What You Need to Know About Toxic Shock Syndrome

Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) is a disease caused by Staphylococcus bacteria with 90% of all cases occurring in menstruating women. While the exact connection between the bacteria and tampons has not been determined most researchers have found that higher absorbency tampons are more likely to cause TSS. Though TSS is rare (1 in 100,000) it is a very serious disease and it important that you not only know the symptoms but also how to avoid it.

The first, and most obvious, symptom of TSS is a sudden high fever of 102 degrees along with a sudden drop in blood pressure. These two symptoms are often accompanied with generalized pain along with a headache and a rash that looks a lot like a sun burn. Usually right around the time the fever becomes present diarrhea and/or vomiting also occurs.

If you notice any of these symptoms while you are using a tampon remove the tampon immediately. Once it is removed you should seek medical treatment as soon as possible particularly if you are a teenager since women under 30, especially teenagers, are at a greater risk for TSS. Remember while TSS is rare it can lead to death if not treated immediately so do not hesitate to visit your local emergency room if your doctor is unable to see you.

Before you get nervous keep in mind there are ways to prevent the disease entirely. The easiest way is to not use tampons at all if you can help it but if you are like me, and prefer tampons, use one that has less absorbency such as junior or slim fit along with a panty liner. Or you can refrain from using any super absorbency and stick to regular tampons. Regardless of what you use it is always a good idea to change tampons frequently, at least every 6-8 hours, and alternate with pads when you can.

Lastly if you think you may have experienced TSS or at last some of the major symptoms (high fever and rash) then consult your physician just to be sure. Also try to use pads for awhile until you get the approval of your personal physician or gynecologist. It may be a pain but it is much better to be safe than sorry.

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