Guille Faingold

Even If You Don't Use Tampons On Your Period, TSS Might Still Be A Risk

Toxic shock syndrome, aka TSS, isn't something to mess with.

To give you a quick refresher on what TSS is and how it happens, it's a life-threatening complication of certain bacterial infections that can affect women who use tampons while menstruating. The common early symptoms include fever, vomiting, diarrhea and cramps.

It can also occur in men and children as a result of skin wounds or surgery.

So, we know tampons with a high absorbency put women at risk if they're left in for too long. I know it's a little gross, but basically, a bloody tampon is like a petri dish, which is how bacteria growth can happen. Plus, any micro-tear inside the vagina can allow this bacteria to get in the bloodstream.

But for menstruating women, using tampons aren't the only way TSS can happen. It's very rare, but menstrual cups can also put you at risk.

There has been one confirmed case of TSS from the use of a menstrual cup. A 37-year-old experienced the common symptoms of TSS during her period while using the DivaCup.

She reported getting a tiny abrasion when she inserted the cup for the first time. Seven days later, she had black vaginal discharge. That's never a good sign. So, she stopped using the cup and went to the hospital.

Aside from the fact it can be fatal, here's the scary thing about TSS: If you go to the doctor or hospital with the symptoms, you aren't always diagnosed with TSS immediately. This woman wasn't diagnosed with it until she had been in the hospital for two days.

Like I said before, TSS is extremely rare. This woman used the DivaCup for the first time, and she unfortunately got it. Of course, this doesn't mean you have to stop using cups. It just means you still need to be careful with both tampons and menstrual cups.

Citations: A confirmed case of toxic shock syndrome associated with the use of a menstrual cup (PMC)