Q. What is toxic shock syndrome (TSS)?
A. TSS is an acute illness caused by toxins produced by Staphylococcus aureus. The initial signs of TSS are a sudden, high fever accompanied by other symptoms such as a rash or redness, fatigue, vomiting, diarrhea, and mucosal hyperemia. If such symptoms appear and immediate treatment is not received at a medical facility, it can lead to shock because of causes including low blood pressure.
Q. Does the presence of Staphylococcus aureus always lead to TSS?
A. In the majority of cases Staphylococcus aureus does not cause any health problems when present. Staphylococcus aureus is a type of bacteria that is often found in our nasal cavity, hair, armpits, pubic hair, vagina, and on our skin. Even when Staphylococcus aureus exists, TSS is only caused by Staphylococcus aureus that produce toxins. Therefore, it is a rare occurrence, but in very uncommon cases can cause grave symptoms that lead to death.
Q. Does TSS only occur in women who use tampons?
A. TSS can occur in anyone, whether it is a man, woman, or child. For example, it may occur because of a cut or burn.
Q. Why does TSS sometimes occur when using a tampon?
A. It is said that toxins are more easily produced when Staphylococcus aureus multiplies due to reasons including unclean hands, leaving a tampon in place over many hours, or forgetting to remove a tampon. The possibility that TSS will occur can be reduced by using tampons according to the instructions included with the product.
Q. Why is it that for up to 8 weeks after giving birth, a woman should avoid using tampons during her first period after childbirth?
A. The intravaginal immune function is reduced up until 8 weeks after giving birth, so it is thought that a woman is more susceptible to TSS than usual during her first period after childbirth.
Q. What should I do if I experience symptoms that appear to be TSS?
A. Immediately consult a specialist at a facility such as an obstetrics and gynecology department. In rare cases, it may incur serious symptoms. Remove the tampon and get treatment. Take along the instructions included with the product. It is important to detect the symptoms early on and receive suitable treatment.