A Girl’s Nightmare: Toxic Shock Syndrome


Perhaps not all girls here in Singapore are familiar with toxic shock syndrome. Toxic shock syndrome is a rare but it is a serious condition that is from staphylococcus aureus bacterium that can produce toxins. It can get into your bloodstream which can be very dangerous to your health and wellbeing. Girls are particularly scared of this condition because it is linked with superabsorbent tampons.

Although it can affect anyone, girls have higher chances of contracting this condition. If it is left untreated, it can lead to major organ damage and eventually death. It is important that you know things about this condition so you will be aware.

What are the symptoms?  

Identifying the symptoms is not easy because it can vary from one person to another however in most cases, symptoms will appear unexpectedly. You should be wary of the common signs to begin with. Signs include sudden fever, headache, low blood pressure, confusion, seizures, redness of the throat, mouth and eyes, vomiting, rash, nausea, muscle aches and headache.

When to see the doctor?

If you noticed, some of the signs of toxic shock syndrome are also attributed to flu. In fact, many people ignore it thinking that it is just plain old flu. However you should be thoroughly keen. If you noticed the symptoms mentioned above after using tampons, it is important that you keep in touch with your physician right away. Remember that it is life-threatening.

What are the causes?

The infection happens when the bacteria go into the body through a skin’s opening like sore, cut or wound. Experts are not yet sure what is the exact cause that leads to this condition but others believe that when you leave the tampons for long, it can attract bacteria. Another theory is that fibres in the tampons can scratch the vagina thereby creating an opening for the bacteria to go inside the bloodstream.

What are the treatments?

You have to understand the gravity of the situation – toxic shock syndrome is a medical emergency. There are people who have to stay inside the intensive care unit for many days so they can be monitored. The doctors will probably prescribe intravenous antibiotic to help your body fight the infection inside.

There are other treatment methods that depend on the underlying cause. Like if there is a vaginal sponge, the doctor will simply remove the object from the body. The doctor will also try gamma globulin injections to subdue the inflammation thereby boosting the immune system.

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