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Signs and Symptoms Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS)

Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) is a rare but life-threatening bacterial infection that can affect women, men, and even children. In a woman’s case, the risk factors for TSS can be caused by the use of tampons, menstrual cups, contraceptive sponges or diaphragms in addition to skin wounds and/or infections.

According to The National Organization for Rare Disorders, the correlation between Toxic Shock Syndrome and tampon use is an average of 1 in 100,000 women. Although Toxic Shock Syndrome is quite rare, the consequences are very detrimental. This article covers the various symptoms of Toxic Shock Syndrome and ways to reduce your risk of this complication.

Symptoms of Toxic Shock Syndrome

It is crucial to call or see your doctor immediately if you show signs of TSS, especially if you have recently used tampons or have any skin wounds or infections.

The following are signs of TSS:
  • -A sudden high fever
  • -Low blood pressure
  • -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

Ways to Reduce Your Risk

-Take the time to research the brand of tampons you choose to use. You should be opting the use of tampons with the lowest absorbency you need . Check the labeling of sizes and adjust accordingly to your flow during your cycle.

-Wash your hands before and after inserting or removing tampons.

-Change your tampons frequently: Every 4-6 hours is recommended. If possible, avoid using a tampon when going to bed unless you plan on waking up to change it out. Consider using an overnight pad instead for optimal coverage and comfort.

-Do not use tampons for other uses other than for your menstrual period. For example, vaginal discharge.

-Do not use tampons if you have any skin infections around the vaginal area.

-If vaginal dryness is an issue for the use of tampons, use lubricant when inserting a tampon to avoid vaginal irritation around the lining.