A Canadian teen who died on a school trip was reported to have a toxic shock syndrome apparently due to tampon. But what is the toxic shock syndrome and why is it associated with tampons?
The 16-year-old was on a class trip with her classmates to Hornby Island (near Vancouver Island) in March 2017, when she said she was not "I did not feel well and had cramps," according to local news agency Comox Valley Record. The next morning she missed breakfast and was not responding in her bed. Although paramedics arrived at the scene, they could not revive them.
The physicians performed tests on a tampon that was found, and the tests were positive for the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus an associated pathogen to the toxic shock syndrome, according to Comox Valley Record, the one recently Shared case doctor report of the teenager's case. [5 Myths About Women̵
Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) is a rare but life-threatening disease caused by toxins produced by certain bacterial species – particularly S. aureus according to the Cleveland Clinic. These bacteria often live on the skin or on the mucous membranes of the skin without producing any symptoms, but under the right conditions they can grow fast and produce toxins.
During the 1970s and early 1980s there was an increase in cases of toxic shock syndrome associated with the use of "superabsorbent" tampons. These cases led manufacturers to remove certain types of tampons from the market.
TSS & Tampons
Tampons, particularly highly absorbent tampons, can create the right conditions for the growth of bacteria, especially if the tampons are longer than recommended.
"[It’s] almost like a petri dish," said Dr. Michael Cackovic, a specialist in maternal fetal medicine at Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center, who was not involved in the teenage case. Superabsorbent tampons, available in the 1980s, "provided the perfect environment for the bacteria to reproduce and release their toxin," Cackovic said.
After the production of certain superabsorbent tampons was discontinued, the TSS rate decreased in menstruating women, although cases still occur. Today, the rate of TSS among menstruating women is about 1 in 100,000 women, said Cackovic Live Science.
The condition most commonly occurs in women ages 15 to 25 who use tampons, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Younger women have fewer antibodies to S. aureus, compared to older women, which may partly explain why younger women have a higher rate of the syndrome, according to Cackovic.
It is important to note that tampons are not the sole cause of TSS and that the condition does not affect. Only women who use tampons are affected. Men, children and postmenopausal women may also develop the syndrome. Other risk factors for TSS include skin infections, surgical wounds, burns, childbirth, and the use of packs to stop nosebleeds, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Today, about half of TSS cases are in menstruating women.
TSS usually causes sudden symptoms that may resemble the flu, including sudden high fever and chills, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea and dizziness, according to NIH. The condition can also cause a prolonged rash that looks like a sunburn. Serious complications can be organ damage – such as kidney and liver failure – and death, the NIH said.
To prevent TSS, the Cleveland Clinic recommends changing tampons at least every 4 to 8 hours, using the tampon with the lowest absorption period, with pads instead of tampons at night, and changing from tampon to pad each second day or during periods of heaviest menstruation.
Original article on Live Science .