Have you ever heard of toxic shock syndrome (TSS)? It is an intense reaction that can occur when our body comes into contact with a toxin. And when we say "toxin", we mean something that some living being (bacteria, animal or plant) has produced. For example, snake venom is a toxin!

Causes of TSS

TSS can be caused by group A streptococci and staphylococcus aureus. Menstrual cases are usually caused by the TSS-1 toxin of staphylococcus aureus. Although 10% of women of reproductive age can harbor this bacteria, only 1% have the TSS-1-producing strain. During menstruation, the number of staphylococcus aureus in the vagina can increase, raising the risk of TSS. However, 80% of women have antibodies that neutralize the toxin, and some do not have the receptor necessary for the toxin to enter the bloodstream.

Despite the widespread use of tampons, mTSS affects only 0.01% of women of reproductive age, evidencing the effectiveness of our defense mechanisms.

Symptoms of TSS

Symptoms include high fever, red sunburn-like spots, low blood pressure, vomiting and diarrhea. In severe cases, it can cause organ failure and require hospitalization, although the risk of death is less than 4%.

If you experience these symptoms after using tampons or cups, do not hesitate to seek medical attention or go to the emergency room. Prioritizing your well-being should never be a cause for shame, even if it turns out to be a false alarm. Your health comes first

TSS is an emergency

Risk factor's

The use of tampons, contraceptive sponges, diaphragms, or menstrual cups may increase the risk of mTSS, possibly due to the introduction of oxygen and carbon dioxide into the vagina, the growth of bacteria, and the fibers in tampons that promote bacterial growth. . High absorption of tampons and trauma from insertion or removal can also increase the risk.


Tips for Effective Prevention

To reduce the risk of mTSS:

  • Tampons: Opt for the lowest absorption necessary and don't rely on cotton alone. Change tampons regularly, but avoid doing so too frequently to avoid introducing excessive oxygen into the vagina.
  • Menstrual Cups: They are not necessarily safer than tampons. Select the appropriate size and consider having two glasses to alternate use, boiling them between insertions to eliminate toxins.

In summary

TSS is serious, but with proper knowledge and precautions, the risk is significantly minimized. Stay informed, choose appropriate menstruation products and be vigilant about symptoms to protect your health. Although TSS is rare, prevention and attention to early signs are key to a healthy and safe life.

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