Almost a year ago we were shocked with the news about the American model Laure Wasser, which He lost a leg due to Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) caused by a buffer. Many of us know something about the risk of TSS, but generally we fail to really weigh what this means to our bodies.
The first thing to know is that TSS is not a disease generated solely by the use of tampons, nor does it affect only women in their menstrual periods. It has also been linked to skin infections, burns and surgical children, postmenopausal women and men operations. Nevertheless, from the 80s’ this disease has occurred in cases of women using tampons, because they favor the proliferation of bacteria that can trigger the disease.
Toxic shock syndrome may be caused by two types of bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes. These are bacteria that usually have in our body. However, if the number thereof increases, they can produce a toxin which can finally reach trigger SST. But TSS can only occur when our immune system does not generate the antibodies needed to respond and fight toxins produced by the above two bacteria.
Why using tampons favors the increase of these bacteria?
According to studies, it appears that producing high absorption buffers allows more oxygen in the vaginal area, which is a breeding ground ideal for these bacteria. That is why, it is recommended to use certain sizes and levels of absorption buffers depending on the amount of menstrual flow.
It is important to know that toxic shock syndrome It is not a common disease, however, if using buffer needs to know the risks using tampons and the best ways to prevent the SST.
What causes TSS symptoms?
malaise, low blood pressure, confusion, high fever, nausea, vomiting, skin rash and / or diarrhea, among others. Symptoms occur quickly and if the infection is high can lead to kidney, heart or liver failure, can be extended to any other part of the body or even cause death. If you show any of these symptoms during your period, it is advisable to take your buffer as soon as possible and seek medical advice.
Steps to prevent SST
If you want to use tampons you should know that there is always the risk of toxic shock syndrome. However, there are some recommendations for prevention:
- Always use suitable buffers to your menstrual flow. That is, if you have little thread uses mini tampons and if your flow is moderate choose a suitable one.
- Never use a buffer over 8 hours. It is recommended for use between 4-8 hours. It is a mistake, for example, use a buffer super all day the last days of your period, because you’ll be favoring the proliferation of bacteria.
- It is advisable rest at least 8 hours a day buffer, and if they can be better. That is, for example you can rest at night. If you sleep less than 8 hours a day you should take it into account as the rest period must be complete for 8 hours minimum.
- Si you have any vaginal infection is best not to use tampones, because there is more risk of TSS. This depends on the type of infection, so ask your doctor before using them.
What other options exist to buffer?
Para which definitely do not want to use tampons and exposure to risk SST fortunately there are several alternatives on the market.
- compresses: Yes, for many can be uncomfortable, but for other women not so much. Further, If you like green solutions, there are both reusable and disposable. Disposable are organic therefore not as strong an impact the environment and compresses cellulose. They are reusable soft fabric compresses cotton They can be washed by hand or in the washing machine and do not alter the pH of the vaginal flora. You can buy them at a specialty store or if you like sewing, The you can do yourself!
- Menstrual cup: It has revolutionized the market, is that the menstrual cup It is an ecological and comfortable alternative. Being a containment option blood, no absorption, there is no risk of generation SST. Yes, it is recommended to use them in optimal conditions of hygiene and be careful in this regard. It is important to be in your size and surgical silicone so it can be safely sterilized. they cost around 30 euros but last 3 to 5 years, so they are an inexpensive long-term investment. For more information about the menstrual cup menstrual cup you can read what it is and how to use it
- vaginal sponges: If you want to try, we recommend the option of natural sea sponges, because they are reusable and are more friendly to the environment, but also are synthetic and disposable. At the moment, They not have been associated with the SST because they are recognized as a method of contention, not absorption, although opinions vary in this respect in the professional field. Care and handling of them must also be in adequate hygienic conditions. They also have a plus, You can leave the inside while keeping sex on your period. eye! They are not a method of contraception. The cost is between 6 and 8 euros and marine sponges They last about 6 months. We propose more information about sea sponges in vaginal sponges: How do you use, advantages and disadvantages
- absorbent underwear: although not a well-known method gradually go inserting into the market. Is about absorbent underpants, made with layers of absorbent materials and antibacterial. They are still difficult to find, you probably have to go to the Internet, but if you want to try, experts recommend that are cotton or natural materials, so that proper ventilation and to avoid the risk of generating fungi.
There is no ideal method of containment blood. Actually this will be one with which you feel more comfortable and safe. But it is important that women we are informed about the pros and cons of them so we can choose the right one for us freely.
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