Toxic Shock Syndrome. What you need to know...

Hey, we’re not doctors but TSS is a serious issue. So we want to give you the low-down to keep you informed. But it goes without saying, always consult a doctor if you think you're experiencing TSS

If you have used tampons before you will likely have heard of toxic shock syndrome (TSS), a rare but fatal infection associated with tampons. But how worried should you really be? 

Toxic Shock Syndrome

Firstly the biggest misconception about TSS is that it’s caused by tampons which gives them a bad rep, but that’s simply not true. TSS is not caused by tampons, it’s simply linked to tampons. TSS is actually caused by the bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes (really rolls off the tongue eh?) getting into the body and releasing harmful toxins.

Although toxic shock syndrome has been linked to super absorbent tampon use in menstruating women, this condition can affect men, children, and people of all ages. TSS gets worse very quickly and can be fatal if not treated promptly. Sounds scary, right? But if it's diagnosed and treated early, most people make a full recovery. 


What to look out for. 

Symptoms of toxic shock syndrome can vary from person to person. Everyone's body is different, that's what makes us all so special. Awh.

In most cases, symptoms appear suddenly. Common signs of this condition include:

  • sudden fever
  • low blood pressure
  • headache
  • muscle aches
  • confusion
  • diarrhoea
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • rash
  • redness of eyes, mouth, and throat
  • seizures 

What you need to know about Toxic Shock Syndrome

When to see a Doctor?

If you experience the above symptoms after using tampons, contact your doctor immediately.

Your doc will likely make a diagnosis of toxic shock syndrome based on a physical examination and your symptoms. Additionally, they'll probs check your blood and urine for traces of Staphylococcus or Streptococcus bacteria. Expect them to also take swabs of cells from your cervix, vagina, and throat. These samples are analysed for the bacteria that cause toxic shock syndrome.


How to prevent toxic shock syndrome. 

There are ways to reduce the risk of toxic shock syndrome (TSS). And you'll be glad to hear, it's not rocket science guys:

  • Always use a tampon with the lowest absorbency suitable for your period. (Riley tip: Try our mixed absorbency boxes if you want to alternate. Select ‘Super’ tampons for the first day of your period and then switch to “Regular’ towards the end of your period)
  • Wash your hands before and after inserting a tampon. Basic hygiene for the win.
  • Alternate between tampons and a pad during your period. (Riley tip: Choose one of our mixed boxed to make sure you’re always stocked up on both products)
  • Change tampons regularly – that means at least every 4 to 8 hours. Don't get lazy, ladies. 
  • Never have more than one tampon in your vagina at a time (a no-brainer but it happens).
  • When using a tampon at night, insert a fresh tampon before going to bed and remove it when you wake up. Simples.

If you have any questions or would like to know more, get in touch by emailing

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1 comment

Do you make panty pads please .. they’re even more polluting because older folk like me use them every day. It’s near impossible to get eco friendly ones. Great work. Thank you. Frances

Frances Crowe

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