Are tampons dangerous?

Last year, a 13-year-old girl died of a toxic shock syndrome because she had forgotten to change her tampon. And this year again: This time, an American model loses her leg because she contracted TSS (also called the tampon disease). We clarify what to look for when using tampons and what alternatives there are.

What exactly is TSS?

TSS is a serious organ and circulatory failure caused by a particular bacterium. When this bacterium enters the bloodstream via an open wound or the uterus, it forms a poison that causes a shock in the body and can be fatal to the affected person. Symptoms of TSS include high fever, nausea, diarrhea, severe dizziness, or changes in the skin. "Even though there is a TSS warning in every tampon pack, very few women know about the seriousness of the disease," explains strawberry co-founder Annemarie Harant, who has spent many years working on tampons and sustainability Bettina Steinbrugger adds: "The majority of TSS cases occur during the period of too long wearing a tampon of mostly synthetic materials." Unfortunately, most women do not know that 90% of all conventional tampons consist of a pulp-plastic mixture. Biotampons, on the other hand, can reduce the risk of a toxic shock syndrome, as they consist of natural and non-synthetic synthetic fibers, according to a New York University School of Medicine study.

How to prevent TSS?

Basically, tampons are not dangerous if they are not left in the body too long! Tampons should max. Worn for 4-6 hours and then changed. Always wash your hands with soap before inserting or removing a tampon. Change to bandages or a menstrual cup at night. Always choose the smallest tampon size you need and avoid super absorbent tampons made of synthetic materials. Change to tampons made from 100% organic cotton – these demonstrably reduce the risk of developing the toxic shock syndrome. Apart from the risk of contracting a TSS, tampons can confuse our vaginal flora. The result is dryness and vaginal fungus. If you are inclined, you should switch to an alternative.

Which alternatives to tampons are there?

One product that is becoming more and more popular is the menstrual cup (also called the menstrual cup). This small cup of medical grade silicone is inserted into the vagina like a tampon and captures the blood.
According to a 2011 study on menstrual caps published in the medical journal Canadian Family Physician, the bacteria that can cause a toxic shock syndrome on a menstrual cup may not form as much as conventional tampons. In addition, work is currently being done on a menstrual cup app that can give information about your health from the inside of the vagina. Here is more information: Looncup – menstrual cup sends messages from your vagina