Toxic Shock Syndrome – All Symptoms, Treatment and Tampon Using Risks

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After model Lauren Wasser told her story of losing leg due to toxic shock syndrome to the Washington Post, Nexter decided to make it clear. Here is all you need to know about toxic shock syndrome – symptoms, treatment and how to get it.

Who is Lauren Wasser

Model Lauren Wasser lost part of her right leg due to toxic shock syndrome in 2012. In the interview with the Washington Post she said that still feels “excruciating pain” every day and will “inevitably” require a left leg amputation as well.
“I just lost it,” she recalled in a telephone interview with The Washington Post. “I screamed and cried. I’m an athlete — my legs were everything. I had no idea what my life would be like without them.”


Wasser was on her period and using tampons in 2012 when she developed toxic shock syndrome.

After the amputation Wasser devoted her time for warning women about potential risks associated with tampons and calling for more transparency regarding feminine hygiene products.

What is toxic shock syndrome?

Toxic shock syndrome is a rare but serious medical condition typically caused by toxins from the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, or staph. This condition can affect men, children, and people of all ages.

What are the Symptoms?

Symptoms of toxic shock syndrome can vary from person to person. In most cases, symptoms appear suddenly. Common signs of this condition include: sudden fever, low blood pressure, headache, muscle aches, confusion, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, rash, redness of eyes, mouth, and throat and seizures.

“Toxic shock syndrome has been associated primarily with the use of superabsorbent tampons,” according to the Mayo Clinic. It “can progress rapidly,” the Mayo Clinic notes, advising: “Call your doctor immediately if you have signs or symptoms of toxic shock syndrome. This is especially important if you’ve recently used tampons or if you have a skin or wound infection.”

How to get it?

So, where’s the link between the syndrome and tampons? Experts say that the staph bacteria enters your body through a cut, sore, or other wound. There is no certain explanation why tampon use sometimes leads to the condition.

Some believe that a tampon left for a long period of time attracts bacteria. Another possibility is that tampon fibers scratch the vagina, creating an opening for bacteria to enter your bloodstream.

To get TSS today, a person would “need to have a strain of staph aureus that produces the toxin and then be the kind of person who, for genetic reasons, doesn’t make appropriate antibody response to the toxin,” Dr. Paul Sax says, medical director of the division of infectious disease at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

To avoid toxic shock syndrome you need to change tampons every four to eight hours.

“The condition is sufficiently rare that, on a practical level, I don’t feel like there’s a lot that people should do to prevent it, aside from exercising good judgment regarding the frequency of tampon replacement,” Sax says.

How to treat it?

First of all you need to talk with your doctor if you experience the above symptoms after using tampons or after a surgery or skin injury. Typically the TSS is treated with a cocktail of antibiotics, blood pressure medications and fluids, according to the Mayo Clinic, which can both treat dehydration associated with TSS and help flush toxins from the body.

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Toxic Shock Syndrome - All Symptoms, Treatment and Tampon Using Risks
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Here is all you need to know about toxic shock syndrome - symptoms, treatment and how to get it.
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