Toxic Shock Syndrome is a rare and life threatening complication due to a bacterial infection which is most often associated with women's hygiene products such as Tampons, and even some contraceptives such as the Sponge. The type of bacterial infection that manifests into Toxic Shock Syndrome is associated with the Staph bacteria, although the condition can also arise from the toxins produced by the Strep bacteria which is also known as group A streptococcus.
Although this type of rare and fatal infection occurs mostly in women who are menstruating, it does not rule out the smaller percentage of both men and children whom are affected by this rare infection which can enter the bloodstream by open wounds, cuts or even surgeries.
For menstruating women, it is especially important to pay attention to warning signs of Toxic Shock Syndrome which most tampon products include information sheets about this type of infection. Although researchers are still trying to understand the underlying causes of Toxic Shock, it is believed that leaving a super absorbent tampon in for too long can create a reaction within the body that interacts with bacteria that builds within the vagina which can then enter the bloodstream from abrasions to the vaginal wall created by the tampon fibers. Women who use tampons are advised to change them by the recommended time periods which are often listed within tampon products.
Symptoms of Toxic Shock Syndrome are listed below.
A quick and sudden high fever
Hypotension- Low blood pressure
A rash that appears on the palms of the hands or bottom of the feet which could resemble a strong sunburn is common. This type of rash could lead to the peeling or flaking of the skin and rashy tissue
Muscle aches and pains
Disorientation or confusion
Redness of the throat, mouth or eyes
Because this type of infection is so fast acting, it is essential to contact a physician immediately if these symptoms occur, especially with women who are menstruating or have just completed their menstrual cycle and have been using tampons in the process. It is also advised that women who have experienced Toxic Shock Syndrome in the past, or who have had serious Staph infections, to not use tampons at all, as it may increase the potential and risk to develop Toxic Shock Syndrome that could result in a fatality.
Women who are also recovering from giving birth from a pregnancy are also advised to use pads during their first postnatal menstruation during the time in which their reproductive organs return to their original shape, to prevent infection.