Toxic Shock Syndrome is a sudden and dangerous
condition started by the release of toxins caused by the staphylococci bacteria.
What to look for
vomiting and/or diarrhoea.
a rash resembling a sunburn
with peeling skin on fingers and toes.
dizziness or mental confusion.
It usually affects menstruating women,
especially those who use super absorbent tampons. This is a potentially fatal disease if
A few women actually died from this disease
in the 1970s because they used super absorbent tampons and left them in too long.
A woman who has recently given birth is
also at increased risk for developing toxic shock as well as anyone exposed to
Staphylococcus aurous bacteria while recovering from surgery, a burn, or an open wound.
If you have had toxic shock syndrome you
are likely to suffer a recurrence sometime in your life. The reason for this is unclear
but it is wise to know the symptoms and seek help if they start.
If you are menstruating and have a high
fever with vomiting, especially if you have been wearing tampons, you must get medical
help right away. Remove your tampon or diaphragm straight away.
The primary cause of toxic shock syndrome
is a toxin produced by the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus. This bacteria can reside in
the vagina under normal circumstances.
Exactly why and how Staphylococcus aureus
causes this disease is not completely understood but for the disease to occur two things
are necessary. First, the bacteria need an environment in which they can grow rapidly and
release toxins and then the toxins must have a way of getting into the bloodstream.
A tampon, it is believed is a perfect
medium for the bacteria to grow.
The toxins then only have to enter the
bloodstream for the disease to develop.
syndrome requires immediate hospital care -
Call 000 immediately.
When using tampons, make sure that you do
not leave them in too long. Change them every few hours. Also stick to the least absorbent
ones. If you can tolerate sanitary napkins - use them instead. You should always use
sanitary napkins at night.
When to seek further