TSS. It’s on the info sheet that comes with every tampon, but how many of us know what the letters really mean? Many of you may have seen a disturbing story about a young woman who lost a leg to Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) and wondered to yourself whether you were at risk and whether you’d recognize the symptoms. Well, Veeda believes that when it comes to protecting our health, information is key, which is why we’re using this opportunity to talk a little about TSS.
First up, what is TSS, anyway? TSS is a bacterial infection. The bacteria that causes the infection, staphylococcus aureus, is already present in many people’s bodies, but does not pose a risk unless it multiplies and overwhelms the body’s natural defenses. If an infection does take hold, it can attack the body’s systems, leading to organ failure if left untreated.
What are the symptoms of TSS? Symptoms of TSS include sudden fever, vomiting, diarrhea, fainting, dizziness and a rash that looks like sunburn. Experiencing these symptoms within a few days of your period is an indication that you should see a doctor.
Are tampons the only cause of TSS? No, but about half of all cases of TSS are associated with tampon use. Tampon-related TSS is generally preventable though. Studies have shown that 100% cotton tampons such as Veeda dramatically reduce TSS toxin production versus tampons with rayon or other synthetic fibers. You can also reduce your risk by using the correct absorbency and changing tampons often.
Is TSS really an issue anymore? TSS was recognized as a serious public health threat in the 1980’s and manufacturers were forced to reformulate their tampons. However, the viscose rayon still found in most leading brands of tampons promotes the production of the toxin that can lead to TSS. Rayon fibers can also break off and contribute to TSS even after removal of the actual tampon. There continue to be cases of tampon-related TSS every year, and as stories like Lauren Wasser’s illustrate, they can easily turn life-threatening.
TSS is a serious issue, but the fact is that TSS is only part of the problem with conventional tampons and pads. Leading brands use blends of bleached cotton and/or synthetic products that can leach chemicals such as dioxins, pesticide and herbicide residues, artificial fragrances, and dyes into the body. The long-term health risks of these toxins aren’t well known, though some are linked to cancer, endometriosis, immune system depression, infertility and hormone disruption. In addition, few manufacturers are willing to put their ingredients on their packages, so women can’t make a knowledgeable decision about how much risk they’re willing to take.
So should I be worried? In the end, being informed is better than being scared. That’s why Veeda exists, so women could know exactly what they’re putting into their bodies each month—100% pure natural cotton. No chemicals. No synthetics. No dyes. And no worries.