Women who use tampons have seen the warnings about toxic shock syndrome (TSS) printed on boxes for years and years.
TSS is rare, but it can happen with tampon use when Staphylococcus or Streptococcus bacteria gets deep into bodily tissue and begins attacking internal organs. A young woman named Phoebee Bambury recently contracted TSS, and she wants to raise awareness about its symptoms and effects to prevent others from having to go through the same awful guessing game she did.
Bambury started to feel sick in her university’s library and initially thought she was just dealing with stress from her exams. After a number of hours, though, it became clear that something else was wrong.
She said, “I was shivering really uncontrollably. All of my muscles were aching and I just really didn’t feel well at all.”
That’s when she realized her symptoms sounded familiar. “It was ticking over in my head and I thought I knew what it sounded like,” she said. “I went and got a box of tampons and read out all the symptoms of toxic shock syndrome. Everything matched.”
Unfortunately, Bambury knew of numerous people close to her who’d died from TSS, so she was relatively familiar with the symptoms.
This colorful image is actually a scientific depiction of what the TSS toxin looks like. The scary thing is that symptoms of TSS can be similar to menstrual cramps and/or the flu. Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and skin rashes are also common.
Organ dysfunction, fast breathing, headache, insufficient urine production, mental confusion, or sore throat are also among the very serious symptoms that occur in patients like Bambury.