Can tampons give me toxic shock syndrome?

Saturday, 26 December 2015

A friend recently told me about “Toxic Shock Syndrome” – I had never heard about it before. Could you please give me some of the facts regarding it. How common is it and can it really be fatal?


Health expert Dr Graham Duncombe from Skin & Body Renewal responds:

“Many people are unaware of this condition. Toxic shock syndrome can potentially be fatal, but with proper medical treatment patients normally recover completely within two to three weeks. It is caused by a bacterial toxin, most commonly from the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus or Streptococcus pyrogenes. The most common symptoms of toxic shock include skin rash, fever, nausea, vomiting, weakness, muscle pain, low blood pressure, and confusion which can progress to multiple organ failure and coma if left untreated. Hospitalisation is often required for the treatment of this condition due to its severity and rapid progress. Treatment includes clearing the original infection with antibiotics, and fluid replacement with a drip.

Toxic shock syndrome occurs more commonly in menstruating woman who use high absorbency tampons. Hyper absorbent tampons may increase the risk for bacterial infection because their prolonged use enhances bacterial growth. You can reduce your risk by using a tampon with minimum absorbency needed to control your flow and changing them often as directed. Sleeping with a tampon is not recommended and can increase your risk for developing toxic shock syndrome by doing so.”

Ask Dr Duncombe your health-related questions here.

Other articles you may be interested in:
How to: Prepare for your daughter’s first period
The HPV virus: What you need to know
How can I treat my PMS?
Understanding ovulation
Attack of the hormones

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  1. Luche Gomes Balanco

    I heard of this before! That is why I change my tampon very regularly to keep it hygienic as possible.

    3 years ago •

  1. Tessa Davies

    It’s amazing how easily this can happen and people don’t really know about it.

    3 years ago •

  1. Tanya Lawrence

    Thanks for making me aware of this – very helpful. I had no idea something like this existed.

    3 years ago •

  1. Cookie Nandlall

    Good read. I was not aware Toxic Shock Syndrome until i read this article.

    3 years ago •

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