Although Toxic Shock Syndrome is believed to be quite rare, when left untreated it can be a potentially life threatening condition. Unfortunately, many women fail to understand the risks and dangers of this serious condition, and may feel too embarrassed or self-conscious to seek the necessary advice from a medical professional.
In an effort to make information about Toxic Shock Syndrome more readily available and women more aware of this serious condition, let’s explore some of the most frequently asked questions about Toxic Shock Syndrome:
What is Toxic Shock Syndrome?
Toxic Shock Syndrome is a life threatening condition caused by a bacterial toxin. While Toxic Shock Syndrome is most commonly tied to overexposure to tampons in women, it may also be caused by bacterial toxins entering the skin, generally via recently damaged areas such as burns, cuts, and abrasions.
How common is Toxic Shock Syndrome?
A study performed and published by Patrick Schlievert in 2004 has determined that Toxic Shock Syndrome generally affects three to four tamp-using women in every one-hundred-thousand per year, though studies by tampon manufacturers such as Tampax and Stayfree claim that the number may be as high as seventeen women per one-hundred-thousand per year.
Is it safe to use tampons?
When proper hygienic measures are taken, yes. While no exact cause has been determined as to why women using tampons are affected, an obvious link between tampon overexposure and Toxic Shock Syndrome does indeed exist. Some specialists claim that high-absorbency tampons are to blame, though this has never been proven scientifically or otherwise.
What are the symptoms of Toxic Shock Syndrome?
Common symptoms include flu-like aches and pains, headache, fatigue, abdominal cramps, sore throat, sudden onset of fever (generally over one-hundred-two degrees Fahrenheit), diarrhea, vomiting, low blood pressure, rapid heart beat, nausea, confusion, restlessness, sun burn-like rash (commonly affecting the arm pits and groin areas), severe pain at the infection site, redness in nasal passages, sepsis, and even tissue death.
How is Toxic Shock Syndrome Treated?
Treatment of Toxic Shock Syndrome typically consists of a strong course of antibiotics, as well as fluid management and treatment of any complications caused by the condition.
What can I do to prevent Toxic Shock Syndrome?
While little is known about prevention of Toxic Shock Syndrome, it is recommended to change tampons frequently and avoid maximum-absorbency tampons unless absolutely necessary. Maintain safe hygiene practices, keep all wounds properly disinfected, and always finish prescribed antibiotics (no matter what condition the medication was prescribed for).