While there are many options when it comes to feminine hygiene, many women choose tampons because they’re convenient, easy to use, and discreet. But unfortunately, if used incorrectly, tampons can be extremely dangerous.
Here, one woman has opened up about losing her leg to toxic shock syndrome, a condition caused when a woman leaves a tampon in too long and it causes an infection. Now, she’s warning other women of the risks that come with using tampons and has revealed she’s on the verge of losing her other leg.
TSS. A 29-year-old woman named Lauren Wasser has bravely opened up about what it’s been like to be diagnosed with toxic shock syndrome. The dangerous condition has already caused her to lose one leg, and she’s revealed she’s on the verge of losing her other leg.
Symptoms. According to the InStyle, Wasser began to experience symptoms of TSS in 2012, after she’d used a super-plus tampon during her period. Her symptoms only grew worse, to the point where she suffered a heart attack.
Sick. ”I woke up feeling a bit off but attributed it to be the beginning of flu season, so I didn’t think much of it. One of my best friends was having her birthday party that evening so I contacted her to let her know that I wasn’t feeling well and may not make it to the party,” Wasser wrote via InStyle.
Tampon. Wasser had been changing her tampon throughout the day, but continued feeling worse throughout the day. After leaving the party early, she went to bed with a high fever. The next day however, Wasser’s condition was so bad her mother called the cops to check on her.
Cops. ”I remember coming to and hearing the sound of my cocker spaniel, Madison, barking out of control. She was trying to get me up because someone was knocking on my front door. I threw my hoodie around me and stumbled to the door (I had no idea what time of day it was). I opened the door and let the officer inside. He looked around and at me then said, ‘You’re really sick. You need to call your mom because she’s worried about you.’ Then, the cop left. Somehow I made it back to bed,” writes Wasser.
Unresponsive. However the next day when Wasser’s mom called her, she didn’t pick up, and so called the cops to come check on her again. This time, Wasser was unresponsive, and when they arrived at her home they found her face down on the floor.
Disease. ”I was unresponsive, had a fever of 108, and was covered in my own feces and vomit. They immediately called the paramedics and rushed me to the hospital. The doctors and nurses were confused because I was this young, healthy, 24-year-old girl. It wasn’t until the infectious disease doctor was called in that things started to make sense,” writes Wasser.
Coma. The doctor sent Wasser’s tampon to be checked, and several days later it came back positive for TSS. By this point, Wasser’s condition was so bad that she had to be induced into a coma as all her organs began to shut down.
Blood pressure. ”When I woke up from the coma a week and a half later, I had no idea where I was and no recollection of what had happened. I weighed 200 lbs., a significant rise, due to the number of pressers and fluids that were given to me to stabilize my blood pressure,” writes Wasser.
Pain. Wasser also noticed that her legs were in pain, but she couldn’t quite pinpoint what exactly was causing the pain. After being transferred to a different hospital, she learned she had gangrene. As a result, she had to have her right leg amputated, as well as the toes on her left leg.
Toxic. ”The letters TSS that I once read in the fine print buried on the bottom of tampon boxes soon came to define me. TSS—Toxic Shock Syndrome: a potentially fatal complication of certain types of bacterial infections. The vagina is the most absorbent part of a woman’s body, and you place a tampon in that place that can bring with it chemicals, toxins,” writes Wasser.
Growing. Over the years, Wasser says she’s had a hard time coping with her condition. However with the help of her girlfriend, she has become stronger and more accepting of herself. Now, she goes around teaching girls about TSS and has learned that for the most part, women are uninformed of what it is.
Role. ”Toxic Shock Syndrome cost me my leg, but, years later, I have since dedicated myself to raising awareness about TSS prevention. I am comfortable in my new role as an advocate against an affliction that affects thousands,” writes Wasser.
Awareness. Wasser faces losing her other leg, but despite the struggles she’s about to face, wants to do as much as she can to raise awareness about TSS and make sure women are aware of the dangers of tampons.
Education. ”I am writing this in hopes that you will understand that we, as women, need more education about TSS. It is time that we, as consumers, demand safer products and more transparency about what is going into our bodies,” writes Wasser, via InStyle.