You’ve always seen the warning on (and in) tampon boxes: Toxic Shock Syndrome. Maybe it scared you when you first started using them, but you’ve had no problems since. That doesn’t mean it won’t happen to you. TSS got the better of Lauren Wasser.
When she turned 24, the blond-haired and blue-eyed beauty passed up a basketball scholarship to pursue a career in modeling in Los Angeles. One day she wasn’t feeling well. She said she had flu-like symptoms and went to bed. A day later her mother called the police to check in on her. She had a massive fever of 107 and was rushed to the hospital. When she arrived, doctors said she was minutes away from death. Apparently Lauren had heart attack. The doctors asked her if she had a tampon in. They sent it to a lab and it tested positive for Toxic Shock Syndrome. She was put in a medically-induced coma and doctors didn’t think she’d make it. With nothing to lose, doctors decided to amputate her right leg, which saved her life.
After the surgery and being resuscitated, Lauren was extremely depressed. “I wanted to kill myself when I got home…I was this girl—and then all of a sudden I don’t have a leg, I’m in a wheelchair, I have half a foot, I can’t even walk to the bathroom. I’m in a bed, I can’t move, and I felt like those four walls were my prison,” she told Vice. What got her to continue? Her 14 year-old brother.
Lauren had used Kotex Natural Balance tampons. Her family started a lawsuit against the Kimberly Clark Corporation. Most tampons are made from synthetic materials like plastic and rayon which can create a breeding ground for staph infections when mixed with stagnant blood. To minimize your risk, switch between tampons and pads. Or use a menstrual cup, which is growing in popularity.
Will you stop using tampons?