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Toxic Shock Syndrome & Tampons

Toxic Shock Syndrome is a rare, life-thretening complication of certain types of bacterial infections. Often toxic shock syndrome results from toxins produced by Staphylococcus aureus (staph) bacteria but the condition may also be caused by toxins produced by a group A streptococcus (strep) bacteria. 

Toxic shock syndrome historically has been associated primarily with the use of tampons. However, since manufacturers pulled certain type of tampons off the market, the incidence of toxic shock syndrome in menstruating women has declined.

Experts say that the bacteria that causes TSS is already in the body (tampons do not bring it in). Data also has shown that women who get TSS from tampons are more likely to use highly absorbent tampons, leave them in for longer periods of time, and use them even before their period starts. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association also found a link between TSS and tampons containing the high-absorbance material polyacrylate rayon (this is no longer used in tampons, which may have contributed to a decreased in TSS cases)

While 50% of TSS cases are linked to tampon use, with men and women can develop it from sinusitis, burns, and respiratory infections after having the flu. 

While it is very rare to get TSS from tampons, it can still happen. TSS symptoms are ver similar to the flu, and they develop quickly. People who contract TSS may experience fever, dizziness, chills, headache, diarrhea, sore throat, muscle aches, red rash that looks like a sunburn on the palms of their hand and soles of their feet. This is why early diagnosis is very important. While its's possible to die due from TSS ( the mortality rate is 2 percent), most people make a full recovery.

Sources: yahoo health, medicinenet

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