Popular Products

How Common Is Toxic Shock Syndrome From Tampons?

You may have heard of Toxic Shock Syndrome, or TSS, especially if you use tampons — or if it scared you off them! However, not many of us know that much about it or even the difference between what’s fact and what’s fiction.

What most of us do know is that Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) is a serious infection that can be fatal if left untreated. But you might be wondering: how common is TSS from tampons? In summary, TSS from tampons is incredibly rare. We're talking *about 1-3 cases per 100 000 people in the US. That's like finding a needle in a haystack!

Now that we’ve cleared things up, here’s everything you need to know about TSS. It’s time to get answers to your burning questions.

What is Toxic Shock Syndrome?

So, let's start from the beginning, shall we? Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) is a rare but serious condition that occurs when certain bacterias release toxins into the bloodstream. It's not something you encounter every day, but it's good to be informed, just in case.

So, what causes Toxic Shock Syndrome?

When it comes to TSS, many of us wonder: how do you even get Toxic Shock Syndrome? TSS is usually caused by two types of bacteria, staphylococcus aureus (staph infections) or streptococcus pyogenes (strep infections). While tampons have been associated with TSS, it's important to note that other factors, like skin infections or surgical wounds, can also trigger it. Knowing what causes TSS can help you prevent it.

How quickly does Toxic Shock Syndrome develop?

The timeline for TSS symptoms to manifest can vary. In some cases, symptoms of TSS develop rapidly within a few hours, while in others, they may take a couple of days to appear. Stay vigilant and trust your instincts if something feels off.

How to know if you have Toxic Shock Syndrome

Recognising TSS symptoms is key. Here are some common symptoms to look out for:

  • Sudden high fever
  • flu-like symptoms
  • A sunburn-like rash, even on the soles of the feet
  • Skin wounds
  • Feeling lightheaded
  • Muscle aches
  • Tummy troubles
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Red eyes (conjunctivitis)

If you experience these symptoms during your period, it's important to reach out to your healthcare provider pronto.

How to prevent Toxic Shock Syndrome

Now, let's focus on prevention because prevention is the name of the game! Follow these tips to keep TSS at bay:

  • Choose super-absorbent tampons with the lowest absorbency suitable for your flow.
  • Change your tampon regularly, every 4 to 8 hours.
  • Mix it up if you have to! Try using pads or menstrual cups, especially on lighter flow days or during the night.
  • Never use two tampons at once.
  • Remember to keep things clean and hygienic. Wash your hands thoroughly before and after tampon insertion, and make sure you're practising good intimate hygiene during your period.
  • Don't wear tampons when you're not on your period. Let your body have a breather.

We provide information about TSS inside every pack of Lil-Lets tampons and we’re always updating it, so it's important to read the leaflets regularly, especially if you’re new to tampons, or haven’t used tampons for a while. The packaging also explains how to use tampons. Knowledge is power!

How to Treat Toxic Shock Syndrome

In the unlikely event of TSS, swift action is crucial. Seek immediate medical assistance for diagnosis and treatment. Treatment usually involves hospitalisation, antibiotics, dialysis, intravenous fluids and supportive care to address symptoms and prevent complications.

Toxic Shock Syndrome vs. sepsis

It's worth noting that TSS and sepsis are separate but related conditions. TSS is a specific type of infectious disease caused by strep and staph bacteria, while sepsis refers to a more widespread infection affecting the entire body. While rare, both conditions require prompt medical attention.

Exploring mild Toxic Shock Syndrome

In some instances, individuals may experience a milder form of TSS. Symptoms might be less severe, and recovery tends to be quicker. However, even with mild TSS, it's important not to ignore the signs and seek medical guidance for proper evaluation and care.

Can you die from Toxic Shock Syndrome?

Although TSS is a serious condition, fatalities are rare. Timely medical intervention and appropriate treatment significantly reduce the risk of TSS complications. **The Toxic Shock Syndrome death rate/mortality rate in the UK is reportedly 5-15%.

Our final thoughts: Toxic Shock Syndrome and tampons

We hope you’ve gained a comprehensive understanding of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) as it relates to tampons and periods. Remember, TSS is an exceptionally rare condition, and practising good hygiene, using the appropriate period products and seeking medical attention when needed are vital steps to staying safe and taking care of a women’s health. Spread this knowledge to empower others, and together, we'll demystify TSS!

*https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK459345/ (Accessed: 21 June 2023)
** https://patient.info/doctor/toxic-shock-syndrome (Accessed: 21 June 2023)

Buy our comfortable and absorbent tampons for leakproof protection

SmartFit™ Applicator Mini Tampons

SmartFit™ Applicator Regular Tampons

SmartFit™ Non-Applicator Super Tampons

SmartFit™ Non-Applicator Tampons – Regular

Frequently asked questions

Is Toxic Shock Syndrome rare?

Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) is considered a rare condition that affects a small percentage of menstruating individuals. According to Cleveland Clinic Organisation, it affects 1 in every 100 000 people.

How do I know if I have Toxic Shock Syndrome?

Symptoms of Toxic Shock Syndrome include sudden high fever, rashes, low blood pressure, dizziness, vomiting, and confusion. If you experience these symptoms while using tampons or have recently used them, it is important to seek immediate medical attention.

Can Toxic Shock Syndrome kill you?

Toxic Shock Syndrome can be life-threatening in severe cases, but with prompt medical treatment, the chances of recovery are high.

Can you get Toxic Shock Syndrome from a menstrual cup?

While extremely rare, there have been reported cases of Toxic Shock Syndrome associated with menstrual cup use. It’s important to follow proper hygiene practices and usage instructions to minimise the risk factors.

Can you get Toxic Shock Syndrome from pads?

While the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome from pads is extremely low, there have been a few reported cases. However, compared to tampons, the likelihood of developing Toxic Shock Syndrome from pads is significantly lower.

Does Toxic Shock Syndrome go away?

Toxic Shock Syndrome does go away with immediate medical attention and treatment. With proper care and prompt treatment, individuals can recover from Toxic Shock Syndrome.

Do tampons cause Toxic Shock Syndrome?

Tampons can increase the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome if not used correctly or left in for an extended period. However, when used responsibly and changed as directed, the risk of TSS is minimal.

What tampons cause Toxic Shock Syndrome?

Any tampon, regardless of brand or type, has the potential to increase the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome if not used correctly. Proper usage, including changing tampons frequently and following recommended guidelines, helps minimize the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome.


Stay up to date

Want to keep in touch with Lil-Lets? Sign up to receive our newsletter to be the first to receive brand updates, articles & much more.