Toxic Shock Syndrome symptoms and everything else you should know

tampons, toxic shock syndrome questions

Everything you need to know about Toxic Shock Syndrome

If you are someone who experiences the perks of having a period, the chances are high you have already heard about Toxic Shock Syndrome, or TSS. While extremely rare, it is a serious condition that we should not forget. Please remember, we do everything we can to provide you with helpful, scientifically proven and accurate information, yet this article is not medical advice. If you have any questions or suspect you might be developing TSS, please contact your GP immediately.

What is Toxic Shock Syndrome?

Toxic Shock Syndrome is a condition caused by a bacteria releasing toxins into the organism. Although the condition can be life threatening, it is very rare these days. 

TSS is associated with tampons and the fact they absorb blood. However anyone, including men, can experience the condition. We find these bacteria on our skin, in the mouth and, of course, in vagina. Under normal circumstances, they are fairly harmless. Yet, when it gets to some of the deeper body cavities, it can start producing toxins and cause the TSS. While the syndrome is most often caused by period tampons, even though it is the most often cause, there are even rare cases connected with wounds, burns, childbirth or female barrier contraceptives. 

What are the symptoms of TSS?

Toxic Shock Syndrome manifests itself through fever, cold-like symptoms, diarrhoea, sunburn-like rashes, weakness and difficulties breathing. Lips, tongue and white of the eye might also turn bright red. Confusingly though, the wound through which the bacteria got to the body might remain uninfected. Even though these symptoms might signal another disease, it’s always better to immediately contact your doctor. If you are wearing a tampon remove it immediately and let your doctor know. Without treatment, TSS might lead to organ failure and ultimately death. 

How to avoid it?

Now, don’t panic! Yes, the last sentence was dramatic, but we just want you to understand that this disease is not a joke. TSS is a very rare condition, the risk to develop it is 1 in 100 000. However, you can still do things to make the chance even slimmer. 

Hygiene plays a crucial role in avoiding TSS. There is a very low chance of getting Toxic Shock Syndrome from a menstrual cup or pads, but you still need to take precautions.

If you use our menstrual cup, remember to clean it regularly between usages, even if it’s just using toilet paper or tap water. Each beginning and end of your period, you need to sterilise the cup in boiling water (read how to do it properly here). Also, don’t leave the cup inside your vagina for more than 12 hours. If you follow these easy rules, not only you will extend the life of your period cup, but you’ll also minimize the risks of bacteria causing TSS forming while using your cup.

If you use Cherriful pads, change them regularly. We recommend you wear them for 8 hours max and change them for a fresh one. Also wash them regularly (here is how to do it). 

And don’t forget to wash your hands before and after you change your menstrual product!

To prevent getting the TSS from skin injuries, treat them very quickly and if you see some suspicious changes, such as swelling or redness, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor.

So, long story short, there is a very low chance of developing TSS and as long as you follow some simple hygiene rules, chances are you will never suffer from it!

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