Log into your trusty search engine with a couple of random symptoms and you’ll surely find out you only have a few hours left. It’s true, any medical website can make the math of your present ailment and provide you with a troubling diagnosis that is as fatal as it is misleading. But what happens when there’s a situation we’re not entirely sure how or why it happens? What do we do when we’re faced with a correlation we continue to be confused about?
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock you’ve probably heard about Toxic Shock Syndrome, also known as TSS. You may have also been told to relegate it to the category of illnesses caused by tampons and disposable feminine hygiene products.
While it is true that there have been cases where women have lost their lives, have had to undergo amputations, and a whole plethora of frightening situations, medical professionals still can’t find the relationship between tampons and TSS. Some believe that leaving a tampon for too long makes someone susceptible to acquiring this deadly affliction. Yet others suspect that the tampon’s materials can irritate the vaginal area, making it a possible source of infections, as well as making it easy for these to enter the bloodstream. Since TSS is caused by Streptococcus or Staphylococcus, bacteria that naturally resides in our bodies, it’s hard to pinpoint at which point things get out control.
What is true is that during the eighties there were particular brands that seemed to be the culprits and that were removed from the market. Yet we continue to hear about recent cases where women have been lucky to survive, like Lauren Wasser, a model who lost her right leg after suffering a TSS-induced heart attack. Medical professionals continue to search for underlying reasons. They’ve found that some women have genetic predisposition to TSS. And yet, the number of them who’s actually had TSS is relatively low.
But what does this mean? Are we all going to have to take the route of menstrual cups, moon pads, and reusable sponges instead of disposable products? Well, this is where it gets tricky. Disposable products might not be the best choice for the environment, and can lead us towards risks like TSS, but when we think of what women in certain parts of the world have to endure when they don’t have access to these, it puts things on a scale. Obviously every care needs to be taken when using disposable ones. We can’t overlook the fact that their synthetic nature brings substances and toxins into our body. Yet the flip side also requires a handle of things to avoid infection.
I should point out that one of the things that bugs me within this whole debacle is that some of the medical professionals, who are telling women to stop using tampons, are men who are not OBGYN’s either. Rather than presenting a valid alternative, based on better evidence, they’re simply telling women to switch up their personal care routines based on something they don’t even know why or how it’s happening.
I gather this is not unlike when marginalized women are told by more privileged others to stop using disposable diapers in lieu of cloth ones. It’s to be blind to the fact that disposable female hygiene products, like tampons, allow teenage girls, young women, and women, the chance to continue their lives as normally as they can during their periods. Rather than simply banning these items, the medical community should focus their efforts in fully understanding the reason behind TSS in women, specifically when using tampons.
So yes, take precaution. Make sure you change your tampon promptly. Look up which product is made with better materials. But don’t rush to heed the advice of someone who’s only telling you to do something without giving you enough information on the why. Make sure they’re not trying to peddle and sell you their “better” product. It’s your choice. Make sure you get all your facts in before you make any significant changes.
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How having a hundred orgasms a day can be a real nightmare.
What’s the vaginal taboo that continues to exist?
National Health Service UK