Toxic shock syndrome: how to avoid and treat it?

Toxic shock syndrome is a rare but very serious and potentially fatal infectious disease. What are the symptoms of toxic shock syndrome? How do you get it? We tell you everything in this article!

What is Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS)?

Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is an infectious disease that is caused by a bacterium called staphylococcus aureus. It is a rare disease but requires emergency hospitalization. Toxic shock syndrome can have irreversible consequences on organs such as the liver, lungs, heart and kidneys, and it can also be fatal if not treated quickly. TSS is not related to a menstrual disorder, but to the use of certain sanitary pads that promote the growth of bacteria.

Staphylococcus aureus bacteria

This bacterium, also called staphylococcus aureus, is naturally present in our environment and is harmless if it remains only on our skin (this is the case for 30 to 40% of the population). But, if several causes are added up, such as having a vagina with a staphylococcus aureus that produces a particular toxin called TSST-1 (this concerns about 1% of women), having your period and keeping an internal device for too long, the bacteria becomes dangerous. This organism will produce a toxin that will enter the bloodstream to reach the organs. This is where it becomes dangerous: it gets stuck and proliferates.

The main cause of toxic shock: the forgotten tampon

Forgetting a tampon is a cause of TSS. Indeed, when a tampon is forgotten, the blood stagnates inside the vagina, which favors the proliferation of toxins.

What are the symptoms of Toxic Shock Syndrome?

The symptoms of toxic shock syndrome are very similar to those of the flu and gastroenteritis. They include:

  • dizziness, faintness
  • headaches
  • Sore throat
  • fever in some cases
  • muscle and joint pain
  • digestive disorders such as vomiting, nausea and diarrhea

In a second time, we find other manifestations such as

  • low blood pressure
  • an acceleration of the heart
  • confusion

TSS is usually seen 12 hours after surgery or childbirth, and 3-5 days after using an internal vaginal solution. If you experience these symptoms while wearing one, remove it immediately and go to thehospital.

How do you treat toxic shock syndrome?

As soon as you experience these symptoms, if you are wearing an internal protection: remove it. Then go directly to the hospital. There, a health professional or emergency doctor will take care of you as soon as possible by administering an antibiotic treatment to stop the spread of the toxin to vital organs.

Our advice to avoid toxic shock!

There are simple solutions to prevent toxic shock. These are recommendations from a study by Santé publique France.

Change your tampons regularly

The first advice and we will not stop repeating it is to change your internal protection (tampons but also menstrual cup) regularly, every 4 hours. Moreover, it is very strongly recommended not to use internal method at night because you would not be able to change regularly.

Favour external sanitary protection

External sanitary protection is a very good alternative to internal options for avoiding toxic shock syndrome. Washable pads or menstrual pants allow you to stay dry for up to 12 hours, without risk to your body, your health safety and the environment. Choose one in organic cotton to respect at best your intimate zone.

To adapt well its menstrual protection according to its flow

Whatever solution you choose, you must choose one that is adapted to your menstrual flow. If you wear tampons, it is useless to put a too big tampon for heavy periods when you have a normal flow, you would risk to dry and unbalance your vaginal flora.

The Elia menstrual panties are conceived to respect at most your intimate zone, to avoid the infections and the microbial development with its breathing organic cotton. Our panties adapt to all your life of woman: from the first periods to the menopause.
They are available from the lightest flows to the most abundant or even hemorrhagic.

The FAQ of the toxic shock of the periods

How to know if you have toxic shock syndrome?

Toxic shock syndrome is characterized by symptoms similar to those of the flu or gastroenteritis. Other symptoms may also appear, depending on the progress of the toxins, such as confusion, palpitations or very low blood pressure. If you have these symptoms and are wearing an internal device, remove it immediately and go to the hospital. The sooner TSS is managed, the greater the chance of recovery.

How can I avoid Toxic Shock Syndrome?

Wearing external protection such as menstrual pants can help prevent the growth of staphylococci and thus the onset of TSS. If you still want to use tampons or a menstrual cup or more generally internal vaginal devices, make sure you change them every 4 hours to avoid bacterial proliferation.

Is toxic shock related to tampons?

Toxic shock syndrome is not only linked to the use of tampons, the cup can also cause it. Indeed, when you use a menstrual cup, the blood stagnates which makes it a favorable environment for bacterial development.

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