Can I Get Toxic Shock Syndrome From My Tampon?

How does a small cylinder of cotton cause something that sounds so extreme like toxic shock syndrome?! Did you know TSS can occur from tampon use? Although, if you are a tampon user, there’s no need to be scared. Don’t throw them away! They’re still great for our periods. We’re just here to spill all the facts that can help you stay healthy and make informed decisions to stay safe and steer clear from the slim chances of getting it. TSS is very rare and is not brought on by regular tampon use!

What Is Toxic Shock Syndrome?

Toxic shock syndrome is an extreme overgrowth of Staphylococcus bacteria. You may already have this type of bacteria in your body, but it’s harmless and doesn’t cause any symptoms! The problem is only when these Staph bacteria multiply out of control. Certain environments encourage them to grow a lot faster than normal and produce harmful toxins. When these toxins enter the body and bloodstream, that’s when they can produce serious infections.

Recognizing TSS Symptoms

By now you might be thinking, “Well, what are the first signs of toxic shock syndrome?” Most tampon users face a very low risk of developing TSS,  but it’s still super important to know what to look for! Toxic shock syndrome usually comes with several early warning signs:

  •     Vomiting

  •     Dizziness

  •     High fever

  •     Chills

  •     Muscle aches

TSS can also cause sunburn-like rashes on the palms and soles of the feet. After the initial onset, TSS can progress to fainting and seizures. Patients are usually treated with IV fluids and antibiotics that fight the infection. If it’s in its later stages, treatment may involve dialysis and intensive care. If it is left untreated, TSS leads to kidney failure and death.

Responsible Tampon Use Tips

Hey, it’s nothing to worry about! Just be mindful. Most people who use tampons won’t develop TSS at all. Any tampon-associated cases occurred when they were left inside the body for extremely lengthy periods of time. That’s because conditions became ideal for the Staph bacteria to greatly multiply and produce the toxins that trigger TSS. Keep in mind, however, that TSS also happens with burns, surgical incisions and skin infections.

So, how long does it take to get toxic shock syndrome from a tampon? Well, it doesn’t actually happen within just a few hours or even a day. We’re talking about extreme lengths of time, as in several days at a stretch. With normal use according to package directions, you’re safe. Here’s a few helpful pointers to remember:

  •     Change tampons at least every 4 to 6 hours – or more often if your flow is heavy!

  •     Consider using tampons on your light flow days.

  •     Wash your hands before putting in or removing a tampon.

Menstrual products should be stored in a cool, dry place to prevent contamination and moisture buildup. Your bedroom is actually better for storage since your bathroom can develop high levels of humidity. It’s also a good idea to choose the lowest absorbency tampons for your flow and shop organic tampons that are chemical-free, biodegradable and hypoallergenic. 

Good Menstrual Hygiene is Essential

It’s so important to create responsible period practices! Your self-care should focus on treating your body right with making smart choices and using natural products that are good for your body and the environment. From chemical-free tampons to organic pads online, there are so many options to choose what’s best for you!