What All Women Should Know About Toxic Shock Syndrome

What all women should know about toxic shock syndrome is that it’s serious, and you can easily be infected without knowing what to do, or not to do. Young women, especially those in the early years of menstruation, should pay particular attention. Toxic shock syndrome, or TSS, is a real risk if you aren’t careful to use feminine products safely.

Bacteria Is the Culprit

With TSS bacteria enters the body and releases harmful toxins. It is more known from using tampons, but it can also happen in other ways.

Cuts, scrapes, insect bites, or any kind of skin puncture can lead to TSS. Non-menstrual TSS can occur in surgical and postpartum wound infections, burns, sinusitis, arthritis, osteomyelitis, and respiratory infections following flu, plus others.doctor holding up a tampon.

If bacteria enters through openings in the skin and gets into your bloodstream, it can severely damage organs or cause death.

Know the Signs

Toxic shock syndrome can happen quickly and suddenly. Most patients will recover with prompt diagnosis and treatment from our board-certified gynecologists. Schedule an appointment at our gynecology clinic in Reston, VA today by calling (703) 435-2555.

Symptoms can depend on the type of bacteria that enters your body, but some common signs are as follows:

  • High fever and chills similar to the flu
  • Muscle aches
  • Vomiting
  • Red rash on palms of the hands and soles of the feet
  • Headache
  • Low blood pressure
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting

Tips to Avoid Infection From Menstrual Products

Staph bacteria can grow on tampons, especially if they aren’t changed enough. Never leave them in longer than package directions. Don’t use a super absorbent tampon on light days as they can cause tiny cuts in the vagina leading to TSS.

Anything that stays in your vagina too long can lead to toxic shock syndrome. This includes increased risks like contraception with cervical caps, sponges, diaphragms, or menstrual cups.

Yes, you can get TSS from sanitary pads. It is uncommon but can happen.

Switch from tampons to sanitary pads every other day, or use pads at night.

Change tampons every 4 to 8 hours unless the flow is very heavy. Then change more frequently.

TSS is more likely to recur. If you have had a case, stay with pads.

TSS will not go away without treatment.

TSS requires prompt diagnosis and treatment with antibiotics, fluids, and other medications.

Contact our board-certified gynecologists at (703) 435-2555. if you are experiencing any of the signs of toxic shock syndrome or have additional questions about avoiding it.