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Toxic Shock Syndrome (Part 1) – What You Need To Know




TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome) is a disorder caused by bacterial toxins (pathogen Staphylococcus aureus) that is commonly connected with menstruation products. But it can be contracted by both men and women through a variety of routes. TSS can result in death or amputation of limbs in some extreme circumstances.

The Main Culprit – Tampons

Tampons have been a major source of TSS for decades, but the peak of TSS cases occurred in the 1970s, when Proctor and Gamble's "Rely" ultra absorbent tampon caused multiple deaths. Although this tampon was withdrawn from the market, incidences involving both proper and improper tampon usage continue to be reported.

Tampon users are advised to follow the manufacturer's recommendations, avoid bleached tampons or ones made of synthetic fibres. The frequency of TSS cases linked to tampon use has decreased significantly, although the risk remains.

What Causes TSS?

TSS is caused by two bacteria strains: Staphylococcus Aureus (staph) and Group A Streptococci in some situations (strep). Staph is found naturally in 30-50 percent of healthy individuals, although only around 10-20 percent of menstruators have a staph strain in their vaginal area.

Furthermore, of this 10-20%, only 10-20% of women who carry staph vaginally are capable of releasing the TSS-1 toxin, which is the particular toxin that causes Toxic Shock Syndrome. Staph and strep are normally harmless, but in a conducive environment, they can pose a major threat.

Is It Obvious If I Have TSS?

That is an excellent question! If you develop any of the following symptoms while using a menstrual product, seek medical attention right away. Among the signs and symptoms are:

  • A sudden outbreak of high fever
    • Muscle aches
    • A rash that looks like sunburn on your palms and soles
  • Seizures
    • Severe pelvic or abdominal pain
    • Low blood pressure
    • Vomiting or diarrhoea

We think that knowledge is power, and understanding how to prevent TSS is just as vital as understanding the signs and symptoms. Although your period is an inseparable part of life, dread of TSS does not have to be. Keep an eye out for part 2; we've got you covered.