Oh tampons, I have a love-hate relationship with you. On the one hand, I think tampons are much more effective than pads are during that special time-of-the-month; however, they carry the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome. Now although the chances of actually contracting TSS are pretty slim ( only 26 reported cases in the US in 2015) just the mere possibility of contracting such a terrifying infection freaks me out. The Mayo Clinic identifies Toxic Shock Syndrome as
“a rare, life-threatening complication of certain types of bacterial infections. Often toxic shock syndrome results from toxins produced by Staphylococcus aureus (staph) bacteria, but the condition may also be caused by toxins produced by group A streptococcus (strep) bacteria”.
TSS is primarily associated with the use of tampons because the synthetic fibers they are made of and their absorbent nature create the ideal environment for bacteria to thrive. Toxic Shock Syndrome can lead to fevers, vomiting, low blood pressure, organ dysfunction, and even death in severe cases. If only there was a way to prevent TSS, other than swearing off tampons of course…
It turns out there just might be. A vaccine for TSS has recently been developed that would provide immunity from the infection for up to 5 years. Although the vaccine is still years away from clinical use, it has proven to be safe and effective, and it even produced virtually no side-effects in the first phase of clinical trials.
The news of this vaccine is a welcome relief for those of us that may have an irrational fear of TSS, but wouldn’t it just be easier to just make tampons safer by using natural materials? Research has shown that 100% cotton tampons provide little to no risk of TSS. It’s safe to say that tampon companies are well aware of this information but they continue to primarily use synthetic materials to make tampons.
If given the opportunity would you get the vaccine? I’m not sure if I would or wouldn’t just yet.
Check out our website tomorrow for our first official blog post.