusion it’s TSS straight away. If you experience these symptoms remove your tampon straight away and seek medical attention.

  • You can be affected by TSS even if you change your tampon frequently.

  • Using tampons like supers with a higher absorbency puts you at a higher risk.

  • TSS is most commonly seen in adolescents.

[1] [2]

It's time to pay attention to what we use inside the vagina. Beware that insertion and removal can be abrasive for some people.   

How to reduce your risk of getting TSS:

  • Wash your hands before inserting a tampon

  • Use the lowest absorbency tampon possible. For example if you don’t need to use a super tampon at the end of your period when your flow isn’t as heavy then trade it for something with a lower absorbency or a pad. 

  • Try not to wear tampons for 4-5 days straight. Alternate between pads and tampons.

  • Change your tampon frequently (at least every 4 hours). Don’t  wear them overnight.

  • Insert tampons carefully to ensure you don’t scratch your vaginal wall.

  • If you do get sick on your period tell your doctor straight up you’ve been using tampons.

  • Making the switch to 100% organic cotton tampons will reduce your risk greatly.

  • A reusable option for tampons is a menstrual cup. 


Are you a tampon or pad person? 

We hope you might have learned at least one thing that you didn’t already know about Toxic Shock Syndrome.

Now with healthier options of period products to choose from, a better connection with your menstrual health can be formed building on self care and self love.

All the love to you and your ovaries!



[1] http://theconversation.com/toxic-shock-syndrome-is-rare-be-vigilant-but-not-alarmed-90302

[2] https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/toxic-shock-syndrome-tss

December 31, 2018 — hannahpad NZ