How can I avoid getting TSS if I use tampons?
Toxic shock sounds awful. What can I do to not get it? Is it safer to not use tampons? Do obgyns even discuss this?
Toxic shock syndrome is a very serious life threatening syndrome that is caused by a toxin made by a bacteria. The bacteria in question (staphylococus) was associated with super absorbent tampons. These bacteria were found to be growing behind these tampons. The toxin causes the immune system to become activated and the blood vessels to dilate. This can cause blood pressure to drop which can be fatal. The culprit tampons were taken off the market back in the 80s. Now toxic shock syndrome secondary to tampon use is very low and should not be considered significant enough to sway you away from using them. The chances of you getting it is probably on the order of 3 in 100,000. You are much more likely to be killed in a car accident. Your OBGYN will discuss this with you if you bring it up. Otherwise it is not a useful thing to discuss with your doctor as your time with him or her is often limited and can be used in better ways. I suggest that you take a look at the type of tampon you are using and see if there is any reports of toxic shock syndrome risk with that tampon. I think that you will find that you are safe enough from this fearsome condition.
This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.
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