Do You Know About Toxic Shock Syndrome for Women?

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Not many people are aware of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). Although TSS occurs most commonly among women, 25% of non-menstrual cases occur among men [1]. In this post we will focus on the effects of TSS on women, so read on to find out more about TSS and what preventive measures there are.



What is Toxic Shock Syndrome?


Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) is a rare and often life-threatening condition caused by bacterial infections. It is potentially life-threatening because the toxins produced by Staphylococcus aureus (Staph) bacteria and group A streptococcus (Strep) bacteria can poison our bodies to an extent that it can lead to high fevers, diarrhoea, seizures and even loss of limbs or death.


What causes Toxic Shock Syndrome?


TSS occurs when there is an overgrowth of Staph or Strep bacteria that causes poisonous substances to be released and absorbed by the body. For a menstruating woman, TSS is associated with the usage of tampons. Tampons are made to be highly absorbent, so it soaks up everything from the menstrual flow to the natural fluid. It was also found that inserting and removing a tampon cause micro-tears in the vaginal wall, which may result in increased abrasion in a dry environment. When this happens, bad bacteria would then enter the bloodstream through the micro-tears, leading to overgrowth of bacteria and eventually TSS [2]. There have been articles describing the dangers of TSS and how young women have fallen prey to this and even lost their limbs due to TSS [3].


How to prevent Toxic Shock Syndrome?


There are a couple of ways to minimise the risk of TSS. Take extra caution when using a tampon by inserting slowly and carefully so as not to scratch the vaginal lining. Using a less absorbent tampon will also help since it will not dry out the natural fluid in the vagina. Changing tampons frequently and not using it for a prolonged period of time is definitely critical as well; use an overnight pad instead because you don’t want to risk it by sleeping in a couple more hours.

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