That time of the month is an annoyance for any woman, but modern science has given women options for handling their monthly flow. Ever since tampons were invented, they’ve been one of the most popular options for women every month. However, there’s a dark side to tampon usage.
The Risk of Using Tampons
The use of tampons comes with many serious potential side effects that most women never think about. When you choose to use a tampon, you are keeping blood inside the body when the body is trying to expel it. Since menstrual blood has uterine lining and other body tissue in it, it can easily cause infection.
When used properly, the risk of infection from tampon usage is very low. As long as it is taken out and changed every few hours, the body does not accumulate enough bacteria to cause serious illness.
However, when a tampon is left in for a long period of time, the presence of dead body tissue within the vaginal canal can quickly turn into a deadly health threat. That’s what happened to Lauren Wasser.
The Story of Lauren Wasser
Lauren Wasser, a young and successful model, with plenty of friends and a loving family, found out first hand how life-threatening toxic shock syndrome can be. She fell ill and woke up in St. John’s Hospital, where police had brought her after her mother called in for a welfare check.
Lauren’s condition was serious. She had a temperature of 107 degrees and her organs were shutting down. Because of the infection, she had a massive heart attack. Everyone she loved was getting ready to say goodbye until an infectious disease specialist asked if Lauren had a tampon in. When they tested it, it came back positive for toxic shock syndrome.
Specialists worked around the clock to keep Lauren alive. However, the infection in her body turned into gangrene. The bottom half of her right leg was amputated, completely changing Lauren’s life and what she’d expected for her life.
How This Affects You
Lauren Wasser is in the middle of ongoing litigation against Kotex, the company that made the tampon she had in when she got toxic shock syndrome. Her goal isn’t money, though—it’s change. Lauren wants to see the feminine hygiene industry move to using natural materials, which lowers the risk of TSS.
In addition, Lauren wants girls and women everywhere to know that toxic shock syndrome is real. Though many women use tampons, few have ever really considered the risk of toxic shock syndrome. Through her advocacy work, Lauren wants women to be informed about the choices they make with their feminine hygiene products.
There are other options that do not carry the same risks as tampons. Of course, pads are an option. Menstrual cups, which catch blood and get cleaned out every few hours, are growing rapidly in popularity across the United States.
The tampon industry doesn’t want you to know this story, but you deserve to know what you’re putting in your body. Next time you go to use a tampon, make sure you know the risks that come with it.