All you know about toxic shock syndrome is probably wrong
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Many folks don’t really have idea what toxic shock syndrome is, besides the prescription on tampon box, warning on horrifying state that you get from tampons.
Toxic shock syndrome isn’t really a disease, but it’s a complication resulted from a bacterial infection. There are two kinds of bacteria that can produce TSS-1 (toxic shock syndrome toxin 1) and namely, staphylococcus aureus and group A streptococcus. TSST-1 is able to make the immune system to massively overreact to an infection. The result is shock that makes the inflammation spreads causing fever, which if left unchecked can cause multi-organ failure. Even if the bacteria are isolated to one area, the toxin can still enter the bloodstream, meaning that an infection in a single part of the body can end up with fatal outcome.
Other toxins can also cause TSS, but TSST-1 is the most common one for tampon-related cases.
TSS is actually quite rare occurrence. In 2016 were reported a total of 323 cases. That’s not insignificant, but if considered that there are roughly 63 million women between the ages of 15 and 44 in the US, it’s pretty tiny with a rate of 0.0005%. Out of all 323 cases just 26 men and women died. However, his isn’t to minimize those losses, because for the victims and their families, TSS was devastating. But when observing the possible causes of death in general, toxic shock syndrome is exceedingly unlikely.
As pointed out in an article by Popular Science, millions of adults regularly fail to remove tampons within the recommended time, and it's generally not a problem, since TSS doesn't often have much to do with tampons anyhow.
Toxic shock syndrome doesn’t occur only with tampon users, it’s just more common in this population. That is because tampons make you more likely to develop TSS, but only because they’re one of the few foreign objects that we keep inside ourselves for many hours. Menstrual cups and contraceptives are also causing TSS, but are just less likely to harbor bacteria compared to tampons.
Vagina is meeting point for microorganisms, most of which are helpful or harmless. But by introducing a tampon you inadvertently give those organisms another ideal, warm and moist place to grow and colonize. Our immune systems is trying to fight these colonizations off just like with many other infections that happen in our bodies. Generally, we’re covered in bacteria, inside as well as out, and the role of our white blood cells is to kill the ones that pose a threat.
But sometimes you get perfect conditions for bacteria to build up momentum inside a tampon. This is more likely to occur if you’ve left the tampon in for a long time, however, it can also happen if having a localized infection in a wound on any part of the body, which is the reason it can happen to anyone.
Source: Popular Science