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Toxic Shock Syndrome

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Every time we teach a patient how to use tampons, the question comes up: “Are tampons safe? And what about Toxic Shock Syndrome?

Staphylococcal toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is an acute infection caused by S aureus strains and can be found in a variety of clinical situations such as barrier contraceptives, vaginal and cesarean deliveries, surgical and postpartum wound infections, mastitis, sinusitis, burns, skin ulcers, respiratory infections, and more.

TSS can happen regardless of menstruation.  As a matter of fact, TSS incidents have dropped significantly since the removal of high-absorbency tampons from the market several years ago and 50% of today’s reported cases are non-menstrual.

Bottom line: tampons are safe as long as you use them appropriately and do not ‘forget’ them inside you…  And, as always, contact your physician should you experience unusual symptoms such as fever, rash, vomiting, a drop in blood pressure, disorientation, etc.

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  • womentc says:

    Dear Jenna:
    When used properly, tampons are perfectly safe and they do not stop natural flow, only collect it closer to its exit (cervix) instead of outside the vagina.
    That said, thank you for informing readers about an alternative should they be interested.