Feminine hygiene products are a mandatory part of life for women. Whether you prefer to use pads or tampons, it's going to be a product on your monthly shopping list. For those who prefer tampons to wings, it's important to know that you're at a higher risk for a condition called Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS).

This infection can cause death in up to 50% of cases and symptoms can return in those that survive

Tampon Applicator

What Is Toxic Shock Syndrome?

TSS is a bacterial infection that results from leaving a tampon in for too long. It's rare, but it's considered a severe condition that should be addressed immediately by a medical professional. 

Should you think you're suffering from this condition, you need to call your healthcare provider or call emergency services as soon possible. You may be able to call your doctor if the symptoms are minor, but for more severe cases it's better to call 911 and don't risk driving since extreme dizziness is known to accompany this infection.

Woman With A Fever

Symptoms of Toxic Shock Syndrome

If you think you may have this particular infection, there are some tell-tell signs that can give you a better chance of getting treatment before the symptoms get worse. The symptoms are more likely to be more intense during menstration.

  • High Fever & Chills
  • Diarrhea
  • Confusion
  • Low Blood Pressure
  • Aching Muscles
  • Nausea & Vomiting
  • Organ Failure- most common with kidneys and liver
  • Seizures
  • Redness of eyes, mouth and throat
  • A rash that spreads over a period of 2 weeks. This rash usually resembles a sunburn as is most commonly found on the soles of the feet and palms of the hands.

Another reason this is such a dangerous disease is because the person suffering from this can actually go into shock. It's important to realize one of the worst things one can do is freak out because this will affect your heart rate and speech. Try to stay calm and get to a phone so you're able to speak clearly.

Factors That Increase Your Risk

  • Recent Child Birth
  • Having a pre-existing staph infection
  • Surgery and wounds caused by surgery (incisions)
  • If you're a regular tampon user




Woman in doctor's office

What Treatments Are Available?

It's going to depend on how severe your case is, but there are a wide variety of treatment options available including

  • Antibiotics for a minor infection 
  • Dialysis if the there was major kidney damage
  • Fluids administered through an IV
  • Blood pressure medication prescribed by your doctor
  • Staying in the hospital for monitoring


Healthy Woman


When using tampons, be sure to change them every 8 to 14 hours. Never leave a tampon in for over 24 hours. Carry 4 tampons with you everywhere you go, especially if you're going to the mall with your friends.

Set an alarm on your cell phone if you fear you'll forget. You can also opt for changing to primarily using pads instead of always using tampons. 

Only use the absorbency you need to prevent leaks. If you only need a regular absorbency then don't a product designed for those with a heavier menstrual flow. Using a tampon that isn't absorbent enough is going to leave you feeling unprotected and allow leaks.

Using these methods to prevent Toxic Shock Syndrome will allow you to use a product that is better suited for you without you fearing death by a tampon.