Toxic Shock Syndrome Basic Facts

Toxic Shock Syndrome develops when the common bacteria, Staphylococcus Aureus, produce a toxin which is absorbed into the bloodstream. The toxin rapidly overwhelms the immune system and attacks the major organs, leading to kidney failure, collapse of the lungs and in severe cases, cardiac arrest. Alarmingly, half of all known cases of Toxic Shock are women using TAMPONS.

Symptoms of TSS

  • Sore throat
  • Aching muscles
  • High temperature; over 102 degrees F
  • Vomiting
  • Watery diarrhea
  • Red rash
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Very low blood pressure

Only one or two symptoms may occur. They do not necessarily occur all at once and may not persist.

What You Should Do

  • Remove the tampon (save it if possible)
  • Seek IMMEDIATE medical attention
  • Inform the doctor that you have been using tampons
  • Take TSS information leaflet with you

After Effects of TSS?

Survivors of Toxic Shock Syndrome may have been hospitalized for weeks and there is usually a long recovery period. They may have suffered:

  • Loss of fingers and toes due to gangrene
  • Permanent kidney and liver damage
  • Deafness and blindness
  • Peeling skin, and loss of nails and hair
  • Continual infections
  • Short term memory loss
  • No energy for months or even years
  • Psychological and emotional distress

To Reduce the Risk of TSS

  • Only use tampons made of organic cotton
  • Use the lowest absorbency needed at each stage of your period
  • Avoid using tampons continuously during a period. Alternate with sanitary pads at night so the toxins have time to dissipate.
  • Use a pad at the end of your period
  • Change tampons every 4 to 6 hours
  • Don’t use tampons if you’ve had any unusual discharge
  • Wash your hands before and after use and handle the tampon as little as possible
  • Alert your family and friends to the symptoms and emergency action required
  • Read and keep this information leaflet or the leaflet inside the tampon packet

If you have ever had TSS, NEVER – EVER use tampons again!


What Causes TSS?

There are two types of TSS, one is caused by Staphylococcus aureus and the other type occurs during menstruation with the use of tampons. Vaginal tampons, especially those containing any synthetic ingredients like viscose rayon, create the physical-chemical conditions that allow for TSST-1 toxin production to degress dependent upon the composition of the tampon and the environment it creates. Research clearly shows that the toxins of Staphylococcus aureus are amplified by these tampons. (the tampon connection).

There has never been a case of TSS caused by the use of all-cotton tampons.


Communication is essential

Health and safety information on leaflets should be read regularly to identify if any new, crucial information is presented. Young girls must discuss with their parent when they decide to use tampons. Someone else should know when tampons are used so that prompt action can be taken if the sufferer is unable to help herself.


The Bottom Line

If you have been using tampons and you experience flu-like symptoms and a fever, remove your tampon and go to the hospital immediately. Insist on getting blood work. If it is caught early enough, you have a much better chance of survival.

Your Life Depends On It!


Special thanks to Dr. Patrick Schlievert (TSS expert and professor at the University of Minnesota) and to Dr. Philip Tierno (TSS expert and professor at New York University School of Medicine)  for their research on tampon related TSS.

Download this information as a .pdf brochure here.


  1. Hi, I was wondering if there was such a thing as a mild form of TSS? I always have wondered about an incident I experienced when I was a freshman in high school. I was using a “Rely” tampon (discontinued brand) and all of a sudden in class I was overwhelmed with extreme cold sweats, fever, dizziness, blurry vision and nearly fainted. I could barely make it to the nurses office. Once there I vomited and fainted in the bathroom as I was removing the tampon. I woke up later with my parents there- but I don’t think TSS was well enough known at the time (1981) for them to think of it. Many of the symptons subsided after taking the tampon out- but was weak and ill for hours and into the night. I always wondered if this was TSS.

    • I have no doubt in my mind that you had TSS. My daughter used to get flu like symptoms in high school often, we had no idea it was connected to tampons and mild cases of TSS; we wrote it off as nerves. Microbiologist Dr. Philip Tierno commented to me that those were mild cases of TSS and are the reason that her final illness was fatal. Once you have Toxic Shock Syndrome it destroys your bodies ability to produce antibodies to the TSST-1 toxin EVER again! My suggestion is that you never use a tampon again, as you are a candidate for a much more severe, or even life threatening case of Toxic Shock Syndrome in the future.
      There is a test you can take called the TSST-1 antibody test, that will determine if you have any titers to prevent the toxin from harming you. This isn’t available everywhere but I recommend you ask your Doctor about it.
      Would you be interested in writing a short story about your illness for our website?
      Thanks for the great question.

      • Sandra Norrbom says:

        I am 19 years old. And I started using tampons in high school. And i never read the signs about TSS. When I was 15 years old I left my tampons in for 8 hours, I even slept with them in, I also used super absorbency although I am a very light flow, So that I didn’t leak, And one day I was just sitting down, and when i went to stand up all of a sudden i was practically paralyzed, My eyes wouldnt move they just went up toward the sky and The blue sky was shining a light much brighter than the sun just flashing over and over, My friends around me said are you okay? and I couldnt barely even get a word out, I just got out the word, no, So I sit there and I beleive my insides shut down because I couldn’t even breathe, and All i knew is i had to do something but I was confused and couldnt even stand or move a muscle, I felt like throwing up, But i had nothing left to throw up, I sat there for 20 minutes utterly confused , And miraculously I had made it through it, And my friends never called the ambulance,So that day i was so tired and i finally stood up and when i did i crash back down to te ground on my head, I told my self if this ever happens again I know something is wrong with me, So i went to the doctor and was diagnosed with’ dizzines” Later It happened again and this time I felt it happening I said to my family I dont feel so well, i don’t feel so well, And i threw off my hoody in confusion and my lungs shut down completely i tried to breath but it felt like no oxygen was coming in, I was in complete pain, I stood up and ran to the kitchen, and i lost balance completely, i hit my head on everything trying to hold myself up, And there I was laying on the floor with blackness in my eyes, and Finally i cry out for help,Unfortunately my family was not very smart…and when i cried help all he did was take my hand and help me i went and laid down and slept for two days feeling incredibly weak, then i moved to another state and it happened several times after that, One time I even had a seizure because of it, i sat on the ground shaking while my dad only sat next to me for 20 minutes, I am lucky to be alive…But i went to the doctor again and my heart was fine, but yet again they diagnosed me with ‘faintness’ So I still have it in my system…And I am sure that Soon I will be dead from never having it cured. The doctors werent able to diagnose it but I know for sure that this was TSS, I had all the symptom, Worst experience ever in my life…coming that close to death several times and no one to help this day I still cant see a doctor because i can’t afford it and my family is even take me to the doctor. So thats my story of a real case of TSS that I’ll never be able to cure and now I just know and wait for death to get me.

        • Jessica says:

          If you haven’t, already, you should officially submit your story to the website. Not everyone who gets TSS will die from it, but the side-effects can be dire. I hope you’re fully recovered by now.

        • listen sandra I am 21 I have never experienced anything like that, I have always had a pretty good consciousness of what I should/shouldn’t put on or in my body, luckily, because I have also had the worst parents not exactly stupid like yours but bad paren nts. I am very upset what you went through.. I dont ever reply to things like this but im very compelled to tell u to go to utube , LIFEREGENERATOR , his channel will tell u everything u need to know , Simply , your body can heal and get rid of ANY toxic cells when u put living fruits and vegetables in it. The things in the store called ‘food’ are made to get you sick, go to the doctors, where they can finish us off with ‘medicine’ but that is just more poison. god already made medicine: fruits , vegs and herbs. so that utube channel is liferegenerator. also, if u want light speed recovery let Jesus Christ take care of anything thats wrong, he is alive and does today what he did 2, 000 years ago instantly heal. And he is also coming back very soon , the world is moee wicked that what is comprehensible. and it is all covered very well. and not a soul questions anything until they have near death xperience like you, u begin to understand that life is at least somewhat REAL. facts are hard to find, but all anyone needs

        • With all due respect, most of what you described is not possible. If your lungs shut down you’d be dead. If you had a seizure for that long you’d be dead. Your story is not based in fact. While I believe you have a medical issue, you’re being a bit dramatic with no actual medical facts to support anything you say.

      • Hi there,

        Just over a month ago I went on holiday, I was feeling run down before I went and then I came on a period, I was using tampons as I was going swimming, I started developing hogging stomach cramps, migraines, burning up then shivering, my muscles were aching, I thought I had the flu, this went on for a couple of days, then my throat hurt, I couldn’t eat or drink without crying in pain, as I was on holiday I couldn’t go to the GP, I waited till I got home however I was feeling a little better, he checked my throat out and said it seemed to be a streptococcal infection, I have been very drained of energy since, I didn’t take the antibiotics as I was feeling better however it went into my chest and I still haven’t cleared it, I have had another very heavy period 2 weeks later and I was wondering after reading this site, do you think it could be a chance I had TSS, I do normally wear towels however when I don’t have them I do use tampons and I’m not the best at remembering to remove them.

        Thanks in advance :)

        • Hi Lottie,
          Thanks for writing. Yes, it’s possible that you had a strep infection and it’s possible that you still have one. It’s very important that you complete the antibiotics prescribed for you and take them as directed. And, because of the symptoms you displayed, it would be a good idea not to use tampons because you could be at a greater risk for developing TSS.

          • Hello, my name is Jody . I am so sorry for everyone who has lost a loved one due to TSS . These story’s make me sad but help me. So I bought tampons that said they could be left in for 8 hour’s I left one in..for about 9 this happened last night. I have no symptoms yet… but… what should I do? As soon as I woke up I thought ” oh my god I forgot to change to pads” over night… so I took it out as soon as I woke up ..wich was 9:10 .. I know this becuase of my alarm clock.
            But I would just like you to know.. every one of the comments helped me out , thank you so much for this site… the first thing I did was take the tampon out, read over the box again and then I looked up what to do and I found this site!

          • Hi Jody,
            Thank you for writing.
            It’s important to know that with traditional tampons, the toxin that causes TSS can begin to form in as little as TWO hours. 8 hours is way too long for a tampon to remain in you.
            For overnight, pads are a better option. And, so are Softcups (disposable menstrual cup) and Lunette, or Diva, or Keeper (reusable menstrual cups).
            Warm regards,

  2. Is it possible for you to add tweet/share buttons on here for an easy way for readers to share posts on twitter/facebook?

  3. I’m very sorry for your loss. I recently stopped using tampons and switched to a menstrual cup. Awareness is the first step!

  4. I was wondering what are other options besides tampons or sanitary pads? I hate both, but they are all I know about!

    • You can google menstrual cups and also Instead Softcup. These are wonderful options to Tampons and can really make a huge difference in how you approach your period!
      I have a Diva cup and I love it. It is made of medical grade silicone and can be sterilized. When I first purchased it, it said it was good for 10yrs. I think the FDA may have gotten involved, because they have cut down the time for use. I have had mine for about 8yrs with no issues. There is a bit of a learning curve with these products, but once you become used to them you will never go back to tampons again!!

    • Elizabeth, Yes, there are options to traditional tampons and disposable pads. The Diva cup, as Vicky mentioned (Thank you, Vicky!) is one option. There are several resuable cups on the market and there is a disposable cup as well. There’s also the option of menstrual sponges and reusable/cloth pads. I would love to speak with you more on this if you would like to email me at: . On our TweetChat page ( ) you can find transcripts of past TweetChats – and it’s quite possible that you would come across something that addresses your question in more depth. I encourage you to visit the page and scroll through the TweetChats to date and click on those that are of interest to you. Again, please feel free to email me. Thank you for your question.

  5. I cannot thank you enough for this website. I hope you are able to spread this information to every school in the country and abroad. I want to share a TSS success story to help others . My 12-year-old daughter experienced terrible irritation to sanitary products during her last few periods. Initially she was tested for yeast infection, bladder infection, and pinworms. However, lab tests proved all of these to be negative. Half way through this last period we switched to organic sanitary products. Unfortunately her symptoms did not subside. She was in total agony with itching and burning. Although she had not used tampons since Wednesday, she started to develop muscle aches and fever Saturday night. I thought it was the flu due to reduced resistance since she had been up scratching since Tuesday. By Sunday I called her pediatrician who told me to take her to the ER just incase she had TSS. His fear hit me over the head as absolutely true. No one agreed with me in the ER and it took 2 hours until she was checked. I said TSS over and over so they had no choice but to test for it. By the time she was admitted to a room she went from muscle aches when she was first admitted to not being able to lift her arms and legs. The doctor assured me that although she did not believe she had TSS she would watch for symptoms and treat her for flu but also give her another antibiotic to cover all bases plus four bags of Fluids and tourtol (sp?) for pain. These were all given through IV. As the evening progress she developed slight swelling in her fingers, a slight rash, low blood pressure, and a fever around 103. The next day lab results confirmed staph aureus in her vaginal fluids and urine. They then switched to clindomycin. However, the antibiotic that was initially given to cover all bases had already begun its magic and my daughter was already much better. The clindomycin completed the job. I cannot thank our pediatrician enough for suggesting TSS and the doctor at the hospital for taking a mother’s fears seriously. My advice to anyone with a young girl who has a history of tampon use, please switch to organic and if they ever show more severe flu symptoms to immediately take her to ER and to insist they check for TSS even if they do not agree with you. Her pediatrician said that he has never seen TSS in his practice and did not expect his suspicion to prove true. It was just a gut reaction. He did say that he is sure her case will change the procedures at this hospital.

  6. Abigael Robinson says:

    I accidentlly left my tampon in for 9 mabey 8 1/2 hours long. Is this enough time for TSS to start developing cause if so then I’m scared.

    • Abigael, To answer your question – yes, this is enough time for TSS to start developing. Now, having said that, let me say this – don’t panic. Since this tampon remained in longer than you intended, if at all possible, give your body a rest from tampons for the remainder of this period. If symptoms listed above develop, don’t hesitate to seek medical attention. If you have questions, please email me at .

  7. i use tampons during the day and switch to pads at night i change tampons every 4 hours last year in may i was sick for abut 3 weeks i can’t remember if i was on my period then or not but i was vomiting had diarrhea a sore throat a cough and barely moved i was put on the quick start antibiotics could this have been mild tss

    • Kelly you quite possibly did have early stages of TSS. My daughter used to have this happen a few years ago when she was having a light period or right after a period. Come to find out this was TSS but we were clueless. That’s why when she finally did get TSS it took her life. After you get the mild TSS case it destroys your body’s ability to ever produce antibodies to fight off TSS ever again! You must switch to 100% organic products now or you may be a victim. Please take this seriously.

      • i remembered that i was sick before and during my period and i don’t use tampons when i am sick i was checked for gallbladder and kidneys problems they and i was fine and i had stomach problems the year before i never had a fever was i started taking clartin i was able to stop coughing and and i was on the antibiotics for my throat i had stomach cramps that caused the diarrhea upper stomach pain from coughing and bubbling feeling made me vomit i would get really hot before i would vomit i have had to change what i drink i can’t caffeine had to stop eating spicy foods i would be fine for for up to three days then would be sick again i had some problems for awhile after that but now i very rarely feel sick i was also stressed out from a tornado hitting near our home in April last year i would love to use 100% cotton tampons but no please in town has them and they probably cost more then my mom can afford and they never did know what was wrong with me they think maybe ibs

        • Kelly, 100% cotton tampons aren’t any more expensive. You can get them at health food stores or online. Just do a google search for 100% cotton tampons.

        • Leanne Strong says:

          Hi, Kelly,

          I use organic tampons. We don’t have any places in our town (large Rochester, NY suburb), that sell organic sanitary products. But we do have a couple of places right near our town, though.

  8. I’ve used tampons since I was 17. I’ve used them all through my period and never use pads. I’ve never had a problem. I’ve used tampons for over 15 years.

  9. My daughter was diagnosed with TSS on 1-20-12. She is still in the hospital dealing with kidney failure and definetly will be losing many if not all her fingertips and toes. We did not think she was going to survive the first week. It is a slow process of healing and we are still dealing with it. Because of the mental confusion she does not know how long she had a tampon in but because of the staph infection the doctors do not believe it would have taken over 30 minutes for the toxins to attack her system. Does anyone know of any civil lawsuits on this?

    • so sorry to hear that i have never heard of lawsuits because they warn you about tss so that protects them

  10. I was admitted to the hospital on 9-15-11 with TSS and sepsis. I was on a ventalator for 9 days along with a feeding tube. I had a hysterectomy in 2007 so it was not related to tampons. Regardless, I had all my toes and part of my left foot on 10-31-11. I have not yet returned to work BUT I am walking, riding my bike, chasing the kids around the house and the yard and can do just about everything I was able to do before losing my toes. You do not need toes nearly as much as you think you do. I am 41 years old and am making a wonderful recovery. It is very scary while still in the midst of it and still in the hosiptal….especially for younger people but it will be ok. If there is a choice between being dead and losing your toes and maybe some fingers, it is a no brainer! I am certain she will recover just fine! My prayers are with you and your family!

  11. I will definitely be switching to pads. They make it seem as though tss isn’t a big deal, but obviously it is, thank you for this information!

  12. Im so SO sorry you lost your daughter.

    I will switch my daughter to organic cotton or, as many suggest, a menstrual cup. I’ve used a Diva for about 2 years now and LOVE it. As other say, be forewarned there is a learning curve, and also be aware that it can be sort of disgusting (and fascinating!) to see our lining and blood and everything so up close and personal! It can take up to a few months to really get the hang of using one. But they are awesome.

    Thanks for this website!

  13. Allison says:

    Thank you for this website and I am so sorry for your loss. It is so important to inform women about TSS. I was in the ICU for a week the end of January with TSS. It took my doctors a long time to figure out what was wrong with me. I am 35 with 4 kids (4 csections) and have used tampons for 23 yrs. The misconception is that you have to leave a tampon in for a long time for TSS to happen. Whenever someone hears I had severe toxic shock, the ask if I forgot to remove a tampon. I regularly changed mine every few hours which is why it was not suspected at first. Toxic Shock can happen no matter how careful you are with tampons. Changing it every 2 hours does not necessarily mean you are completely safe. Toxic Shock is not always caused by careless use and the symptoms need to be recognized no matter how careful you are with them.

  14. I’ve been reading all the posts on here and I still have questions… I’m 31 and have severe bleeding during my periods and I use pads now and have used them since I was 15 because wen I was 13 i developedTSS after switching brands of tampons during the same period.(tampax&o.b.) But my question is I really need something more for my periods than a pad and was considering organic tampons or a surgery to completely stop my periods. My OBGYN gave me these options due to severe bleeding for the past 3 yrs. Should I use tampons again?

    • Trista,
      Have you considered menstrual cups?
      100% cotton/organic tampons are a safer option than traditional tampons containing absorbent fibers.
      Thanks for writing! If you have additional questions, please email me at

  15. 5 years ago, I developed TSS. We had a sub in one of my classes and he would not let me go to the restroom. I had recently changed my tampon but I still came down with TSS. Only 3 days later I developed flu like symptoms at school and went to the doctor. My doctor was not qualified to diagnose me so he sent me home and told me to treat it like the flu and go the ER if my symptoms worsened. By around ten that night I went to the ER with severe weakness, agonizing pain, and dizziness and confusion. My mom had to carry me I was so weak. I arrived at the hospital and they immediately started testing me for TSS. I had a rare symptom known as “Strawberry Tongue” which is what set off the alarms that I needed to be tested. It is so rare that all the doctors and nurses came in to see my tongue. Less than 2 hours after arriving at the hospital I was air lifted to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. My heart rate was only in the low 20’s and I had acute kidney failure. They gave me lots of antibiotics and steroids. One of the steroids caused severe itching to the point where if I didn’t scratch I felt like I was going to go insane. However, if I did start scratching, I couldn’t stop and eventually my scalp began bleeding. I remained on Benedryl for the rest of my stay. At around 7 am I was sent to the ICU ward and remained there for 3 days. The doctors said that in the state in arrived in, it was a miracle I survived. I stayed a total of 5 days in the hospital and still did not return to school for a week after my release. My skin peeled for about 2 weeks after I got sick and my hair fell out for about a week. It took about a month for me to begin to regain my strength. The doctors told me that once you develop TSS you have a higher change of developing it again and that if that happens there is almost no chance of surviving it a second time. I have not used tampons since and I lecture anyone I encounter, especially teenagers, about the importance of changing tampons after only 2 or 3 hours and the possible result of using them period. I have had serious long term effects from the TSS. My cramps are excruciating now and I still get nauseous quite a bit. I believe that schools should teach a session on the use of tampons and TSS and the awareness isn’t as important to most people as it should be.

  16. I got TSS as a result of contracting strep A in January 2012. Symptoms: sore throat, red rash from chest down to rest of body, high temp. The docs couldn’t figure it out till I went into a comma (lasted about 3 days). It didn’t help that I no longer have a spleen to help fight the bacteria. I even suffered a mild heart attack because my body had a difficult time staying alive (no permanent damage). My right eye and half my left eye were bloodshot. I mean, you couldn’t see the white at all in my right eye for about 2 weeks. The opthalmologist checked it and said there was no permanent damage. My legs and feet were swollen like crazy, but walking helped keep the blood flowing. The skin on my hands, arms, legs, body, and feet is new, from peeling for 2 weeks after the surgery. Oh, I should mention that I had an IUD called Mirena, and the surgeon insists that that was the cause of the TSS, but my gynecologist insists that it’s wasn’t. The IUD was taken out, anyway, for good measure. My lungs were collapsing, but they gave me this contraption that helped to exercise my lungs. I’d suck in air, and it would show me if I’m not sucking enough. By the time I got out of the hospital, my ears were still ringing (continued for about 2 weeks), and my eyes were a bit blurry and had difficulty focussing (continued for about 2 weeks, too). I couldn’t remember most of what had happened and only recall some instances when I’m told about them.

    It is now April 2012. I have since recovered. My appetite is back, and I’m working out every day again (I also have diabetes Type 1). Current observations: fatigue, ridges on my fingernails, severe hair loss, short term memory issues, and I hate to admit that I get sad sometimes, especially during my period. I’m so grateful for my family, including my fiance, because they are so incredibly supportive. I believe they’re the reason I’m alive.

    THANKS for this site.

    • Lucia,
      Thank you for writing. I’m so sorry you developed TSS and sorry for what you’ve endured. But, I’m so glad you are doing as well as you are. Your attitude is awesome! Hang in there and keep fighting!

  17. I just want to say thank you for putting the word out there! I had TSS in 2005 at age 15 after using too high of an absorbency for my flow, and am trying to spread the word to my friends & family. I will definitely be telling them about your website!

    • Thanks for helping us spread the word about TSS! Be safe and choose menstrual products with low TSS risk – 100% organic cotton tampons, menstrual cups, pads.

  18. Jessica smalls says:

    I am 28 years old and I used Tampons for 13 years without any issues. In January of 2012 I was walking in a store and started to get very sick to my stomach,dizziness and muscle aches I passed it off as just getting to hot well not to long after that I developed a fever. My husband immediately thought of TSS and took me into the Doctor who tested me and it come back that it was TSS so glad that my husband out of all people thought of TSS. So it does not matter how long you have used tampons TSS can accure at any time and any age.

    • Jessica,
      Hug that husband of yours and ask him to tell his guy friends about TSS, making sure they are aware of the signs and symptoms so they can protect the women in their lives. And, better yet, teach him about safer options than traditional tampons so he can teach them. Options like – 100% organic cotton tampons, menstrual cups, pads.
      Thanks for writing!

  19. Lastnight i forgot that i had a tampon in an i went to bed i woke up 9hrs later and then realised that i had, had the tampon in for 9-10hrs. This is the first time i have left it in that long. Do you think i will be fine?

  20. Can you get TSS if you’ve have not had your first period yet, but your vagina hurts a little little bit and and you’ve just had a stomach ache? (gone away now though)

    • Hi Lucy,
      Thanks for writing!
      If you’re not using tampons, tampon related TSS isn’t a worry for you. :-)
      I hope when your period does start you will use pads and other safer options than tampons. If you would like more information, feel free to contact me at
      Sometimes a young woman’s vagina hurts a little bit and she gets a stomach ache because of the effects of hormones. Even though your period hasn’t started, you have probably entered puberty and are experiencing changes that will eventually lead to the start of your periods.
      I would love to talk with you more. Feel free to email me. If you wonder who I am – this is me: :)
      Thanks again for writing!

    • Leanne Strong says:

      Yes. Toxic Shock Syndrome can occur in anyone. Not just women using tampons.

  21. im 14 years old, and a couple weeks ago i was on my period and i was round my friends house when we all got drunked. an hour or two after we started getting drunk i went to the toilet and i couldnt remember if i had taken my tampon out, but i thought i must of because i couldnt feel it, and it had on occasions just fallen out. i didnt think much of it and later that night i started fooling around with this guy, and we tried to have sex(drunken mistake) but it was very painful and found it very difficult. the next day i felt very soar but just thought it was the attempts to have sex. this happened for a couple days, and the next day i went on holiday. about 3 days into the holiday i told my mum i thought i had cystitis, and she gave me some pills at around 7pm and went on with the evening. then throughout the night it became increasingly painful to go to the toilet, and by 1am it hurt so much that i cried for 20 minutes(and i dont cry often) because i everytime i stood up i could only last 20 seconds without going to the toilet and it really hurt to go to the toilet. i woken my mum up around 2 and she just told me to go to sleep and see how i feel in the morning. in the morning i woke up and didnt need to toilet as much and so i thought that my ‘cystitis’ had gone, and throughout the morning i started to feel really ill and thought i had the flu, but because i was on holiday i didnt think much of it. then later that day i realised i had a bad rash on my arms which i thought was unusual, but because we were on holiday everyone just said i’d been sunburnt, and over the course of the day i had quite bad diahrea which was very uncomfortable as i was in a public place, and every time i went to the toilet iwould find a brown substance in my bikini bottoms and the smell was ungodly and i just hoped no one else could smell it. then that night i stood up and it felt like i had a tampon in, i thought this was weird as i hadnt had any bleeding for 6 days, but i went into the toilet to check and pulled out a tampon that smelt digusting and was bright green. i freaked out and immediatly told my mum, and because of her job she had had medical training and she said straight away it was TSS. so she gave me some antibiotics, but we didnt have enough to complete the full couse(even i know that you always MUST complete the full course0 but we didnt a just hoped everything was okay. then on the plane a week later i startedgetting really bad headaches and feeling really dizzy. i also had a soar throat and swollen glands but becuase i get ill alot my parents just thought i was over reacting. ever since ive been back i havent being feeling like my normal self. i had netball on monday and i couldnt do all of the stuff i normally do because i was too tired and i could jump because my knees were so tired or catch because my arms were week. i have also been extremely hot in the classrooms and everywhere i went, and so i have been sweating alot. this was the last symptom ive had since ive been back. my mum says that its about time to go see a doctor but im afraid of what they might say and say i have to go to hospital, but my exams are near and i cant afford to miss any time at all. this website has been really helpful

    • Abigail,
      Thank you for writing!
      It’s important that you follow up with your doctor as soon as possible. TSS needs to be dealt with thoroughly. I understand your concern about your exams, but chances are good that all you will need is a full, strong dose of antibiotics to clear up the remaining infection.
      It’s also important that you NOT use a tampon for your next period – or for any other period. Pads are your best option right now to keep the infection from becoming full blown again. (After the infection is cleared up, you can consider safer menstrual options like menstrual cups or 100% cotton tampons.) The next time you might not be as fortunate as you were this time.
      Go see the doctor, please. Don’t wait.
      I’m so glad you found our website helpful!
      Would you please email me? – you can find my TSS story here:
      Keep me posted on how you are, please. I’m concerned about you!

  22. I had toxic shock when I was 12 and I’m now 37. I was in the hospital for 13 days. I lost 45 pounds, most of my hair and I don’t remember much of the first three days. My temp went up to 105. I survived. There are a lot of people who don’t. What I’d like to know if there a site that helps the people who have survived who have side effects from having toxic shock? I have killer migraines – which I never had before. Thanks.

    • Amy,
      Thank you for sharing your story! I’m sad this happened to you. If you are on Facebook, LIKE our page ( ) and briefly share what you’ve posted here. I’ll find you there and put you in contact with other survivors of TSS.

    • amandalynn says:

      Amy, I had toxic shock when I was 11 and I’m now almost 24. I still suffer from side effects so know that you are not alone.

    • Amy, I had TSS in 1983 when I was 16. Almost 1 year later I had my first migraine, for 3 days. I have had chronic headaches and migraines ever since. I met another woman who had TSS around the same time I did, and she suffers from migraines also.

  23. Today after a few days of an akward smell and a little urination when I sneezed or coughed I went to the bathroom and was pushing a little harder than usual for a BM a tampon came out of my vagina. It has been a couple weeks since my last period and I am totally freaked out. I have no symptoms but I am scared! Wouldnt it have affected me by now? Besides the strong smell coming from down there nothing else seems wrong. what should I do?

    • Janis,
      Considering the amount of time the tampon has been within you, and the strong odor coming from you, I would suggest you contact your doctor and share with him/her what you have shared here. It may be that nothing is needed and that your vagina will clear herself. But, there’s always the possibility that the odor is due to a bacterial infection and antibiotics can work wonders in clearing up issues and preventing additional problems.
      Please post again and let me know how you are doing. I’m sorry I didn’t catch this until now.

      • After spending the weekend with my boyfriend and I was fine! no odor no discharge Come monday morning I was driving to work a 30 min drive and I had horrible cramping! Like I thought I was going to pass out. I made it and the cramping continued I called the local ARNP that I see through family planning. at the health department and she had me come in immediatly. She said there was a little discharge but as to be expected since i am going to start my period. But she swabbed me for chlymadia anyway. Which I am extremly freaked out about! she has me on heavy antibiotics and says TSS is ruled out since I have had no fever or rash. So I am on antibiotics for a possibly chlymadia infection. Which I pray to god I don’t have! But No Tampon’s for me! I am done!

  24. Anonymous says:

    Reading these stories has been both comforting and all too familiar! I had Toxic Shock Syndrome two years ago. I was admitted to the hospital after 4 days of feeling progressively worse at home…by the time I was brought in, I was having seizures. They initially diagnosed me as being in septic shock- it took the doctors several days to correctly diagnose my illness as TSS. I still have cardiac issues that they think may be a result of the infection.

    Side note- for those who are visiting this site to see if their symptoms are Toxic Shock related, trust me…if you’re well enough to be performing a google search, you don’t have TSS! I was unable to perform even very basic functions and had no interest in doing anything other than sleeping. What stands out, two years later- on the first day, it felt like the worst illness I had ever had. By the second & third day, I was way beyond that- I could barely move and was unable to stay awake. I slept from 3:30pm until 8 am the following morning and still couldn’t function. I promise, if it’s TSS…your symptoms will be bad enough to warrant medical attention. It won’t be like anything you have experienced before!

    • I whole-hardheartedly disagree with this. I was released from the hospital 3 days ago due to TSS. Each and every person is different and present with different symptoms. I was ambulatory and alert although suffering from back pain, pain during urination, skin rash and flu-like symptoms. The point I am making is there are many symptoms associated with TSS but a person may only present with 1 or 2. TSS is not to be taken lightly so to say one would have symptoms so extreme to warrant medical attention would be false in my opinion.

      • Courtney,
        Thank you for writing. You are correct in saying that only one or two symptoms may present with TSS. Each is different.
        How are you?
        Would you email me and let me hear from you?

  25. Christy says:

    Thank you for this site, and for raising awareness about TSS. I’m so sorry for the loss of your beautiful daughter. I contracted TSS some years ago, but from a contraceptive sponge. I was fortunate it was caught early and treated, but the doctor said much longer and I wouldn’t have made it. I only use sea sponge tampons now, and no more contraceptive sponges.

  26. So glad to have found this site and so sorry to hear of everyone´s horrible experiences. Public awareness on this issue needs to be raised urgently as TSS can strike so suddenly and no one knows they´re prone to it until it´s happened.
    I contracted strep throat on a maternity ward after the birth of my first child. Within a few days of leaving hospital it had developed into scarlet fever. I felt very sick and strange but assumed it was normal after childbirth; I had no one to ask as I was abroad in an isolated location and in any case was not very fluent in the language. On day 11 after the birth I felt so ill I drove myself to the nearest hospital – drove up the pavement on the way – where it was discovered I had a temperature of 41° and seriously low blood pressure. I was admitted immediately but went into shock and remained in hospital for several weeks. After a brief few days at home, I was re-admitted as the intravenous antibiotics hadn´t worked. It took some time before the cottage hospital I was in was able to get a proper diagnosis from the university hospital 700km away. Whilst in hospital the second time – my baby was being cared for by the nurses although I struggled on with the breastfeeding – I was told that my mother had been diagnosed with a brain tumour. I was discharged early to return to the UK to say goodbye. It was without doubt the hardest year of my life – I felt ill for months, had no energy whatsoever etc . Many years, and another baby later, my gyno has recommended that I have a mirena fitted to stem my heavy menstruation as I have very low iron. But having had TSS I´m pretty terrified. I´ve been using organic sanitary towels for all these years and demanding strep tests every time I get a sore throat etc. so I´d be really interested to hear peoples´opinions on the Mirena, both as a device for reducing menstruation and in the light of my TSS history.

    • I forgot to mention in my story that I had a staph infection in my breast, as a result of breastfeeding, at the same time as the strep infection. That´s undoubtedly what triggered the TSS.

  27. amandalynn says:

    In March of 2000, when I was 11 years old, I came down with flu like symptoms and was rushed to the hospital after vomiting over 15 times in one day. While there they diagnosed me with an allergic reaction to the flu and sent me home. The next morning I was feeling better and went to reach for a glass to get something to drink and I collapsed. Luckily my mother caught me and my hands and feet started turning blue and i was shaking. She rushed me back to the ER and by that point I was in and out of consciousness. The doctors had no clue what was wrong with me. They tried putting an IV in my leg 48 times because they couldn’t get it anywhere else. Finally my mother told them to try somewhere else so they put it in the main artery in my neck. After a little bit I was transferred to a hospital in another city that had a doctor who knew I had TSS but on the way over my liver, kidneys, and heart failed and I was put on life support. While there they told my family I would only have a 20% chance of living and to be ready to say their final good byes to me. They even had to put a cath. in me because I was too weak to go to the bathroom on my own. Luckily I started getting better, but I had been in a hospital bed for over 3 weeks, so I basically had to learn how to walk again, and now I can’t walk in a straight line and I had a terrible limp for a while. I missed two months of school, I filled up with fluid in my lungs from all they pumped into me and I had asthma. Once home with a pickline, my feet and hands started peeling and my hair came out, I would cry to my mom and she would tell me how beautiful I was. I went back to school and had all the kids make fun of me and say I was faking being sick. Now even though its been 12 years it’s been hell. I’ve had numerous kidney and UTI infections, I’ve had lyme disease, mono, H-pylori, and everything else because my immune system is so weak. They now think I may have chrons. I got TSS from an undetected strep throat. I wish more people took this diease seriously so that they wouldn’t have to go through what I did.

  28. does anybody now of any civil law suit that may be going on for anybody that has tss.

  29. All the info above is so correct it’s not even funny. I had TSS when I was 20 and haven’t been the same since. It wasn’t even that I left the tampon in for too long it was that my pH balance was off one day. It’s scary I was in intensive care for a week, kidney failure, temp of 105.9, almost no blood pressure, and I had to have a centerline put in. TSS is more rare nowadays so my doctors couldn’t figure it out for 3 days so they just give me every antibiotic they could find.

  30. Melissa H. says:

    Hello,I am 14 & i just have a few questions..i got my period on thursday, and since saturday morning i’ve been feeling like i’m about to puke.I hardly got any sleep last night, either.And earlier today i started to get very dizzy when i stood up & now i have really bad dirreaha. I’ve already taken my tampon out, so i’m wondering if i should go to the hospital or not? Does this sound like TSS?

    • Melissa, it sounds more like your body just reacting to your perioud. You could feel dizzy due to blood loss so.drink.water and eat iron. Also the diarreah can be cause by your stomach musckes contracting. But if you get a temperature and a rash or any of the symptoms noted by this site then go to the doctors but you may also want to talk to your doctor about giving you something to make your perioud less painfull. Hope you feel better :)

    • Melissa,
      Taking the tampon out was smart!

      Since you became ill while using a tampon, it would be a good idea not to use tampons the remainder of this period.

      The symptoms you report could be TSS and they could be something as simple as a stomach virus.

      However, since I don’t know your menstrual history (meaning what usually happens when you have your period), I can’t assume that the symptoms you shared are simply related to your period.

      My suggestion would be that you ask your parent or guardian to put a call into your doctor and let the doctor know that you are on your period, have been using tampons and the third day into your period began to have vomiting that has progressed to diarrhea and dizziness. Mention the possibility of TSS and that you are concerned.

      Don’t wait for the rash to show up.

      Let me know how you are, please. I’m concerned.


  31. Hey! Thanks for having this site :)

    I’m worried abit as I’ve just started using tampons and honestly don’t know what is normal. I’ve tried inserting them before before I used to get all shaky and feel sick straight away with headaches so stopped. I had no choice recently on my period and after a few tries managed it. At first I was sort of ok but just as my period started I developed a cough that is starting to go into a sore throat. Also, as the past few days have gone by I’ve developed a headache while using the tampons and feel pressure around my body and around my head (really hard to describe) and I feel abit achy as well. Also, it feels like theres something inside me or not quite right and now I’ve changed to pads but the last few hurt slightly when I inserted them.

    Does this sound like TSS atall? I know it may sound silly but I really don’t know what to do and who to speak to. I take any advice and thank you for your time :)


    • Also, I kind of feel like I have cramps in my stomach, like theres pressure on it and abit like period pains but no sharp pains, if that makes sense :)

  32. Kimberly says:

    I started using tampons at the start of the year(I’m 17), and they’ve been alright so far, except this month (it’s happening now), after i put my tampon in i feel a little queasy and giddy, nauseous at times too. Do you think this might be TSS? I’m so worried! And also, i think i mixed up my newly bought tampons with those that i bought 2 years back, so do you think using a tampon from around more than 2 years ago would contribute to TSS? ):

  33. i came across this site as i’m trying to suss out why i have problems with my periods over the past couple of years i have been suffering from soreness everytime i come onto my period i’ve never used tampons as i’ve heard storys about them from friends and family about getting them stuck etc so i’ve only used pads but over the past couple of years i’ve found it very painful to wear any type of pad and i become very red and sore and my body temp goes up and makes me light headed sometimes and i tend to go to the toilet more than normal can you get tss from using pads if you could help me i would be very very grateful

  34. Courtney says:

    I know i had a case of TSS, i removed the tampon and all the symptoms went away just like the flu would. My mom never took me to a doctor or the hospital or anything and i dont use tampons anymore but i was just wondering am i still in danger from that one time of it since i never saw a doctor?

    • Hi Courtney,
      How long ago was it that this happened?
      To answer your question – if you’ve had TSS once, you are at greater risk of having it again. Women who have had TSS and received treatment for it often come down with it again months later.
      The next time you see your doctor, be sure to mention to her/him that you feel certain you developed TSS while using tampons and share your story. It’s important that you not use tampons containing absorbent fibers. There are wonderful alternatives – like reusable menstrual cups (Keeper/MoonCup, Lunette, Diva) and disposable (Instead Softcups) – that don’t carry the same risk that tampons do.
      If you have questions, feel free to email me!

  35. Can you get toxic shock from wearing a pad too long? I KNOW this is disgusting but I put on a new pad on Friday morning at 7 am and did not change it until Saturday at 11 pm despite the fact it was “filled”. I had a simple medical procedure that required me to be put out on Friday so I was out of it for the rest of the day. Saturday I was just in bed basically and not feeling well at all. So I didn’t notice the pad until late that evening. My concern is I have been experiencing muscle pain, sore throat, and that feeling you get similar to being hit by a bus. I have no fever. I told my parents but they keep informing me that you can only get it from tampons or something INSIDE you. I am just really nervous that I am having this.

    • Hi Lisa,
      I’m sorry to be so long in getting back to you. I’m unaware of TSS being caused by wearing a pad, but am aware that TSS can develop after a surgical procedure. However, I doubt this is what you are experiencing. Let me hear from you, please. I’m concerned.

  36. Anonymous says:

    I’m so very sorry about what happened to your daughter, and it’s lovely that you have dedicated this website to her. But, I’ve been reading the above comments about mild TSS, and I’m not sure if I have ever suffered from it.. but this time last year I got dizziness, nausea and muscle aches on morning, and I immediately told my mum and we left it for a few days but I was constantly panicking about so we went to the doctors and he just put it down to stress. I’ve continued using tampons but I change to pads at least once a day also, but now at the end of every period I get waves of nausea and muscle aches, and I constantly worry what it could be. However, I’m not sure if it’s just because I was so panicked last year or because it should be something I’m concerned about. Any advice would be useful, please and thank you.

    • Hi,
      Would you do something for me? Try going an entire period without using tampons. I know it would be difficult, especially now that it’s summer, but if you can go an entire period without using tampons even once it would give you an opportunity to see what happens. There are options available to you other than tampons containing super absorbent fibers – menstrual cups (reusable like The Keeper/MoonCup, Diva and Lunette) and disposable (Instead SoftCup) are excellent and quite easy to use. Feel free to email me at – I hope to hear from you.

      • Anonymous says:

        I find it harder to not use tampons during the night, as I always feel very uncomfortable and constantly wondering if I have leaked. I’ve read that it’s best to be wearing a pad during the night to help clear everything about but that’s when I find it to be the worst time wearing one. It does however make sense to try not to use them and see if it is just because I was so panicked last year.
        Thank you for the advice :).

  37. Hello, I was wondering of what I had experienced today was something to worry about, perhaps it being a sign of mild TSS. I am only 16 so I am not fully aware of all of the symptoms, causes, etcetera etcetera, but from what I have read online it may be a red flag….
    So today I put in a tampon (I think this was the 2nd time I had successfully inserted one, but the 1st time I had worn one for 8 hours, the first time was for about an hour because I was going swimming). Now, I am a very squeamish person, and I also am hypoglycemic. I also have a pituitary adenoma (small, benign brain tumor) so a lot is screwed up with my body at the moment and make things very hard to distinguish whether it’s my hormones getting all askew from the tumor, or another factor. Anyways, approximately 8 hours later I took the tampon out (I was trying to stay calm, but I am very grossed out by massive amounts of blood coming out of me due to my heavy flow, and the lining itself) and all of a sudden I couldn’t really see. I was thinking that perhaps I was having a blood sugar “attack” and so I kept trying to get it out so I could go lay down. I started sweating profusely and I couldn’t hear anything. So all I could see we’re black spots while I am trying to get this thing out of me, heard some ringing in the ears (but I couldn’t hear ANYTHING else), sweating all over the place, I almost threw up because I was super nauseated, turned as white as snow with a slight green tint, and I felt nervous and it was just horrible. This happened probably about 20-30 minutes ago, and I am still very sweaty, dizzy, and shaky. I just would like some input on whether you believe this is something I should consult my doctor about.
    Thank you,
    By the way, I just wanted to say that this is a great resource for young and even older women to use. I am sorry for your loss, that is devastating, you have my sympathy, and I just really appreciate that you decided to create this for others despite your loss. Thank you again.

  38. Hi,
    Thanks for writing! My first comment would be to ask you not to leave a tampon in more than 2 hours. The longer a tampon is in you, the greater the chance of developing a problem. I’m not a doctor, but what you described doesn’t sound like the onset of TSS…but more like a vasovagal response. I have experienced that and my experience was just like you described it – removing a tampon can trigger it as can having a bowel movement. It would be a good idea to mention this to your doctor in light of other health problems you have. I would love to talk with you more about how to better cope with your periods and about products that you might find better fit your needs. Please email me at I look forward to hearing from you.

  39. honestly what is so good about tampons anyways? if you want to avoid tss why not just basically wear pads, i just don’t get it with young people! you wait until it’s too late.. and just because everyone does it, it’s not like your going to be judge just because your wearing pads. it does the same job as a tampon but you won’t get tss from it! i’m not here to brag about pads but it’s common sense really!

    • Leanne Strong says:

      Um, Mae, I’m very sensitive to sensory stimulation because I have Asperger Syndrome, and sometimes pads can feel gross. I have heard about menstrual cups, and talked to my mom about them, but she doesn’t think they’re necessary. I’ve told her that menstrual cups (from what I’ve heard) pose ZERO risk of Toxic Shock, but she didn’t believe me. That’s why I wear tampons

  40. Mikayla says:

    Wow. Thank you thank you. I’m 13 and had tried tampons a few months back but I couldn’t get it in. I was about to try again today until I read this. I had glanced at the little pamphlets but I never knew it could be anything this serious, so I thank you. Question: I had originally tried tampons because I thought pads were nasty, but couldn’t get them in. Are cups any easier? I was going to try the LadyCup but I don’t think Ill try if it’s any harder than tampons. I’m obviously a virgin and I have a really small build so tampons never worked (thankfully.) are cups any easier? Will they make me have to “pop the cherry” or whatever?


    • Mikayla,
      You asked if cups are any easier than tampons – some feel the Instead SoftCups are easier. However, if your hymen is tight or the opening to your vagina partially covered by your hymen you could possibly tear your hymen a bit when inserting or removing a tampon or a menstrual cup. That, of course, does not mean you are no longer a virgin. Have you talked with your mom about tampons? and is she aware of the difficulty you’ve had using them? Some tweens find the SoftCups comfortable and easy to use and, of course, far safer TSS wise than tampons containing super absorbent material. Let me hear from you, please.

  41. Melissa says:

    I’m 16 years old and used a tampon this morning and had all of those symptoms that all all of you hav been talking about and just took my tampon out and just went to sleep but woke up weak and still feeling sick.. Should I go to the doctor tomorrow? I’m scared.

  42. If anyone could help me, I would really appreciate it right now because I am worrying like crazy! On thursday night I had to use a tampon for bed as it is all I had in, so I put it in and the next morning I overslept, so I had it in for about ten hours. I woke up feeling dizzy, not sick or anything else, just dizzy. A couple of hours later the dizziness went and I felt fine! On Saturday afternoon I got a very very slighy sore throat but it is nothing drastic. I actually think I could have burnt my throat a little when I ate something hot. I haven’t felt dizzy or anything since, but last night I had eye ache. That isn’t uncommon for me though, my eyes often get strained when I don’t put my glasses on.
    Now it’s Monday and I feel okay today, but I am not feeling good sinply because I am worrying so much over this. I have hypochondria so I always fear things like this.
    Does it sound like I could have TSS? I am 19 by the way.

    • Anonymous says:

      It sounds like you are just over thinking it, don’t worry, I do the same! If the symptoms you have mentioned are regular for you I’m sure it’s nothing to worry about as they do not sound severe. However if you are worried, go and consult your doctor and I’m sure they will give you the security that you need. Next time however, just be careful about how long you keep your tampon in, change it regularly and if your symptoms get any worse, please contact your doctor.

  43. Bronwyn says:

    Is TSS something that you would definitely know for sure that you have? I just discovered that I left a tampon in for at least 40 hours. I read that symptoms start showing up within 2-3 days, but is it possible to have a mild case? I have had a moderate headache for the past few hours. Is it possible that symptoms would show up later than 2-3 days? I am probably just worrying myself silly but am looking for some reassurance. No offense, but the stories on this site are making me worry more!

    • Thanks for writing! Toxins produced by certain bacteria cause toxic shock. It is possible to experience mild symptoms as TSS begins. And, yes, it is possible for symptoms to show up later than 2-3 days after your period starts. If you continue to experience the headache or develop other symptoms, please don’t hesitate to alert your doctor to the possibility of TSS.

  44. Bronwyn says:

    Thank you so much for this website. I am so saddened to hear about all the tragic losses of young life due to unawareness. After having a possible TSS scare myself, and reading all the stories on this website, I have made the decision to switch to the Diva Cup. I do have a question that hopefully someone can answer. Not many of the stories on this site say what circumstance caused the TSS (leaving the tampon in too long, fibers or pieces breaking off, etc.) I am wondering what preventative measures can be taken in regard to what circumstance caused the TSS. After leaving a tampon in for 2 days, I am still worried about the possibility of TSS.

    • Bronwyn, My daughter was Amy, the little girl that died of TSS. What caused her TSS? well, Amy was a hygiene freak, we had an ongoing joke at the house that I needed stock in the company because she changed so often! She was a 3-4 hour changer! She also would only use regular absorbency. Amy obviously hadn’t developed the antibodies to the toxins yet.
      As long as you avoid all products with rayon fibers in them there should be no chance of TSS developing. Stick with 100% cotton tampons! There is no need to limit it to organic, but stick with 100% cotton. According to Dr. Philip Tierno, NYU Med Center, TSS specialist, there has never been a reported case of TSS using 100% cotton products.

  45. Okay so I thought I was starting my period so I put in a tampon. It was in maybe 2 hours. I took it out and it didn’t have any blood on it. A few hours later I felt like I was starting it again, but I was going to bed so I put another tampon in just in case. I was asleep for 7 hours. When I woke up and took the tampon out it wasn’t bloody either. My stomach is kind of quesy and my head hurts a bit. Is there a chance I have TSS?

  46. I was wearing a tampon the other day and I accidentally left it in for 12 hours. I’m like freaking out and I’m really scared. I only wear a tampon when I go swimming and then I automatically take it out. I guess I forgot and was being a idiot. I’m really scared and that day was the first day of my monthly cycle. I just really need some answers b/c some people are saying that I’ll get TSS and others that I’ll be fine an just to not do it again. I won’t ever but I just really need help.

    • Tehya, you’re fine. I left a tampon in last week for 48 hrs and was fine. Just watch yourself closely for symptoms. You’ll know if you have them and will be able to tell the hospital exactly what you have.

      • I just dont know what’s going to happen. Is my risk like super high? I mean like that day was the first day of my monthly and I use playtex sport or whatever and i don’t know what kind of absorbency they are. I’ve lost like everything in the box…except from the tampons. Should I still wear them right now?

        • Bronwyn says:

          If I were you I would use pads or a cup for the rest of the period, just to give yourself a rest. I don’t know how high your risk is, but I think you’re going to be ok. I was also using Playtex Sport.

  47. Hello, fabulous blog site, i appreciate you
    taking your time and energy to produce it, it has to take
    you a great deal of time however , definitely appreciated

  48. Help! I just discoverd a tampon that has been there for a week!! I’m freaking out here!!! What should i do?? Advice please anyone??

    • Hi Cindy,
      I hope you removed the tampon. I’m sure it was in pretty bad shape after being in there for a week. How are you feeling? You may experience a discharge for a few days. If you experience any pain, tenderness, foul smelling discharge, fever you should visit your doctor and be checked for infection. It’s good that you found the tampon. This happens to many women – we forget to take out that last one. If you experience symptoms listed above be sure to seek medical attention and tell them about the retained tampon. Thank you for posting! Let me hear from you.

  49. Anonymous says:

    I have a question. I have been getting sick for the last 3 periods or so that I connected to my period. The first time it was just a slight scratchy throat and muscle aches. The second time full-on stuffy/runny nose, terrible sore throat, muscle aches, but no fever still. I just got my period today and I am getting a sore throat….these past periods I have been only wearing pads, but in the past I have worn tampons and when I wore them I would wear size regular no matter the flow and always for eight hours, even on days when it turned out I didn’t bleed. Also, the last two times I wore tampons during my period I left the tampon in for 10 hours. Im worried I have a mild case of TSS. Also five years ago I became really sick, fever for three weeks straight…it occured around the time of my period. I was vomitting and weak. Ever since then I have never been the same. I also become “faint” and dizzzy when I get my period. When I went on the bc it stopped the vomitting. I told my concerns to my parents and my new gyno, and they both said there is no such thing as “mild tss”. I was wondering if there is any test I can take to figure out if this is the case? I read on another forum a girl would get mildly sick around her period because she had (unknowlingly) tss and it wasn’t discovered until she ended up in a coma. I hate feeling like this, and am super anxious when it comes time to getting my period. I also am going back to college soon and I just want this to be figured out. I have already took the action to no longer wear tampons anymore, and I am just wearing pads. But is there anything else I can do?

    • Hi,
      Have you shared with your new GYN that you are experiencing symptoms when you start your period? It could be that you have a low grade infection of some sort that flares about the time your period starts when your resistance is low.
      Also, I wonder if you began using a certain brand of pad three periods ago and what you are experiencing is an allergic reaction. The sinus issues makes me think this might be allergic and not infection. Can you think of anything you changed menstrually a few periods ago?
      Considering the fact that you were ill for three weeks a few years ago and your concern that it might have been TSS, using pads only is the best preventative measure I am aware of in your situation.
      I’ve been told there is a test that can check for the presence of TSS1 antibodies – that doesn’t tell whether you currently have TSS, rather it tells whether your body has created antibodies against it in the past.
      You said you’ve not yet run fever with your symptoms each period – if you do that’s a sure sign that something systemic is happening and your doctor will need to be alerted to this change in your situation.
      TSS is short for Toxic Shock Syndrome. Toxic = poison. Shock = full body reaction where organs begin to shut down. Syndrome = a set of symptoms that occur together. The toxin comes from bacteria and causes the body to go into shock. So, your GYN and parents are correct in saying there isn’t such a thing as “mild tss” in the medical sense of the term, but there are instances where symptoms exist but the situation does not become full blown shock. I’m not a doctor, so can’t advise you beyond what I’ve said and to suggest that you visit your GYN again and insist that you be thoroughly examined and if you don’t receive an answer that satisfies, find another doctor who will listen.
      I hope you will let me know how things go – and whether or not something changed product wise for your menstrual needs in the past 3 months or so.
      TSS is rare. Don’t be anxious. Be aware. Know the facts. Talk with your doctor and share your concerns and continue to share them until you have an answer.
      I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for writing!

  50. Katherine says:

    i can leave my tampons in for days at a time and have no ill effects. maybe some people just have a higher tolerance than others

  51. April Carbone says:

    I have had a tampon in my uterus… I think….had I not fainted and blacked out so much…and now have had two babies….since them. I think we are going to die. I have memory problems and sleep alot and so it happened agian recently and and I had a siezure. It is hard to function, I worry aout everything and and its extremly hard to sleep and wake up. Im really worried about my kids because I used alot of drugs while I was pregnant and the mix of toxic shock syndrome in my system and theirs mixed with drug abuse is leathal … take care of your selves ladies because you are all old enough to follow the damn rules:) READ THE INSTUCTIONS.

    • April,
      I’m so sorry for the awful time you’ve had! Did I understand you to say you’ve had TSS twice now? Thanks so much for contacting us and for sharing your story.
      As a reminder to all who read this – reading the instructions and knowing the facts/symptoms isn’t enough to protect you against TSS. Switching from tampons containing viscose rayon and other absorbent fibers to 100% organic cotton tampons, pads, or menstrual cups is the only real way to reduce your risk.

  52. I left my tampon in for like 8hrs like a week or so ago , and since then i have felt so bad. Im 15 and i started feeling bad like a girl in a previous comment , i recently got cystitus , and ive been dizzy for sevral days now and constantly feeling sick with really bad headaches , i thought it was sunstroke yesterday when i could hardly walk , ive had swollen glands and today i have started getting a rash on the bottom of my feet that looks like sunburn , i have a high temperature now and the rash i feel sick and my glands feel swollen , i told my foster mothers daughter how i felt and she told my foster mum , but shes im bed , im wondering would it be fatal if i didnt go hospital now? Im not sure if it iis tss, but should i wait until tomorrow or say something again even thought it is half twelve in the morning?

    • (i am not a medical professional and this is not medical adicce) Whatever could be the problem , you want to find something natural you can do while u decide you go to hospital or not . if your mom has any herbs use that in a blender with fruit . dont eat anything processed like from a box just fruits vevetables and water a day or two or few days. look for healthy things in ur house like ecchineca wuld be good for anything bcus it wuld enhance ur bodys ability to take care of whatever is wrong .. do wht is suggested on the bottle . lastly , it may be hard to sleep during the day but sleep as much as possible and drink soda or fake juice . ur body wants to take care of the problem but u hav to stay out of its way u know ?

    • Hi,
      The wise thing to do would be to seek medical attention right now – waiting until morning is not a good idea if what you are experiencing is TSS. Early intervention is key in dealing with TSS. Be sure to let the doctor know that a tampon was left in for over 8 hours and you’ve felt bad ever since with increasing symptoms. If what you are experiencing is related to cystitis the doctor can prescribe antibiotics to take care of the infection. And, if it’s related to spending too much time in the sun or burning your feet on hot pavement/sand the doctor can relieve your concerns quickly. I’m not a doctor – you’re not a doctor – your foster mom isn’t a doctor. Only a doctor familiar with TSS can accurately diagnose you. Don’t delay. TSS is not like the flu or other illnesses. TSS is a toxic situation and like I said early intervention is key.
      It’s better to be safe when TSS is a possibility.

  53. Used a tampon on hols last week for first time in years. Im 37 and approx 14 years ago left tampon in for few days as forgot about it. Cant recall many symptons so guess i was lucky, anyway that freaked me out so now usually use pads. Anyway since taking my last yampon out 6 days ago ive been really bloated, and pressure on bladder feels like something is inside but i know i took last tampon out. Im worried that i may have left one in ,b4 putting the last one in. Have a dull feeling but not pain also slightly achey and slight shivery feeling, and gurgly type noises in lower tummy.I have had intercourse with husband since coming home and cant feel anything there with fingers. Not sure whether to get checked or ifts in my head a bit.

    • Hi Lc,
      It sounds like something is not right inside. If you did leave a tampon inside and then had intercourse with hubby, it’s possible the tampon was pushed beyond where your fingers can reach. To be on the safe side it would be a good idea to get checked out. It’s possible that the issue is not tampon related, but rather a urinary tract infection, or pelvic inflammation unrelated to tampon use, or even bowel issues. However, since you used a tampon for the first time in years and this issue developed, be sure to let your doctor know that tampons were involved and that it’s possible one is still within you. And, of course, if you develop any of the symptoms listed in the article above don’t hesitate to seek immediate medical attention.
      Thanks for writing.

  54. Ok, so I’ve been reading all of the stories trying to figure out my next move. I’ve been on birth control for almost 10 years now. I’m 27 and have always worn tampons since my first period at 12. Like an idiot, I apparently forgot to remove my last tampon. It was in for approximately 9 days. Thing was, it was clean, it did have a slight odor though. I had not had a single symptom the entire time it was in. I discovered and removed it last Saturday (8-25). Knowing that Apple Cider Vinegar is an antibacterial item, i mixed 2tbs with 4 cups of warm water and immediately douched. It wasn’t until last night (8-28) that I started feelin ill. Even then my symptoms were wet feeling ears and the left side of my throat is soar and some minor muscle aches in my neck and sholders. Today, those symptoms remain and i cannot seem to get warm. I’ve monitored my temp all day and it’s normal. I’m also having issues with wisdom teeth moving again. I really want to stay on top of it, I’m usually not that irresponsible as my health is extremely important to me. What is the general consensus? My feelin is that its not TSS as I would think I would have had the symptoms while the tampon was in and not days after.

    • Hi Jessica,
      If your symptoms remain as they are and you don’t develop fever or more symptoms listed above, I think it’s not TSS you’re dealing with.
      Continue to monitor your situation and be sure to let someone know that if you suddenly become quite ill it could be due to TSS and if so will need prompt medical intervention.
      It’s a scary thing to realize you’ve left a tampon in for so long. I’m so glad you discovered it and hope all will be well with you and that you feel better soon.
      Remember – if your situation changes be sure to notify your doctor and mention the retained tampon.
      Thanks for writing.

  55. I have some add symptoms and not sure if its TSS or other things. Over the past few years I have had passed out randomly..within the last 3 years I’d say it has been 9-12 times. I went to the doctor orignally and he just insisted it was because I don’t eat, yes I am skinny but I enjoy food a lot. Then i started to kind of write down what was going on in my life when I passed out and noticed it was when I was on my period each time. I used tampons quite regularly and did not change it as often as I should. I had sevre back pain every time I am on my period to the point where I couldn’t move. I have a terrible immune system and have frequently been sick and a year ago had to get my tonsils taken out due to getting strep so much. I noticed some peeling on my hands and feet but honestly thing that could be athetles foot. I stopped using tampons bc i thought the tss might be what was going on. I have noticed that my cramps aren’t as terrible but still there. Should this be something I investigate furthur? I was very upset with seeing the doctor last time bc he wouldn’t listen and just thought it had to do with my eating habits. I haven’t passed out since I’ve started using pads but that has only been a few months….

    • Hi Nicole,
      I encourage you to check with your doctor again – be sure to let him know that you have had strep problems in the past, have passed out during your periods when using tampons, experienced peeling of hands and feet.
      It sounds like pads are working well for you – less cramping and no passing out. Many women find they have less cramping when they stop using tampons.

  56. Im kind of embarrassed about this but for about 2 months I’ve been going to my Dr. Telling him I’m sure I have a bladder infection I’ve got lower abdominal pain back pain and pressure nausea diarrhea headaches all the stuff that’s goes along with one. They did a urin sample no sign of infection but there was a lot of blood. Since then I’ve had my period for the second time as usual and it hurt to us a tampon I figured it was due to these bladder issues. Today I noticed a foul smell and I thought I felt something sure enough I removed an old tampon I’m pretty sure it’s been in there for about 2 months now I’m spotting and still feeling chills and just plain kind of icky. I know I should tell my Dr. But I’m embarrassed that I didn’t realize it was in there and neither did my boyfriend. My concern now is will this sickness go away or do I need an antibiotic? Unfortunately I panicked and flushed the old tampon! Any advice would be greatly appreciated…

    • Hi Amy,
      Please don’t let embarrassment keep you from alerting your doctor to your health situation. You’re not the first woman to forget about a tampon. Tell your doctor – don’t wait.

  57. Ok so I am really worried right now and I wanted to here your opinion on this. So earlier today I had a tampon in and when I went to take it out it was painful because it was not full and a few minutes after I had diarrhea but it was more solid like poop instead of super watery and I got scared thinking this might be TSS or maybe I’m just paranoid. I haven’t had any other symptoms and I’ve checked my blood pressure numerous times an it seems to be normal so maybe I’m just paranoid but and was about 10 hours ago si I was also wondering if I would be feeling any other symptoms by now?my name is Jamie by the way and I am 18

    • Hi Jamie,
      It’s common to experience discomfort/pain when removing a tampon that is partially (or mostly) dry. And, it’s not uncommon to feel the need to evacuate the bowels after the removal of a tampon.
      It’s thought that using tampons when flow is light subjects your delicate vaginal tissue to increased risk of injury and increased risk of developing TSS. There are safer options for flow too light for tampons – pads are one and menstrual cups are another.
      Thank you for writing!

      • Ok that kind of eases my worry. I still havent felt any other symptoms so I think it is what you said. Thankyou, and I’m definitely considering switching to cups due to the stories and things I have recently read here and on other websites. I’m sorry your daughter was a victim of this terrible affliction!

  58. I recently got my period, and its been rather heavy. On top of that I left my tampon on for a long time. i put the tampon in at about 10:30am and at about eleven or twelve, threw up. I completely forgot I left my tampon in and I all of a sudden got hot, and feverish. I rembered I had left my tampon in, and took it out at about 9pm, I am on medication that leaves me ill on saturdays, but I dont have the tendency to throw up, although I do believe i have felt faint on these meds before. I have a very very slight sore throat, but I have felt this many times before, before I was even on my period, and I have had tonsilitis a few times. I’m new to my period, and this time i switched from playtex sport to the u by kotex (the colorful ones, i switched to these because they “click” and fold up, and fit in my pocket, making it more descreet). If someone can please give me advice, I’m quite a bit nervous right now.

    • Jessie,
      What you described does not sound like TSS. To be on the safe side, however, it would be a good idea to avoid tampons for the remainder of this period and use pads only.
      Thank you for writing.

  59. I have been having headaches for about 4-5 days. I don’t normally get head aches. Then today I was having a B.M. and felt something slip out of my vagina, it was a tampon, I have been off my period for 4-5 days. I have had sex multiple times with no pain. But I have been feeling more tired and the headaches and today I feel slightly ill. Could I have TSS? It is Sunday dr isnt open today. Do I wait till tomorrow? go to Er? I am freaked out. I don’t recall forgetting to remove a tampon.

    • So-So,
      Bacterial infections from retained tampons frequently occur. And, as we all have experienced, infections can cause headaches and feelings of illness. TSS is not an infection but rather a systemic response to toxin produced by bacteria. And, the bacteria can be present and producing toxin without indication of infection. To answer your question – “Could I have TSS?” It’s possible that you could be experiencing a reaction to the toxin that causes tampon related TSS. The fact that the tampon was retained and within you for a minimum of 4 days and possibly as many as 12 leads me to think that you would be wise to seek medical advice or intervention if your symptoms continue and especially if they increase. Be sure to let someone near you know what’s going on. In the event that you should become ill and unable to relate to a doctor the facts (retained tampon for many days and suspected TSS), that individual can make sure medical intervention for TSS is begun. I don’t wish to alarm you, but do wish you to be aware that developing TSS is a possibility and if you do experience more symptoms do not delay in seeing treatment – and if you are still experiencing tomorrow what you are experiencing today, talk with your doctor and get his/her advice.

  60. First, I am so sorry for your loss. And I thank you for this site and raising awareness of TSS. A family friend had TSS when I was a child after using Rely tampons so TSS is on my mind whenever I use them. I have a really heavy flow so I use them the first few days of my period and switch to pads at night. But on Saturday night I put in a tampon before going out to dinner. I totally forgot I put one in because I just put the pad on before bed and did not take it out. It didn’t even dawn on me that this is what happened when the pad was clean in the morning. I honestly did not even think about it until I had an uh-oh moment and pulled out the tampon that by this point was in for 16 hours. It has now been almost 36 hours since I pulled it out. Ever since, I have had this headache and a mildly sore neck that I can’t get rid of. I had a sore throat that started on Saturday. But I am very prone to both headaches and sore throats. I would not think anything of it except for having left the tampon in so long. My question is if headaches like this are a symptom of TSS. I called my GYN this afternoon and she said to just watch for a fever, rash and pain. How long does it usually take for TSS symptoms to appear? If I make it 3 days without anything but this headache, does that mean it is not TSS? Thanks.

    • Noel, I can reassure you that you should be fine. My daughter didn’t have any of the symptoms you have. She only had flu symptoms; vomiting, diarrhea and a fever. By the time she got a rash she was ready for life support. The symptoms of TSS would have already been present before you took the tampon out.
      From now on, if you are worried about TSS and still would like to use tampons, go to your nearest health food store or go online and get some 100% cotton ones. These are totally safe and have never been known to cause TSS.
      Thank you for visiting this site and believing in us enough to ask a good question. I hope this helps.
      Lisa Elifritz

  61. ashly brenkus says:

    im not sure what is wrogn with me but i have been experiencing periods where ill have my period for like 5 days and then it will stop and then get light and then end for good. what could this be? it has happend for awhile now.

    • ashly brenkus says:

      cut currently im not on my period but on my stomack under the skin by my legs on each side hurts its sore what could this mean?

    • Hi Ashly,
      It’s possible that what you are experiencing is a normal period. Many women experience menstrual bleeding (red) for about 5 days and then it changes color and gets light and then goes away until the next month when it starts all over again.
      The pain you mentioned could be due to several things – pulled muscles or even ovulation that occurs 2 weeks after your period begins. If the discomfort continues it would probably be a good idea to check with your doctor and make sure all is as it should be.
      For more period talk there’s a question and answer forum at where you can ask period questions, receive in depth answers and experience dialogue with menstrual experts. Be sure to share your age and how long you’ve been having periods when you ask your questions. :-)
      Thanks for contacting us! I hope you will take precautions when on your period and do all you can to avoid TSS. If you use tampons remember to use the lowest level of absorbency needed for your flow and don’t use them at night. And, alternate tampons with pads during the day to reduce your risk of developing tampon related TSS.
      Again, thanks for contacting us!

  62. I am freaking out! I put a tampon in yesterday and forgot to take it out before bed. I woke up because I was having the spins (when you lay down but you feel like your spinning). I took the tampon out, took a bath to clean up and I only feel dizzy. It was in for about 14 hours. I don’t have any other symptoms other than dizziness. Should I go to the doctor?

    I was asleep when the dizziness started so I could h e had a fever while sleeping.
    Please help my mom isn’t answering her phone

    • Stephanie,
      I’m not a doctor and can only give my opinion – so here it is for what it’s worth.
      For the remainder of your period, it would be wise to avoid tampons. If you had developed fever from TSS while sleeping, my guess is that you would still have fever now. If you develop other indications of TSS don’t hesitate to seek medical attention. For now, don’t freak – just be aware and let your mom know what’s going on.
      Thanks for writing.

  63. Thanks for this site dedicated to alerting everyone to the existence of this rare but lethal disease. Greater awareness of TSS in a time when tampons are so well-established in the feminine hygiene market that some consumers may not even read the package insert may very well help save lives.

    However, I have some reservations about your use of Tierno’s data to support the claim that organic cotton tampons are safer than cotton/rayon blends. A search of the PubMed literature suggests that Tierno’s data has never been reproduced. In fact, at least two other studies using different methodologies (Schlievert’s is one of them; I’m afraid I don’t have the other reference to hand, but a search of PubMed for “cotton rayon tampon TSS” should bring it up) have indicated no significant difference between cotton and cotton/rayon tampons.

    Now, all of these are of ethical necessity either in vitro or animal studies, and whether any of them translates to the real world is anyone’s guess. x) The epidemiological data may help in that regard. Do you know if there’s a reliable source to support the claim that there has been no reported case of TSS with organic cotton tampons? Of course, it will be difficult to make any conclusions without also knowing the usage rate of organic cotton tampons. It may be that the population size is so small that, combined with the intrinsically low rate of the condition itself, it will be impossible to draw any reliable conclusions.

    • I have a very difficult time believing the studies that aren’t done by Dr. Tierno’s team; it’s hard to believe a study that is financially supported by the tampon industry itself. Dr. Tierno is the only microbiologist in the US that is independently funded. He refuses to take any monies from anyone with a financial interest in feminine hygiene products.
      Do you know that when the tampon industry provides the funds for a study it has ownership in the information? The results of the study must be sent to this company 60 days before being published for “necessary changes”. After speaking to Dr. Tierno and Dr. Schlievert personally It was easy to come to my own conclusion.
      If you send me your email I will send you a digital copy of Dr. Tierno’s study on comparisons of the amount of toxins produced by each and every brand of tampon available at that time. You will not find these results anywhere online. This is the only study of its kind done in the US, ever.

      • I hadn’t known about Schlievert and Parsonnet’s associations with Proctor and Gamble. Thanks for alerting me to that.
        I think that changes my view somewhat, as the lack of evidence for reproducibility of Tierno’s data then becomes less a question of ‘why haven’t the other studies conducted on this same problem found this’ and more a question of ‘why hasn’t any other independent microbiologist looked at this problem?’
        I think what would finally convince me is if more independent microbiologists did examine this matter using a number of different protocols and obtained the same results as Tierno. I in no way mean to suggest that Tierno’s numbers are inaccurate, but all models are by definition only approximations and may not adequately capture the far more complicated physiological conditions in humans. I think my concerns in this area would be resolved if more protocols were tested to rule out confounding effects of individual models.
        This does give me something new to think about though! Thanks for your swift response.
        (Thanks for your offer, but due to safety concerns, I do not give out my email over the Internet. I have seen the data provided in Tierno’s 1994 paper ‘Propensity of Tampons and Barrier Contraceptives to Amplify Staphylococcus aureus Toxic Shock
        Syndrome Toxin-I,’ which appears to be similar to the chart you describe.)

        • I’m glad I could help. The study I’m speaking of is from 2005. Published in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology, April 2005, Reemergence of Staphylococcal Toxic Shock Syndrome in the United States since 2000. I’m sure if you contact Dr. Tierno he would send you a digital copy.
          Believe me, after the death of my daughter I was up until 3 and 4 in the morning researching as deeply as possible for many, many months. I had to have answers. I picked the brains of as many Microbiologists as I could contact! You can’t imagine the things I learned!

  64. Hi there I recently was an idiot and left my tampon in too long 2 days ago. Yesterday I felt fine and now today i have kinda weird stomach…probably from worrying…and a pain in my lower back. No rash no fever that i know of slightly sore throat from allergies but that’s it. I have a feeling am just fine and worrying myself sick but another opinion might help too…any thoughts

    • Hi Lo,
      If the only symptom you are experiencing is the weird stomach and a pain in your lower back, then I think you’re right…probably not TSS. However, if you do begin to experience more symptoms that seem flu like, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor.

  65. I just want to make sure I understand clearly – what products can you use after a having had TSS?
    Also does a mild case wipe out one’s ability to fight it for sure?

    • According to Dr. Philip Tierno, Microbiologist, NYU Med Center, TSS Expert, you should never use any internal feminine hygiene product, EVER again. He also told me that after TSS it destroyed the bodies ability to produce antibodies to the toxins ever again. These were specific questions that I asked him. He also said since my daughter had had mild TSS in high school that it was the reason her last episode was fatal. She had NO antibodies what so ever.
      The reason I asked him about products after TSS was because I thought if 100% cotton produced no toxins that it would be okay, but he said he wouldn’t take the chance. If you would like to discuss this with me further or connect with 55 other TSS victims feel free to email me at

  66. Jana Jacobs says:

    I’m 14 and think I might have this. I’m havin watery diareeha cchills, and aching all over. I don’t remeber if I took out my tampon last night. What shouldl I do? I am so embarrased and don’t really want to tell my mom.

  67. what if u had a tampon in for like 6 months and didnt knw ituntil u went to the dr and they tell u.. a few days later u start feeling really sick and startin to get a kidney affection?

  68. Joan Pronos says:

    Hello I’ve been reading everyone’s comments, and now I’m freaking out a little… Ok I had my period (normally) I do wear tampons, I got very sick when I had it,( which isn’t normal) I couldn’t eat, when I tried it came right out, very very dizzy, my friend told me that those could be a warning sign, so when my period was over, the diarrhea stopped, but I still have the dizziness .. can anyone help please.. Kinda scared to go to doctors .. Thanks so much

    • Can you find someone to check your pulse and blood pressure? If the BP is low and the pulse very high you should seek medical treatment. If I were you I’d switch to 100% cotton tampons from a health food store or switch to a cup or pads forever. Be careful!!

  69. I put in a tampon for the first time and immediately after became extremely dizzy, lightheaded, nauseous, and heard a ringing in my ears. I also felt extremely hot though i did not check for a fever. I finally decided just to take out the tampon but I still feel a bit dizzy and nauseous. Is there any risk for TSS after only using a tampon once and not leaving it in more than an hour?

  70. Hey I got my period on monday and used tampons for the first time, had really bad cramps on monday night thought nothing of it, changed my tampon before I went to bed, and when I got up on tuesday and put a new one in, after I got home I took it out and swiched to pads, have been feeling rubbish ever since severe tummy pain and have diarrhoea, I never get any sort of pain usually while on my period so I’m worried now?

    • I believe tampons can cause more cramping. I would keep using pads for now and eventually if you want to try tampons again make sure they are 100% cotton.

  71. Hi I have a rash on my lips of my vagina and I have a sore throat I just started a new brand of tampons so please help

    • I would suggest changing back to your old brand, I think the sore throat is unrelated. If you have more concern see your Doctor.

      • Morgan,
        I’ve experienced reactions to tampons similar to what you described. Most tampons are loaded with chemicals (and sometimes bacteria). Menstrual cups are a far safer option – and there’s no string to irritate or to cause a rash. Instead SoftCup is disposable and there are three great reusable cups – Lunette, Keeper, Diva. All can be found online.
        Thanks for writing!

  72. Hi, I am so sorry to hear about your loss.
    I am worrying as yesterday, I discovered that I had left a tampon inside me, not a nice find it made me heave! I can only assume that I put another one in without realizing I hadn’t removed the previous one. I finished my period 5/six days ago so the tampon could have been in there 5 days minimum. Three days ago I got a bad headache and eye ache that I couldn’t shift but thankfully it has gone today, I had brown discharge that was really smelly (which I still have now) I also have pains in my lower tummy and cramps. It feels like a burning feeling and sore inside me. I don’t feel like I can empty my bladder properly. Every time I have a wee, I feel like I need to go again straight away. I am beyond exhausted. I keep getting hot but I don’t have a temperature. I saw my doctor yesterday as I booked appt as soon as I discovered the tampon and she gave me two antibiotics to take (metronidazole and doxycycline) today my tummy/lower tummy is still sore and all the other symptoms are still here minus the headache. Does this sound like TSS? The doctor said if I get a rash or temperature go straight back but I haven’t so is it safe just to ignore the symptoms I have now, and just keep taking the antibiotics. Am I safe to use Tampons? When I had my daughter 10 years ago I had to have antibiotics all through Labour due to group B strep being found inside me when I had a swab taken when I was pregnant, Does this increase Tss risk? Hope you don’t mind me asking all these questions

    • Hi Debbie,
      I’ll pass your condolences on to Lisa.
      Continue to take the antibiotics prescribed and report any new symptoms or lingering ones to your doctor.
      Are you safe to use tampons? My personal opinion is no – and I would recommend a menstrual cup instead of a tampon. Instead SoftCups (disposable) are available in stores and online and reusable menstrual cups (Lunette, Diva, Keeper) are available online. These cups are a far safer option than tampons.
      I hope you are feeling better by now.
      Thanks for writing!

  73. forgot to say, I am 33 yrs old!

  74. Have you ever thought about including a little bit
    more than just your articles? I mean, what you say is valuable and everything.

    However just imagine if you added some great graphics or videos
    to give your posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but
    with images and videos, this site could certainly be one of the very best in its niche.
    Very good blog!

    • Thanks Bennie,
      We’re working hard to improve and expand!
      We appreciate your thoughts and comments.
      Help us spread the word about TSS!

  75. I think that everything posted was actually very logical.

    But, think on this, suppose you were to write a
    awesome post title? I am not saying your information is not good, but suppose you added a title
    that grabbed folk’s attention? I mean Toxic Shock Syndrome Basic Facts is kinda vanilla. You could peek at Yahoo’s front page and note how they create news headlines
    to grab viewers interested. You might try adding a video or
    a picture or two to grab people excited about what you’ve written. Just my opinion, it would make your posts a little livelier.

    • Hi George,
      Thanks for visiting our site and for reading about TSS.
      We’re a young nonprofit and can’t afford all the bells and whistles yet.
      Vanilla is pretty bland but it doesn’t get in the way of the basic facts and it’s the basic facts that we want to make sure people of all ages can see and gain understanding of quickly. Perhaps we can add some sprinkles and spritz soon!
      I hope you will join us in raising awareness about TSS.
      Thanks again for your comments!

  76. Im a little worried. I’ve read all these stories about tss and earlier today I had a competition for band and i put the tampon in at around 6 am and I didn’t take it out until 3 . I was feeling dizzy and a little sick around the end but I didn’t know if it was tss or just the consequences of not eating and a really hot day in a heavy uniform plus lack of sleep which usually happens just not so sudden . I also had a bit of a headache and my arms and legs felt really tired. I dont know if that was because of marching and my instrument or test.

    • Hi Ana,
      I hope you are feeling better by now. If not, please let your mom or guardian know and mention the possibility of TSS – early medical intervention is very important.
      It’s quite possible that what you experienced was related to the fact that you were on your period and very active. If your blood glucose was low or you were even a little dehydrated you could experience some of what you related.
      If it’s necessary to use a tampon for so long, it would be a good idea to check into menstrual cups – Instead SoftCup is disposable and there are three really good menstrual cups – Lunette, Keeper, Diva – all worth looking into because they don’t carry the same TSS risk that tampons do.
      Thanks for writing!

  77. Hi,Im writing as i found a tampon that had been pushed up possibly 3/4 days ago, which i found this morning! Last night I had severe vomitting,stomach cramps and very watery diareah. I felt quite hot and cold at different times. My muscles are also quite achy,but i did do alot of dancing on the weekend too. Basically,after finding the tampon today i thought i would google it. I am still experiencing the watery poo. After finding this site about TSS i am extremely worried and dont know what is best for me to do. As i have no one to take me A+E and cant get an appointment at my doctors until later in week. I also am to embarresed to ask my father or mother….. help!

    • I understand your embarrassment, but this happens far more often than women realize. And, it’s your life we’re talking about ultimately – not just forgetting to remove the last tampon. Been there – done that – so don’t let embarrassment keep you from telling your mom or dad. If what you are experiencing is due to TSS, time is of the essence in receiving treatment. Once your organs begin to shut down the chances of you surviving drop. With TSS two of the hallmark signs are rapid pulse and really low blood pressure. My advice would be to tell your mom or dad and share your concerns. The issue isn’t the retained tampon, the issue is your life. I’m guessing that if your doctor was aware that you were having symptoms you’ve described after having a tampon in for 4 days they would either work you in or make a suggestion as to what was best. Silence, in this situation, is not your best option. Worst case scenario is that you die from TSS or become maimed for life from it – not that mom fusses because of the forgotten tampon. Like I said before – many of us have forgotten the last tampon…chances are good she has, too. :)

  78. Destiny Gaspar says:

    Hello I’m vey scared because Sunday night I found a tampon in me not knowing I had one in me, this is how the story begins like a few days before that night I smelt a weird oter from my under wear and I would get this whiteish brown discharge from my vagina ever time I sneezed and no matter how much I cleaned down here the smell would not go away and that wOrried me, so Sunday morning my mom told me I smelt bad and she said she didn’t know me for smelling bad. So i went to the bathroom and washed my vagina with a rage and soap a little after I had to pee and when I was on the toilet I smelt it again so I knew something was so I got in the shower and washed my self and I decided to feel down there to see if anything was wrong and I felt something hard and I freaked out Soo bad so I jumped out of the shower and went up stair and looked in the mirror and pushed a little then i saw this white thing cOming out and I grabbed it and turns out it was a tampon! So I went down stairs and told my mom and she freaked out so we looked uP the symptoms and I didn’t see any I had but I just read that watery diary is one and I did have that. So I’m scared a little. The last time I did have a period was the first week of October and I just started again today so that tampon was in me for over a week and a half and the smell went away after I got the tampon out please could I get answers if I’m still at risk for having TSS? But the only thin I have is watery diary idk if I still have it though. We were going to go to the doctors but my mom thinks I’m ok now since I don’t have most of the symptoms??? Answer please more information the better I am 15 years old and I honestly am just gonna use pads for now on because I am scared of tampons

    • Hi Destiny,
      The fact that you aren’t having any other symptoms is good. And, the fact that you are not going to use tampons this period is good, too.
      Retained tampons can cause bacterial infections, TSS, pelvic inflammatory issues, bladder infections, etc. If you begin to have symptoms, don’t hesitate to see the doctor, even though you are on your period.
      Diarrhea is common when many women begin their period and what you are experiencing could be period related and not infection related.
      Again, if you experience any other symptoms don’t hesitate to see a doctor.
      Pads are great, but if you need internal options menstrual cups rock – Instead Softcups are disposable and found at many stores as well as online, Lunette/Diva/Keeper are three cups that are reusable and can be found online. If you would like more information about any of them just let me know.
      Thanks for writing!

  79. Hi, I am 26 years old and just pulled out two tampons when I just went to the bathroom!!I have no clue how two got in there. Tuesday night I started feeling bad – had a bad headache, very achy and tired, and had stomach issues. This lasted all day yesterday (Wednesday) and I just felt awful. I slept basically the whole day which is very unlike me. I’ve also been feeling jittery and my heart is jumpy. I feel better today but still have mild symptoms. Do you think this is TSS? I’m nervous bc I had two tampons in there and my period has been light recently so my tampons are kind of dry. I’m so worried! Thank you!

    • Hi Ashley,
      I’m glad you found the second tampon when you did! Do I think what you have/are experiencing is TSS? I don’t know, but it could be. The jittery feelings you have and the jumpy heart concern me most. The best thing is to check with your doctor and let him/her know that your symptoms started while using tampons and that you found an unexpected tampon within you. Tampons aren’t recommended for really light flow – if you prefer not to use only pads when your flow becomes light, I would suggested using a menstrual cup. In fact, if pads are not agreeable to you, to reduce your TSS risk, menstrual cups are great all period long. There are disposable ones (Instead SoftCup) and reusable ones (Lunette, Keeper, Diva). All can be found online. If you develop more symptoms, or begin to feel worse don’t hesitate to seek medical intervention. With TSS time is of the essence.
      Thanks for writing!

  80. I’m curious as to if I might’ve had a mild case of TSS?

    Maybe a year ago, I was on my period and suddenly got really sick. I don’t know why, but all of a sudden I had a high fever (102 to 104), felt really sick, and was really dizzy and lethargic. I stayed in bed most of the time, since I could barely get up. I remember sleeping a lot, and I remember the room was spinning a lot of the time. I avoid hospitals and doctors at any and all costs, but even I considered going to one during that time. I felt a lot better when my period ended, and something inside me had been telling me I had some form of TSS then. I don’t think I’d ever been that weak in my life. I’ve never felt ‘right’ when using tampons during my period after that- I always feel a little feverish, a little dizzy.. I never felt like that before then. Right now, I’m moving toward 100% cotton tampons / a menstrual cup, I’m worried about somehow developing it again (and possibly worse).

  81. Angelique Moore says:

    I will think twice about leaving a tampon in for more than 6 hours. I read 20 comments or so at the top of this page & it has convinced me to be more careful. I am guilty of leaving my tampons in for as long as 15 hours. I sometimes forget about them. I will be better from now on. I am 26 years old & have been using tampons since I was 12. I did not know TSS could be so serious. We do need to educate more girls & women. My prayers go out to all the families that lost a loved one to TSS.

    • Hi Angelique,
      Thank you for your comments!
      TSS is a life threatening illness – and those who survive it are often left with physical and emotional issues for the remainder of their lives.
      I hope you will share our website with your friends and family. Menstrual taboos keep things hush hush but by speaking out we can make a difference. You just never know – you could save a life!
      Thanks again!

  82. Im 32 and have extremely
    Heavy periods. Yesterday was day 2 for me and I wore tampoms but never kept them in for over an hour. I don’t usually wear tampons but it was so heavy I was desperate since I was working. Around 2:00 yesterday I started feeling very achy, was running a fever of 100 that eventually moved to 100.8. I was chilled and couldn’t get warm. I was like that for about 2 hours. I took ibuprofen but it took a couple
    Of hours for my fever to go down to 99.5. I took my tampon out but I
    Already stopped aching before removed it. I was still running a low fever last night and very tired, but the achy-mess slowed and now I don’t feel it at all (3:30am) and still have a low fever. Does this sound like possible TSS? I’m so scared after reading everything!

    • Hi Lindsey,
      How are you feeling now? It’s possible that what you experienced was a reaction to bacteria or toxin. But, also possible that you came down with a 24 hour virus. With TSS fever is usually high and blood pressure drops very low. You did the right thing by removing the tampon. Menstrual cups (Instead Softcup is a disposable cup and Lunette, Diva and Keeper cups are reusable) are great options for heavy periods with far less risk of TSS than traditional tampons.
      Thanks for writing. I hope to hear that you are feeling better.

  83. I’m 17 and since getting my period years ago my period routine has been “stick a tampon in, change it every 12 hours.” Oops. I’ve had some of the symptoms mentioned before, but I’ve struggled with an eating disorder as well and many of the symptoms are similar. I’m probably not going to change the way I deal with my cycle, but at least now I know the symptoms so if something happens I know what to tell the doctors and what to do. Thank you for the information!

    • Melissa,
      I’m glad you looked through the list of TSS symptoms. Since you do use tampons, please let a close friend or family member know that tampons are your menstrual choice in the event that you do become ill and are unable to tell a doctor or ER nurse that you are menstruating and using tampons and at greater risk for TSS. TSS is not something immediately suspected when a young woman presents with flu like symptoms and immediate intervention is necessary to preserve life. I, like you, used tampons for years and had no intention of going pads only. However, there are some awesome menstrual cups out there – all can remain in up to 12 hours. Instead Softcup is disposable, just stick it in and go, changing it ever 12 hours. Lunette, Diva and Keeper cups are reusable. Thanks for writing! I hope you will share our website with your friends.

  84. Susan – thank you for your response! I’m still feeling bad. Yesterday I ran a low fever most of the day and was really tired and achy. A little nauseous. Today my back hurts really bad and I feel nauseous. Hoping this is just a bug and not consistent with TSS!

    • Lindsey,
      I’m not a doctor, but my guess is that you’ve picked up a virus that’s going around. If your area is anything like where I live there’s a host of bugs making the circuit right now. However, the fact that all this started while you were menstruating AND using a tampon does indicate a need to be watchful. At this point you are not giving indication of showing Toxic Shock Syndrome – with emphasis on Shock – no rapid heartbeat, no low blood pressure. If you are not feeling better by Monday, it would be a good idea to check with your doctor and make mention of becoming ill while using a tampon. And, of course, if you become worse don’t hesitate to seek medical attention as TSS does mimic flu symptoms. Keep me posted, if you will. And, feel free to email me if you would like. Thanks! Hope you soon feel better!

  85. Can u get tss even if you dont use tampons? I ask because im not passing all of the blood, some of it is flowing back up to my ovaries because of a botched procedure this tss scares me thanks

    • Hi Jessica,
      Some women do develop TSS even though they don’t use tampons. TSS stands for Toxic Shock Syndrome and is a set of symptoms that develop due to the toxins/poisons produced by certain bacteria and can develop following surgical procedures, with use of tampons, etc. Tampon related TSS is dependent upon the use of tampons. As to whether or not one can develop TSS due to by backed up menstrual flow – I don’t know. This would be something for you to address with your doctor when you return to have the botched procedure repaired. I would be interested in learning what you discover. Thanks for writing!

  86. Hi,
    First of all I would like to say I am so sorry for the loss of Amy. So I have three questions.
    1) I am thirteen and I HATE pads! you’re sitting in blood and it feels like I’m peeing every time I get up. I would like to start using tampons but am extremely scared by the risks of TSS. Do 100% cotton tampons prevent tss as much as using pads do? Because I’m completely willing to spend the extra money if it means my health.
    2) I have a heart defect ( truncus arteriosis) Will that increase my chances of TSS?
    3) and lastly can I get TSS while using pads.
    I would like to say once again that i am truly sorry about amy’s death. I respect you so much for going out and raising awarness and helping to not letting this happen to other girls

    • Hi Gracie,
      Thanks for writing. Thanks, too, for your kind words directed at Lisa (Amy’s mom) – I’ll make sure she sees your post.
      To answer your questions:
      1) 100% organic cotton tampons do carry a much lower risk of TSS than tampons containing viscose rayon (a super absorbent fiber). In fact, I’m not aware of any cases of TSS that developed from the use of 100% cotton tampons. Menstrual cups are also a great option. At 13, if you are able to use a tampon you should be able to use an Instead Softcup. As your body matures, reusable menstrual cups like Lunette, Diva, Keeper/Mooncup are great options with far less TSS risk than tampons. All of these cups can be found online along with great information about insertion.
      2) I googled truncus arteriosis and didn’t find anything in regard to a lowered resistance to bacterial infections. My suggestion would be that you check with your doctor.
      3) You asked if you can get TSS while using pads. The generic answer to that is “yes” you can get TSS while using pads. But, you don’t get TSS FROM using pads. At least, I’m not aware of any cases of TSS caused by pad use. Pads are external and don’t create the environment within you that allows the bacteria to produce the toxin that causes TSS.
      An important thing to remember is that you keep yourself and your hands clean. If you decide to give 100% cotton tampons a try, or the Instead Softcup, be sure to wash your hands first before handling either. You don’t want to introduce bacteria when inserting. I understand how gross it can be to use pads and how icky and disconcerting it can be when it feels like you’re peeing every time you get up. I’ve heard some really good things about Always Infinity pads and about Kotex U as well. Have you tried either of them?
      Thanks again for writing, Gracie. If there’s anything else I can help you with, please ask.

      • Thank you so much for your help! I will be trying 100% cotton tampons once I get the okay from my pediatrician. I wish my best towards Amy’s mom (and family). Thanks for raising awareness about this I always assumed that TSS was the fault of the consumer who was misusing the products but that really just is not true and it made me mad at the big companies (such as Tampax, Playtex and Kotex) for trying to blame it on the consumer. Thank you for everything, you really helped!

        • Hi Gracie,
          You are so right! TSS is not the fault of the consumer’s misuse of the product, but many mistakenly believe that. I hope the 100% cotton tampons work well for you. Help us raise awareness by telling your friends about Amy and by warning them about TSS. Thanks so much for writing! :-)

          • Thank you so much for all your help and I’m telling all my friends about your website. I even showed my best friend this website and she stopped using Playtex and has switched to a Diva Cup. Sorry to bother you again but I have one last question. Are natracare tampons a reliable brand for 100% cotton tampons?
            thanks for everything,

  87. im just wondering if i might have TSS. Im 15, and i always always sleep with tampons (i know, bad.) But one day I stayed the night at my grandparents house and when i woke up (i had slept with a tampon in) and i got out of bed to go to the bathroom to change my tampon and i felt so dizzy it was unbearable. but i managed to sit on the toilet, pee, and take out the tampon. it hurts SOOO bad when taking the tampon out. and when i got up i was really really reeeeally dizzyand i thought i was going to faint so i called for my grandma and she came and helped me to the bed and told me to just lay down. okay and i dont remember if this incident was before or after i had this TOTALLY random like 24 hour flu this summer. i threw up 5 times during the night and twice in the morning, two of those times i was dry heaving which sucked. and to this day it hurts inserting or removing a tampon. and as im typing this i am in pain because im sitting down. it hurts so bad to sit down. please help me and let me know if i may have TSS because im a little embarrassed to tell my mom or anyone and have them take me to the doctor and for them to tell me that its nothing. oh and i also ALWAYS get severe headaches, but i think thats hereditary because my mom has them all the time. idk whats wrong with me but please let me know as soon as possible because i dont want to get hurt. please and thank you!!!

    • Hi Marija,
      Thanks for writing.
      It’s possible that what you are experiencing is due to tampon use. Whether or not it’s due to bacterial infection or toxins produced by bacteria, I can’t say. I can tell you that it’s possible the episode you mentioned where you were dizzy and experienced the flu like symptoms could have been due to the beginnings of TSS and removing your tampon allowed the toxins to dissipate.
      It’s a really bad idea to use tampons for sleep. Also, if it hurts to remove/insert a tampon it’s possible that you are either using a tampon too large for you or that’s too absorbent. If the tampon is not “full” when you remove it after a couple of hours, you are using an absorbency that’s too much for your flow. And, if you are using a regular tampon and the tampon is not fully wet when you remove it, then your flow is most likely not heavy enough for a tampon. Removing a dry tampon can cause injury to the lining of your vagina and reinserting can cause tears. Injuries to the lining of your vagina can leave you more susceptible to TSS.
      I’m more concerned by the fact that you are in pain when you are seated and always have pain when removing and inserting a tampon.
      The symptoms that you are experiencing now don’t sound like TSS – you’ve not mentioned fever or flu like symptoms currently. So, I think it’s probably safe to say that TSS is not a concern right now.
      However, it would be wise to talk with your mom and let her know about the pain you are experiencing. It could be that there’s a retained tampon and if that’s the case it needs to be removed as soon as possible. Please talk with your mom. It’s important. Don’t let embarrassment keep you from getting the help you need. Your mom understands periods and tampons and will be able to help you. After all, she was 15 at one time and knows how embarrassing it can be to talk about such personal things to your mom.
      My advice would be that you take a break from tampons for a few periods and allow your body time to rid itself of the effects of tampon use. If your periods are such that pads alone won’t prevent leaks, or you are physically active with sports or swimming then I would suggest you check out Instead Softcups. A box of 12 costs about the same as a box of tampons and the instructions say they can be used up to 12 hours at a time, depending on how heavy your flow is – which means they are okay to use for sleep.
      Again, talk with your mom and explain to her about the pain. Moms have periods and your mom will want to help you, I’m sure.
      If you have more questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to write. Let me hear from you, please.

  88. Oh, and i have always been very sore throat prone.

  89. thank you so much for getting back to me. the thing is is that my tampons are full when i take them out! always! i have always gotten packs with multiple absorbancies and changed them when needed, i think haha. but it always hurts and it always hurts to sit down. i also dont want to go to the doctor and have to have them check me down there. awkward. thank you again

  90. Hi,
    I have never heard of this disease before until i saw a video on YouTube. Since i have never heard of this i have kept tampons in for at least a day at a time just because my cycle was almost over and it was so light that there was no need to change it. I also very regularly sleep with tampons and keep them in longer than the recommended time. I’ve had problems with sore throat, aching muscles, hot and cold sweats, etc. I’ve had my period for about five years, and have been wearing tampons for about three, and i’ve never really had this problem. But, do you think this is a problem? Should I get this checked out or talk to my mom about it? I’m not sure…

    • Hi Brittany,
      I’m so glad you saw the video on YouTube and learned about TSS! It’s never a good idea to keep tampons in for more than a few hours. And, if your cycle is light, it’s far better to use a pad. There are menstrual cups that work quite well for heavy or light periods – both disposable and reusable – and don’t have the same TSS risk as tampons. To be on the safe side, it would be best not to use tampons for sleep and if you do use them, keep them in for only a couple of hours, using the lightest absorbency possible for your flow. If continue to have sore throats, aching muscles and cold sweats during your period, please discuss this with your mom and your doctor and be sure to let them know you are using tampons. It’s always a good idea to keep your mom in the know about things, especially important things like TSS risk and the use of tampons. Sometimes teens/young women get sick with TSS and no one is aware they are using tampons and no one thinks to tell the doctor that it could be tampon related TSS. I encourage you to look into products other than tampons containing super absorbent fibers like rayon. 100% cotton tampons, pads and menstrual cups are all safer options.
      Thanks for writing!

  91. Hi there,

    I am worried that I have a case of TSS and wanted your opinion. My period started a few days ago and I always wear tampons, almost constantly throughout my cycle. Also to bed. I have had a mild sore throat for a few days which went away. Then last night (it is now 5:20am) I started feeling ill at about 7pm. I would describe it as my skin tingling and stinging (like with a flu) and it was very sensitive. I then developed a terrible headache. I was out at dinner. By the time I got home my skin felt like it was burning up with a fever and although it is a very hot night/day here in Australia I was getting goose bumps and shivering. I removed my tampon and hopped into bed. My temperature went up to 40 degrees Celsius so I went and sat in a cool bath to try to bring it down and tool paracetamol. I managed to fall asleep by about 12:30 then awoke again at around 4am in an absolute panic. I rushed to the bathroom and had diaoreaha and I felt dizzy. The panicky feeling was overwhelming. I took a Valium I had prescribed for anxiety and have been lying down now for a while feeling better. My head is still aching but my temperature is back down and the diaoreaha has stopped. I don’t know whether I should still go to the hospital or wait till Monday and see my gp. Maybe I am through the worst of it? I am scared though. It is Sunday here so no medical centers are open and I would have to go to the ER. Please let me know what you think.

    I’m terrified by these stories and very worried.

    Kind regards, Carlia.

    • Also I forgot to mention that when I woke up in a panic my clothes were saturated with sweat. I had to get changed. My pillow and everything was wet. I also felt like my heart was pounding when I had the temperature and I was very shaky. Just a couple more things I just remembered experiencing. My partner says I am being a hypochondriac and that I probably have a virus or heat stroke but that doesn’t make any sense to me. I haven’t been around any one who is sick and I haven’t been out in the sun or heat since last week end. I haven’t been feeling the best all weekend but the flu like symptoms developed and left me so rapidly it’s bizarre.

      • Gosh I also forgot to mention the intense muscle aches and the feeling that I was almost too weak to move. I keep forgetting details! Sorry about the essay!

    • Carlia,
      I’m sorry to be so late in replying to your note.
      First, let me say – do not insert another tampon. Pads only for the remainder of this period, okay?
      I can’t say that what you experienced was TSS related, or that it wasn’t. But, I can tell you that it’s possible that it was the beginning stages of TSS.
      Removing your tampon was smart!
      It’s possible that what you experienced was the flu or a viral infection. TSS symptoms and flu/virus symptoms are oh, so similar.
      If you are feeling better, and continue to feel better then I think it will be okay to delay until Monday. However, if you begin to feel worse, please don’t hesitate to seek immediate medical attention and if possible, take the tampon you removed with you.
      If TSS is what sickened you, it’s important that you not use tampons – you can get sick again and it’s possible that you could die. There are other products that carry less TSS risk – pads, menstrual cups, and 100% cotton tampons. (However, many doctors say that after TSS nothing internal should be used to be on the safe side.)
      Your comments indicate past tense, so I’m guessing you may be over the worst of it. Remember, no tampons the remainder of this period. And, if you grow worse (fever, low blood pressure, faintness, etc) seek immediate medical attention. Ask your partner to keep an eye on you and to intervene for you if you become unable to seek help yourself.
      Thanks again for writing. I hope you will let me know how you are doing.

      • Hi Suzan,

        I am through the worst of it now. I ended up going to the emergency this morning because my fever was worsening and my heart was racing but it did only turn out to be a nasty virus. They said that a combination of dehydration and fever was putting my heart under stress so they gave me IV fluids and and ECG but ruled out TSS which was a major relief. I don’t think it is an over reaction when the consequences of ignoring your symptoms could be so dire and I’m so glad I found this site. I have been using 100% cotton tampons for years now. They are readily available at any grocery store or pharmacy here in Australia and very cheap but I will be looking into getting a cup now as I like the idea of them being more environmentally friendly and it would be great to live without the worry of TSS. I had always thought of them as a bizarre feminist thing until now so I’m happy to feel more educated and will tell my friends about the benefits to. Thank you for your reply and thank you for creating such a great website and support network for women. I’m sure that your message will save many lives and create so much more awareness. Keep up the good work! :)


        • Hi Carlia,
          I’m so glad you went to the ER and checked things out! And, I’m grateful it was a nasty virus and not TSS! You’re right, your reaction was spot on – not an overreaction at all. When it comes to your life and health it’s better to be safe than sorry.
          I’ve never heard of a case of TSS that developed when using only 100% cotton tampons – I was glad to hear that’s what you’ve been using.
          Menstrual cups are so much easier on the environment and save $ in the long run.
          Hope you will soon be feeling yourself! Thank you for raising awareness about TSS and about TSS safer menstrual products.

  92. Last night I changed my tampon at 8. I set an alarm at 3 to get up and change it but when I got up my cat was on me so I didn’t feel like getting up. I know that’s a dumb excuse but its true. So I had my tampon in for 10 hours and my period flow was really heavy. I’m a paranoid person so if coarse I’m scared I’m gonna get TSS. My vagina hurts now after changing it. Can someone please let me know my risks of getting TSS? Cause I’m freaking out lol. I’m going to inform my mom when she wakes up. If anyone knows anything about this can you please email me? My email is It means so much. Thank you guys!

  93. hi Im 31st and live a busy lifestyle with 2 little ones to care for. I have already been to the doctor where i was told that i should watch for symptoms my tampon was never removed and still remain in there somewhere and has been up there for over a month. …..that being said i am paranoid and scars the doctors said that if i was gonna get tss i would have already and thinks thwart tampon will dissolve and eventually come out. I have seen bits and piece of it in my blood and the string also came out. Should i seek further medical attention? the only symptom that has come up recently is my right foot is a bit swollen other then that i feel fine

    • Heather,
      I don’t understand why the doctor didn’t remove the tampon when you saw him/her. A retained tampon can cause infections – not just in/of your vagina, but within your pelvis, infecting your female reproductive organs. A retained tampon needs to be removed. If you cannot remove it, then a doctor needs to do so, making sure that all parts of it are out. Don’t insert another tampon – use pads only for menstruation. Thanks for writing.

  94. Today I accidentally left a tampon in for 8 1/2 to 9 hours because my one teacher never lets you go to the bathroom. Also, I used a heavier obsorbancy than I should have.I just took it out so I’m just wondering if this is enough for TSS…thanks!

    • Hi Lydia,
      Keep in mind that the toxin that causes TSS can develop within as little as 2 hours. So, yeah, leaving a tampon in for 8 1/2 to 9 hours is enough for TSS. :) And, using more absorbency than needed compounded the time issue. For situations like what you experienced today, I would recommend you consider a menstrual cup – either reusable (Lunette, Keeper, Diva) or disposable (Instead SoftCup). They can be used for up to 12 hours at a time (depending on the amount of flow, of course). If you begin to experience flu like symptoms, please seek medical attention and be sure to mention the fact that you are menstruating and left a tampon in for well over the recommended time. Don’t worry, be aware. Don’t be afraid, be careful. Thanks so much for writing!

    • Lydia, also don’t forget that if you choose to continue to use tampons 100% cotton tampons are a safe alternative and don’t produce toxins. This is according to research done by NYU Microbiologist, Dr. Philip Tierno. These can be found at any health food store or online.

  95. feeling a bit embarrassed says:

    Hello Lisa,
    Thank you for this website. I am a mother of two children and am always busy taking care of them volunteering in their classrooms and spending time with little kids from Pre-K through First Grade. This past week I have been having sudden onset of chills, nausea, muscle soreness, bladder leakage, and irritation in the vaginal region. The first two things I thought of were FLU and UTI(Urinary Track Infection) because I realized I haven’t been drinking a lot of water lately. I started drinking loads of water and cranberry (unsweetened) juice. I started feeling like crap on Monday or Tuesday and traveled to surprise my mother in Hawaii today, Thursday(where I am now). I went to the restroom and realized there was a tampon in me….I had my period last week. This has freaked me out at 4am in the morning. First I feel I should state the answer to “How can you miss a tampon?”, well, from having intercourse on the final day of my period. I fell asleep with my tampon in and my husband came to bed and we had sex, I was a bit disoriented and after we finished I said, “I think I might have had a tampon on” but I couldn’t remember. I tried locating it and thought I must not have put one in. This feels a bit TMI and I am feeling a bit embarrassed sharing this, however, I wanted to say that the scariest thought right now would be leaving my two kids because of something as silly as a tampon. Worse would be them using tampons when they begin their cycle and losing them because I didn’t inform them properly of risks and other options. I also want to note that I do not have health insurance and am traveling and that scares me too, what will the cost be financially? I am glad I got the tampon out, but didn’t think to keep it for a doctor (wish I had). Thank you for your website which I find is a very nice “conversation” on the topic of TSS, rather than a site that gives scary information. I am sorry for you loss. I can not believe that in the 21st century we allow a manufacturer to produce products that have known risks as severe as Death! When you read a box with warning labels, most people do not apply those warnings to themselves. I will not use tampons anymore, especially since I don’t have med insurance. I think that anyone without Health Insurance should abstain from using tampons, as they are most likely to “let it be” because they think it is the flu. Thank you for your space. ;).

    • Hi,
      I’m not Lisa, but am certain Lisa will be replying soon.
      I am so glad you found the tampon!! Have you noticed any change in how you feel after it’s been out of you for a while? Are you running any fever? You mentioned chills and aching muscles – any other flu like symptoms? Any rash? Lightheadedness? A retained tampon can cause pelvic inflammation and/or infection. That doesn’t necessarily mean you get TSS. TSS is a toxic reaction to toxin produced by bacteria that causes the body to go into shock – toxic shock syndrome. Low blood pressure is a hallmark sign of shock.
      Let me know how you are feeling now that the tampon has been removed. Improvement may be gradual, or your body may rebound quickly. However, if you become more ill or this does not begin to clear up, you will need to be checked out and perhaps be given antibiotics to clear the infection. You’re not the first woman who has forgotten about a tampon. It’s happened to me. Don’t be embarrassed. Be sure to let someone know (your mom or husband if he is there with you) what’s happened and that if you become more ill or unresponsive it is most likely due to infection or TSS and they will need to act quickly in securing medical treatment for you. The doctor will need to know about the tampon. Please, don’t let the fact that you don’t have insurance prevent you from getting the care you need. I don’t know how it is in Hawaii, but many hospitals will treat patents who are unable to pay.
      Again, let me hear from you. I’m concerned. Thank you for writing and for your kind words about the site.

      • feeling a bit embarrassed says:

        Hi Susan,
        Thank you so much for your response. It was almost immediately my body started feeling better gradually and 2 days before I started getting my appetite and normal strength back. Muscle soreness, loss of appetite, nausea, chills and an overall feeling of ickyness was something I don’t wish on anyone. I am sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner, I didn’t notice the response to my comment until just today. I was able to get myself on antibiotics by the end of that day and “peace of mind” is what that did for me. I was checked out and am glad I did, though TSS is not what occurred it was still an infection due to the tampon and my body trying to rid itself of the foreign object. I have a very different feeling toward tampons now and will probably steer clear of tampons from now on. Hawaii has clinics in Waikiki for those who are traveling and i would highly recommend taking note of any hospital or clinics near where you are staying prior to traveling in any event, but as for me I was lucky in that I have a plethora of family in health care so was able to get checked out through a family member.

        • Hi,
          I’m so glad to hear from you!
          And, I’m glad TSS was not the issue.
          Great advice for travelers, by the way!
          Have you given any consideration to menstrual cups? Lunette, Keeper/MoonCup and Diva are all great, as are Instead Softcups. All can be found online.
          Again, thank you for providing the update!
          And, happy new year!

        • feeling a bit embarrassed says:

          *Suzan! yikes, sorry for the misspelling!

  96. I am really concerned at this point, & so embarrassed . I went out Thursday night with my husband and some girlfriends drinking , prior to going to bed I obviously did not take my tampon out. I started having a really bad odor. I kept expressing to my husband that something wasn’t right. On Saturday I had sex with my husband and kept feeling pressure like I had to urinate. Notice on sun.(today) As I would wipe, it was grayish black. Needless to say I realized I’ve had tampon in there since Thursday. I don’t know what to do. Know this sounds discusting and I’m in disbelieve. Why how didn’t I know. I knew somethin wasn’t right. But don’t know how I didn’t know. The tampon was gray/black. And the best wayvto describe the freakish is wet ashes. Please help. I’m scared to sleep. When do systems occur ..if ….they do? I have felt super emotional. And just not me. And did have cold sweats… that a sign?

    • Hi,
      Don’t panic. And, don’t be embarrassed. I think it’s happened to all of us, I know it has with me. Tampons can become quite horrible looking after they’ve been in a long time. I’m assuming you were near the end of your period and menstrual blood at that point in your cycle looks rather dark, if not black. Were you able to get all of the tampon out? If you begin to run fever, contact your doctor, or go to the ER. It’s possible to get a vaginal/pelvic infection from a retained tampon, and of course, to get TSS. The cold sweats you mentioned could be nothing more than from being upset and scared. Typical symptoms of TSS are flu-like symptoms, including fever. The tampon is now out. Inform your husband of your concern and of the remote possibility that you could develop TSS. Let him know that if you wake ill, or he wakes and notices that you appear less than well, then he needs to make sure you get medical attention. And, then go on to sleep. You may have a foul odor come from your vagina for several days – it will take your body a little time to rid itself of the rotten material (yuck, huh?) And, remember if you develop fever, seek medical attention and make sure to let them know that you had a retained tampon. If you do develop fever, don’t immediately assume that it’s TSS – it could just be a bacterial infection that can easily be cleared up with antibiotics. Thanks for writing. Keep me posted on how you are, ok?

  97. Help

  98. Thank you for your response. I feel fine today. But what if just say a wk frown now I get sick?? Bc I never go to doc. I just Take meds. But is there a delay w/ systems or usally immediate ? Yes, I was on my last day of my cycle. Also I have an i.u.d. just I get it replaced? The tampon was way in there. I don’t know how I managed. Guess I was scared and knew. …no matter what it had to come out…very painful. Felt like i was tugging on I.u.d. Thank u for ur concerns. The smell is pretty much gone..Thank God!!! I’m never using tampons again. I’m scarred. Lol

    • Hi,
      I’m glad you are feeling fine. If you develop fever that will indicate something is going on and should be checked out. We have heard of women/teens developing TSS a week or more following their period because of fibers that remained within them. That’s why I asked if all of the tampon was removed. It’s possible that the tampon became stuck against the IUD string and when you pulled it out, the IUD was indeed being tugged on. The vagina is wonderful about cleaning herself and getting rid of foreign material when given time to do so. I’m glad to hear the odor is no longer an issue. If you develop fever, or spotting, or unusual discharge, or tenderness, don’t hesitate to see a doctor and make sure you don’t have an infection. IUD strings can create a path for bacteria to enter the uterus. That is more of a concern to me than TSS right now. There are other options for caring for your menstrual needs other than traditional tampons. 100% cotton tampons don’t carry the same TSS risk as tampons containing super absorbent fibers (ex: viscose rayon) and neither do menstrual cups. If you are able to use tampons successfully with your IUD, with care you should be able to do so with menstrual cups. SoftCup makes a disposable cup and Lunette, Diva and KeeperCup make reusable cups. Keep me posted, please.

  99. Im a bit worried that I have TSS. Im 15 and have just finished my monthly period. I have severe headaches and dizziness, very sore throat and feel very weak. I have had this for 3 days and it started 2 days after my period finished. I don’t know if this is just the flu or TSS but Im to scared to talk to my mum or doctor because I could just be over reacting.. what should I do? please help! Lauren x

    • Lauren,
      Thank you for writing! I’m a bit worried, too. Did you use tampons your entire period? Are you certain you removed the final tampon? Are you running a fever? If so, how much? Are you experiencing any sinus issues (sneezing, running nose, snotty head) along with your sore throat? Your mom is the best friend you have and if it’s TSS, she needs to know. In fact, any time you are ill, your mom needs to know. TSS can quickly progress to the life threatening stage. She needs to be aware of the possibility of TSS. We know of a young woman who developed TSS after her period ended because of tampon FIBERS left inside of her. It’s possible that you have the flu – or a strep infection. The fact that you are ill and just coming off of your period tells me that mom needs to know. She needs to be aware so she can keep a close eye on you and contact the doctor for his input and advice. Don’t be afraid to talk with her. Keeping this to yourself is not going to help you. I know it’s embarrassing and scary, especially if you think you could be overreacting. I don’t want to overreact and scare you into talking with your mom – but I don’t want you to die from TSS either. It’s always better to be safe where the possibility of TSS is concerned.
      Let me hear from you, okay?
      Thanks again for writing.

      • I have a running nose, watering eyes and sneezing now. my sore throat isn’t as bad and my headaches aren’t as often, so I think it could just be the flu?? thank you for your message. greatly appreciated!!! Lauren :) x

        • Hi Lauren,
          Sounds like you have a virus of some sort. Something like that has been going around here. Lasts for about 3 weeks. Ick! I’m glad you’re doing okay and hope this bug you have goes away soon! Thanks for checking back! I’ve been concerned! Be safe! And, keep in touch, please.

  100. Hi there. I’m 22 and have been using tampons for about 4 years.. Recently I have been using the playex sport regular scented tampons. This was my second time using the scented ones. I accidentally slept with my tampon in and in the morning I felt very dizzy and lightheadedness. I also felt like vomiting… I thought about tss out of nowhere and went to take off the tampon and put a pantyliner instead. I am on my last days and just barely spotting. When I took it out it smelled like a strong acid chlorine smell that I had never smelled before… I was really scared because then I leaked that clear chlorine fluid into my pad…. I started drinking lots of water and had some candy because I felt my pressure was down or something…. Within an hour and a half… Everything went away… This was at like 8-9am… It is now 7:24pm and I feel fine. I am just scared and paranoid because I didn’t know it stays on my systemand can come at anytime despite having taken the tampon out :/ I will never be using tampons again… ! I’m really scared, what do u think are the chances for symptoms to come back after a whole day of feeling fine?

    • Hi Angel,
      Thanks for writing!
      I think you’re going to be fine.
      If you begin to experience flu like symptoms contact your doctor and let him/her know of your experience with these tampons.
      Menstrual cups are a safer option than tampons, as are 100% cotton tampons, and, of course, pads.
      Let me know how you are, okay?

  101. Alexandra Daly says:

    hi im only 12
    but i have had alot of these symptoms and now that i researched it im quite scared,i fainted in the swimming pool changing rooms and was vomiting and had reallly high temperature and didnt know really what was happening and i have rashes on my leg,skin peeling on my face,i had sore muscles,and i can hardly remember anything!so im quite scared what shoould i do?my mum doesnt really know much about it so shes not worried but my cousin(the girl who was with me at pool)is quite worried and told me to do something…these symptoms started when i put a tampon in.
    Alex Daly xxx
    btw what can it involve is it true u mite nt b able to have a baby

    • Alex,
      Thank you for writing.
      First – if you have a tampon in – remove it and use pads instead.
      Second – if you are still experiencing any of these symptoms, ask your mom to notify your doctor or take you to the Emergency room and tell them it’s possible that you have TSS. If possible, take the tampon that was in you with you.
      Third – TSS is rare. It’s possible that what you are experiencing is not TSS, but rather a a virus or allergic reaction. However, if it is TSS immediate medical intervention can reduce long term problems and even save your life.
      I don’t mean to scare you, Alex. TSS is very serious.
      You didn’t mention how long ago this happened to you. Was it today, yesterday, a few days ago? Are you still running fever?
      Many who have had TSS go on to have children (I did). Some, however, do not. Any infection of the reproductive organs can result in inability to have children.
      Let me hear from you, please.


  102. It is amazing to me to hear all of these stories! I can’t believe how lucky I am! I am 24 and a mother of 3. I woke one morning with a rash around my vaginal area that quickly speed down my legs and bum. It was like small blisters that itched and burned like crazy. The next day I started my period. I put a tampon in and forgot completely about it. Several hours later I realized I still had it in and removed it. I woke in the middle of the night with chills, severe body aches and a high fever. I was so sick that I slept most of the day. I was feeling a little better the next day and did some things around the house. Come that evening I became extremely ill again. I was achy with a fever and felt exhausted. I was nauseated and felt just awful. I went to an instacare where the dr said he thought I had influenza. He sent me home and told me to rest. My fever spiked 104 that night and wouldn’t go down even with ibuprofen and Tylenol. I woke the next day with a MASSIVE rash all over my body. I looked like I was sunburned. I had my husband rush me to the hospital. My blood pressure dropped to 74/45. They admitted me and started me on 4 different antibiotics. I remember thinking over and over, it’d not tss, I feel fine I’m just super tired! I slept for almost 19 hrs straight. My blood pressure stabilized and the rash started to fade so the dr released me. The next day they called saying it was tss. The tests were positive. I thank god everyday that I Am alive and healthy. I threw away every tampon I own. Thank u for spreading the word about this disease! I hope it saves lives!!!!!

  103. I am very worried about TSS. Yesterday, while I was changing my tampon, I had trouble inserting it in because it was dry. So it took several attempts to get it in. When I took out the tampon, I realized that my flow was some what light and I had used a regular tampon. And today I was feeling very cold and I had pooped but it was not like watery but now I feel fine. I had a sore throat before I started my period, do I have TSS or am I just being paranoid?

    • Hi Emily,
      From the symptoms you shared, I think it’s safe to say that TSS is not a concern. It’s a good idea not to use tampons when your period is really light. As you’ve discovered, it’s difficult to insert tampons when you’re dry. And, inserting and removing dry tampons can cause injury to the lining of your vagina. Thanks for writing.

  104. I am 14 and I have been using tampons, and I ran out of pads for overnight and used a tampon. And today I’ve been really hot. I have the sweats, my throat hurt briefly in the morning and my nose has been running all day. Is this TSS or just a cold? I had a mild fever of 99.5 but that went down later in the day. And now I’m sweating like crazy. Please help

    • Hi Raven,
      Thanks for writing.
      Are you still using tampons? With fever, sore throat and flu like symptoms, it would be a wise idea to use pads only for now. It’s possible that you could be experiencing TSS symptoms – or something as simple as a cold.
      If you develop other symptoms or your cold/flu like symptoms become worse, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor or seek medical attention. Be sure to let an adult know that you experienced symptoms after using a tampon overnight.
      Thanks again.

  105. Hi im 25 and I had mirena in for three years. I just had it taken out 3 days ago I started feeling sick,lightheaded,a rash appeared on my chest slight loose bowls cramping and my throat started to hurt I felt slightly qweezy. I got up in the night with my daughter I felt ill so I went in the bathroom I sat on the toilet and threw up in the trash.I sudenly felt like i was gonna passout I got a sudden cold sweat. I went back to bed but I feel so crapy something just feels wrong,i remember learning about TSS and wonder if What im feeling is normal after getting an iud out or if there is something more going on. ?

    • Krissi, I don’t want to worry you but these are all of the exact symptoms my daughter had. Please go to your nearest ER and explain everything you have read to them. If they try to tell you that TSS doesn’t happen don’t take that as an answer. Make sure they test your kidney function and liver enzymes ASAP! Please let me know what they say! Get back to us soon. Thanks so much for writing!

  106. Hi, I’m 21 years old. It’s been bet interesting and informative reading everyone’s stories- and I’m so sorry to hear about your daughter.

    I’ve been using tampons for 7(Ish) years and never had a problem thank g-d until now, I did forget to take out my tampon for about 4 days I can’t remember exactly ( so embarrassing) but the last few days I’ve been having body aches and a headache that won’t shift, tonight I feel slightly worse getting very hot and sweaty and a low grade fever 99.4, my back is hurting an my stomach is cramping. I’ve also been sneezing quite a bit, and feeling quite Sinasy, was wondering if I should get this checked out, or wait and see if I get any worse
    This website is amazing.

    • Hi,
      Thank you for writing.
      It would be a good idea to check with your doctor about the symptoms you are having. TSS is a possibility and so is a vaginal/pelvic infection. Of course, there’s always the possibility of a viral infection that’s causing your aches/pains/headache/fever/etc. But you won’t know for certain until you’ve talked with your doctor. Be sure to mention the retained tampon and how long it was in and when your symptoms began. Mention the possibility of TSS because it may not be something they consider.
      I’ll pass your condolences on to Lisa. I’m so glad you like the website. :)
      Let me know how you are.

  107. Thankyou for replying so quickly, been trying my doctors all day and they haven’t replied, will maybe call Nhs direct tonight if I still feel
    The same. Still got a headache and feel dizzy and nauseous, temperature seems to be rising and I’ve had to leave work early. Will see how I go over the next few hours and if no better my dad said hell take me to hospital will let you all know how it all goes, thankyou again so much

    • Thank you so much for your condolences. Suzan, being a TSS survivor is a wealth of knowledge. When I saw your first post I was certain in my mind that you were coming down with the flu, only because Amy had no troubles with any sinus issues and the fact that flu is going around so badly this year. As Suzan said, please keep on top of this and let us know if you find out anything. Thanks again for posting!
      Lisa Elifritz

  108. Thank you for raising awareness. I’m sorry for what you and your family has suffered.

    How long after using a tampon can symptoms appear?

    • Suzan Hutchinson says:

      Hi Jes,
      Thanks for writing.
      It varies. It’s possible for symptoms of TSS to appear within a day of using a tampon. Or, it can be two or three days after using a tampon that symptoms begin. The 2nd or 3rd day of tampon use during a woman’s period is often the time most mentioned for noticing the beginning of TSS symptoms.
      Thanks for your kind words.

  109. Hey, so this is embarrassing, I feel so dumb and nervous. I had a lost tampon in for 3 days. I had even checked for it but could not feel anything and decided I just got caught up in the day and forgot to put another in. Anyways, I also had sex yesterday which totally freaks me out because it was still in there. It came out this morning after trying to find where the nasty odor was coming from… Awesome… From me. For those 3 days I had a head ache and a little dizzy and heavy discharge (not blood). I’ve felt nauseous today but that’s it. Do I need to see a doctor? I don’t have insurance or any money to just go in. I’m freaking out here.

    • Hi, Lisa. Thanks so much for writing in. I know it’s scary when you consider the possibility of TSS and feel silly that you lost the tampon inside. Don’t worry about that because many, many people do this! In my opinion it would be best if you use a vinegar and water douche to clean out the discharge and any remaining toxins. Your symptoms don’t sound to me like TSS although I’m not a medical expert. I understand not having insurance and being unable to pay for a doctor during hard times. I think you will be fine, but if you continue to have a discharge with an odor it would be wise to seek a medical professional. Please keep in touch and let us know if you have any more problems! Thanks again!

  110. Hi!

    When I was 12, I had Strep throat. It was pretty severe, and I was out of school for a week because of it, which wasn’t unusual, as it was going around at the time. I hadn’t started yet, and I’ve never touched a tampon.

    I remember it was a Friday when I went back to school. I couldn’t complete a whole day, it was too stressful and tiring for me. When school started again on Monday, I was still “too tired” to go to school.

    I don’t remember much, so please bear with me. :)

    I went to the hospital and to my regular clinic (My Doc was on vacation), and no one could figure out what was wrong with me. I was just… tired. They tried me on some HUGE take-this-with-food pill, which made me vomit. All through the course of the next two weeks, my cat never left my bedside. My mom had to move his litterbox and food into my room, even.

    In that two weeks I developed a rash all over my body, and I started ‘fazing’ in and out of being awake and asleep. I remember nothing, really. My sister stayed with me a lot. Toward the end of two weeks, with no proper diagnosis, I developed an ear infection. It RAGED, and I was in SO MUCH PAIN I cried nonstop. I was so weak. My mother gave up on the doctor and drove me for away, out to Children’s Hospital. I remember I couldn’t walk down hills or stairs, I was so weak.

    In the room they put me on IV. Throughout the whole ordeal, I never felt as sick as everyone said I was or looked. I remember seeing my ancestors. I vaguely remember an xray.

    Two days later my memory picks up some more. they had diagnosed me with a strange version of TSS. I had a staph infection that was also fueled by the Strep. They said they hadn’t seen it before. Or something fo the sort, I was the delirious one, haha. I remember my ear pain peaked then instantly subsided –it had blown a hole in my ear drum!! I was stabilized and left the hospital a week later.

    If my mom had not brought me that night I would not have made it through the night. I am so happy and lucky to have averted that, thank you mommy.

    My after effects are as follows: fatigue, heart murmur, low blood pressure, anxiety, dilapidated immune system, can’t use tampons, etc. Other than that, pretty great. :)

    x V

    • Thank you so much, Vayda, for sharing your story. This is good to know and stresses the fact that TSS is caused by things other then tampons. You were a lucky little lady to survive it! If you’d like to share your story for the website please email me at

  111. Danielle says:

    i am very thankfull to have found this site this is an issue ive been battling for about a week or 2 i sleep walk alot at night about 2 weeks ago i was feeling funny down their felt around and didnt feel nothing, on around day 3 or 4 very unsure the time definately at least 3 days my husband checked and their was the lowest absorbancy tampon in their, this was the 2ndtime in less than a year i have done this i sleep walk bad and put one in at the end of my period when i dont need it and dont realise it, ive been online checking up on tss because i have no insurance the past week or 2 has been alot of uncertainty i dont feel good my head is killing me, i check my temp but keeps saying normal, my shoulder and neck has been aching bad, i have minor pain in my abdomin, my cheeks feel flush but i dont think i have a rash, ive been nosious alot, did have diareah but thats gone been dizzy alot, but i also have ALOT OF STRESS BAD LATELY and where i live their is alot of illnesses going around also recently my throght has been feeling like im sick, could i be dealing with tss for this long? or would i have been alot worse way earlier? i am so unsure and so embarrased i had done this again i just feel like crap and dont know but i cant afford a medical bill right now, i am so happy i found this site i could not find answers for any of these questions thank you

  112. There are all sorts of myths and misinformation about TSS, as well as ignorance of other tampon-associated health concerns, go to Yahoo! Answer’s or women’s forums you will see this clearly demonstrated.

    Recently I’ve noticed a disturbing trend of young women leaving tampons FAR longer than they should either because they believe there’s no risk with lower absorbency, or because they think if they don’t leak after 8…9…10..11, 12+ hours that their flow is heavy enough to warrant a higher absorbency. There are even older women who tell younger girls that this is okay, that they did this and they were fine, I don’t understand as even if women no longer fear TSS isn’t basic hygiene still a concern?

    Honestly it surprises me that TSS rates aren’t a LOT higher than what they are, something has got to give on this. I’m waiting for something really tragic to happen, for girls to have to die before people start realising that misusing tampons is a risk.

  113. I accidently slept with a tampon in a few nights ago for about 9 hours, then last night I started feeling somewhat sick to my stomach and got diarrhea, i also was very tired. Now I associate the tiredness to my hectic/bad sleep schedule. and my dad had a stomach bug a few days ago. is it possible i have tss? I’m 15

    • Suzan Hutchinson says:

      Hi Maria,
      Are you feeling better now? I apologize for being so long in replying. Yes, it’s possible that TSS was the cause of your fatigue, nausea and diarrhea, especially since the tampon was in for well over the recommended time. However, it’s more likely that you caught the stomach bug your dad had. If you are still experiencing the symptoms, or they have become worse, please don’t hesitate to contact your doctor/seek medical assistance.
      Thanks for writing.

  114. i am very concerned about my daughter, she is 13 and i introduced her tampons because she ran out of pads. she has cerbral palsy , but for about 4 months she has been having seizures, when she has her period they. at first the seizures were very mild mostly drooling and unresponsive when we called her name and then she started seizing and only when she has her period. is this a case or is she reacting to something in the tampons? and she complained of a bad stomach ache and then it hit me there were those leaflets in the boxes/ side-effects. a then we researched in the net and all these symptoms are astonishing to what she goes thru on a monthly basis. it very confusing considering she sleeps all day when she has her period other then the stomach ache she complained and the sleeping. as soon as she used a pad she regained her energy and started bouncing around again and no more siezures after she used a pad.

    • Suzan Hutchinson says:

      Hi Wanda,
      It’s possible that she is reacting to something within the tampons. And, it’s also possible that she is reacting to toxins produced by bacteria. The best thing you can do is talk with her doctor and let him/her know what’s going on and share your concerns. Be sure to share with her doctor that this resolved when the tampon was removed. My advice would be for her to avoid tampon use and that you seek medical assistance/advice.
      Thanks for writing!


  115. Carolyn Hefner says:

    Hello! My 15 year old daughter just got released from the hospital yesterday. She was in for 4 days with TSS. It was an extremely traumatic experience and still is. She suddenly threw up this past Saturday. Rested for a while then went with us to dinner. When we got home and her temperature shot up. I treated it throughout the night. We were going to an after-hours health clinic the next morning and on the way there she began sweating. We thought she broke her fever and went back home. As the day went on her temperature was harder and harder to manage. We went to the after-hours clinic that Sunday afternoon. Her temp was 102.4. She had a severe headache and was achy. When the doctor looked at her he noticed a widespread rash. She complained of her hands and feet hurting and itching. He sent in another doctor to take a look at her. They said it was just viral and that is the bodies way of expressing it. 10 minutes later they sent us home and said to keep her well hydrated and treat the fever with Motrin and Tylenol. As the evening went on, her temperature was harder and harder to control. It got up to 103.9. Faithfully, every 2 hours I was treating her and forcing liquids. She couldnt even cry. She was dehydrating rapidly and could only moan. She could not even sleep. Her head and neck were hurting her throught the night. The next morning I knew this was not simply a virus that was untreatable. My daughter is extremely active and plays organized sports almost daily. I called her doctor Monday morning and they saw her immediately. She could not tolerate light, noise and was uncontrollably itching. She could not even walk. She had not urinated for a day by this point. She was lathargic on and off. Her blood pressure was 64/40 and they did a spinal tap in the office and called 911. She was transported to Children’s Hospital in New Orleans. They suspected menangitis, lung infection or west nile. When they diagnosed TSS on Tuesday night I was not at all surprised because of her symptoms. They said she was within hours of it being fatal. We are home now but she still does not urinate that often. Has a slight cough that is persistent. Noticing hair loss. Hands and feet are still extremely dry. Gets headaches when up and about. Sleeps a lot but otherwise happy. We feel very blessed that I did not just “treat the fever and push fluids”. Life is too short as it is. We know our children and know what is extreme or not for them. Be pushy and fight for them. She does not even use super absorbent tampons. We will not be unsing tampons, at least not for a while. Thanks for listening and I hope this can maybe help someone else. Have a blessed day!!!

  116. hey I m frm india n here tampons are not much known. my sister always use pads but she feels like headache during her heavy flow days and sometimes she vomits too but everything get normal after she takes a sleep. is she having tss. also my daughter started her period and she loves swimming and as I have told above tampons are very rare. we only get bella, ob and ria tampon here even that online. so my daughter have to use tampons but I am scared. can you plz tell me indian brand of cotton tampons??? I would be life saving for me. plz help me

  117. Sarah C says:

    Hello, my name is Sarah and I’m 28 years of age. I have a concern but want to get some advice first before talking to my doctor. About 9years ago I remember waking up in the dead of night not being able to move my lower legs, I felt paralyzed. I tried to move but felt numbing sensation all over my legs. I of course started to freak out, then I tried to reach down with my hands knowing I have a tampon on thinking oh help me I think I might have TSS. My boyfriend at the time was dead asleep. I called the on call nurse at my hospital told them what was going on with me, she told me to push my boyfriend off the bed to get him to wake up or scream so he can help me, which I did. He woke up then I told him,I can’t feel my legs and having sharp pains in my vagina and stomach. He took the tampon out and within 10mins I started to feel my legs again. I never went to the hospital to confirm TSS cause I was embarrassed. But ever since then I was get diarrhea when wearing tampons and night sweats. Recently I have been trying soft cups but even with those I get stomach cramps and diarrhea within an hour of using them. My question is, do I have TSS ?? And is it safe to continue using soft cups with my symptoms ?

    Thank you!!

    • Hi Sarah,
      Thanks so much for writing.
      The best advice I can give you is to talk with your doctor. There’s no need to be embarrassed. Doctors aren’t embarrassed by anything.
      It’s possible that what you experienced 9 years ago was TSS related. Scary!
      The fact that you react to internal products seems to indicate that something is going on. Is it TSS? I don’t know. The only way to find out is to see a doctor.
      It’s possible that what you are experiencing now is due to something in the tampons, or because the Softcup touches your cervix/uterus.
      Many women experience cramping and diarrhea with their period and it’s not always product related. However, if it happens only with the insertion of an internal product, then something is causing it besides menstruation.
      Because you appear to be reacting to internal products, it would be wise to refrain from using them until you get the “all clear” from a doctor.
      Thanks again for writing.

  118. Kourtney says:

    Hello I’m 21 and yesterday morning before I went to work I put a new tampon in at about 9 am and I know I sound like such a clutz but I forgot I had it in all day and I didn’t remember to take it out until at about 9 pm last night. I don’t have any symptoms so far but last night I kinda started to get a little hot and kinda made my stomach upset I think from getting myself all worked up about it, as I am a bit of a hypochondriac. I feel fine right now but do you think I’m okay? Would I have already had symptoms by now? Help please! I’m freaking out

    • Hi Kourtney,
      You’re not the first to forget to remove your tampon – been there, done that and so have many other women. The important thing is that you did remember and you did remove it. If you’ve not experienced any symptoms yet, I think you will be fine. If you do begin running a fever or become ill, let your doctor know about the tampon and share your concern about TSS.
      Thank you for writing! Have you considered looking into using 100% cotton tampons? Or, menstrual cups? Both are far safer choices when it comes to TSS!

  119. Kourtney says:

    Hello I’m 21 and yesterday morning before I went to work I put a new tampon in at about 9 am and I know I sound like such a clutz but I forgot I had it in all day and I didn’t remember to take it out until at about 9 pm last night. I don’t have any symptoms so far but last night I kinda started to get a little hot and kinda made my stomach upset I think from getting myself all worked up about it, as I am a bit of a hypochondriac. I feel fine right now but do you think I’m okay? Would I have already had symptoms by now? Help please! I’m freaking out

  120. IndyThrasher says:

    I am 41 years old and just returned home from a 9 day stay in the hospital from TSS. I can’t tell you how lucky I am. In detail, here is my story.

    On June 6, 2013 I went up to Toledo for a business trip. I called ahead to a restaurant next door to my hotel and ordered a twin lobster tail meal and took it to my hotel room. I sat down and ate and the last couple bites of the tail seemed to be a little mushy, and I told myself I probably shouldn’t eat it, but I had already eaten half, so I finished it. That was about 9:30 pm. At 6:30 am on Friday, I was up vomiting. I canceled my meeting and called my husband and told him I had food poisening. He told me I should try and stay the night, since I was 3 hours from home. I called and the hotel was booked that night and I had a 3:00 pm meeting in Indianapols that I didn’t want to miss.

    Around 9:30, the vomiting stopped and the diarrhea started. At 11:00 am, I decided to drive home. I made it to my meeting and then got home around 3:30. I was exhausted and went straight to bed. All night long I tossed and turned. I wasn’t so much in pain as extremely uncomfortable. I was getting up to go to the bathroom and each time, it was getting more and more difficult to get to the bathroom, I was soo exhausted. Finally around 6 am, I made it to the bathroom and couldn’t get back to bed. My husband had slept in the guest room that night since I was sick, heard my trying to catch my breath and took me to the ER.

    When I got the ER, they took my vitals. I couldn’t catch my breath and they thought I was hyperventelating, until they looked at the numbers. My heartrate was 150 and my blood pressure was 45/35. My fingers, toes and lips were turning blue. There were numerous doctors trying to figure out what was wrong, but as luck would have it, the infectious disease specialist was working that Saturday and thought of TSS. The only tells that weren’t there were a rash and fever. They sent me to ICU and put a mainline in to pump me full of antibiotics and fluids. They told my husband not to be surprised if I was on life support by the end of the day as my organs (mainly kidneys) were shutting down.

    They pumped me full of 18 1/2 liters of fluid in a 24 hour period. I gained 25 pounds and no one could even see if my eyes were open. Sunday morning, the specialist came in and was relieved to see that I now had a fever and rash.

    I remained in ICU for 4 days, and then to a regular room for 5 days. The specialist did numerous tests and said even though I was on the last day of my period, he didn’t believe that was the cause. He said that they probably would never know the actual cause.

    It’s been a little over two weeks, and I’m still exhausted, but I feel so lucky that I made it out with no permanent damage. All of my organ functions are back to normal. My biggest frustration is finding information on timelines of after effects. I still have the rash and it is annoyinly itchy. I’m not sure how long this will last. Also, I still feel like I’m in a fog. Concentration has been a little difficult. I was relieved to see the effects above on energy levels can last for months. I was starting to get frustrated that I wasn’t rebounding fast enough.

    Thank you for this website as I feel like I’ve gotten the best information from here.


  121. I’m really embarrassed about this, but just this week on Tuesday around 6 PM I inserted a super absorbent tampon to get into the pool, I could have sworn I removed it when I placed a pad for bedtime…Thursday at noon, (yesterday) I was putting on my bathing suit to get back in the pool (first time since Tuesday) and I realized I had not removed the tampon, I called the dr and was told to douche and to watch for a fever, pelvic pain, and bloating. I don’t have any of those but after looking up the symptoms…I’m a little concerned, I had a headache yesterday and today I have woke up to diarrhea. Not sure if I should call the dr or if it could have been something I ate last night.

  122. Hola! I’ve been following your web site for some time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Huffman Tx! Just wanted to say keep up the good job!

  123. Hi. I’m 13, and my mom keeps pressuring me to use tampons, but I’m afraid to use them because I might leave it in to long and get TSS. I keep saying to her that I’m not ready and uncomfortable even thinking about using them. I’ve also heard about the diva cup, but the thought of putting stuff in my body, and WHERE u put it in, in affraid I will get sick putting it in!!!

    • Hi Mary,
      Please share with your mom how you feel about using tampons and share our website with her.
      It’s obvious that you are not ready for internal products and considering the fact that most victims of TSS are young girls and young women, you are wise to be concerned.
      Talk with your mom. Let her know how you feel. She’s your biggest cheerleader and I’m sure her push for tampons is because of summer activities and her desire that your period not interfere with fun.
      Thanks for writing!

  124. Usually my period last 3-5 days I am now on my 7th day but I have been just brown spotting the last 6 and started 8 days ago on the 5th day I had severe cramps couldn’t get a tampon in and switched to pads now on day 6 I am not really spotting and the pain has mostly went away but the past two days I have had a constant headache and feel nauseous today I have a temp of 100.3 and really hot then cold chills. Is this a possibility of TSS? I have never been in so Much pain during a period I got my back and neck adjusted thinking it would help the headaches and nausea and it did for 10 he’s now I have a headache and my back and neck hurts again. Any ideas?

    • Hi Kari,
      Thanks for writing.
      Have you checked for a retained tampon? Have you checked to make sure?
      If you used tampons this period, it’s possible that what you are experiencing is related to TSS.
      It’s also possible that you have a viral infection, or pelvic inflammation/infection. The only way to know for certain is to talk with/go see your doctor or other health care provider.

  125. Thanks for the feed back called the doctor today she believes its a bad uti .

    • Hi Kari,
      Thanks so much for checking back in. Did your doctor prescribe antibiotics?
      Hope you feel better soon!

  126. Hi! I’ve always used pads over my period I suffer from really bad cramps, hot flushes, back ache, headaches, feeling light headed, nausea etc. I’ve always suffered through it with the help of painkillers, hot chocolate and lots of sleep.. Is there any chance this could be more than just my period? My period only lasts for about 4 days and is only heavy over day 2 and 3 and my “suffering” as I think it should be called doesn’t last any longer than that.. Another thing is that I tried to use a tampon’ got the applicator in fine but felt so sick after attempting to put the tampon in that I pulled it straight out.. I was wondering if it could be possible to get that bacteria even if the tampon was in just for like 5 minutes.. I really hope I’m being paranoid!! I’m really glad I found this site- I can’t believe that despite being taught by a nurse how to use a tampon she never mentioned tss! I am curious as to wether or not you would promote telling girls about this in school because I didn’t know about it until I bought the tampons and I’m 16! And even then I thought it was just something they put on the box to avoid being sued- I didn’t grasp that it was something so very serious! Anyway I’m glad I found you guys! Please answer my questions and thank you!

  127. I think I might have mild tss. I have been on period for two days now. I have been so itchy today and so confused. Feeling so sick and been so dizzy I couldn’t even open my eyes or lift up my head. I am so tired and so weak. MY partner had to carry me to bed after I feel on the floor after getting up. I put another tampon in today and it didn’t feel right. I took it back out and out came another one. It must have been in there for 24 hours. My tummy has been cramping and my back is hurting too. I have also had a sore throat since I woke up this morning too. Please I need advice.

  128. Im 19, I have had TSS, was actually diagnosed with it. I was originally thought to have endocarditis because all the symptoms were the same. I have had three open heart surgeries due to having been born with a missing valve and other things, and endocarditis is common in patients like me. In December I got flu like symptoms such as being weak with aching muscles, a fever near 101 but getting as high as 102.5, vomiting, and felt like I had just run a marathon. This began on the last day of my period, which mine are heavy and I used tampons frequently but did not leave them in extended periods of time. I got over that episode after about 5 days of being at home. In January, again on my last day of my period I woke up in the middle of the night freezing with cold sweats, vomiting, fever, ect. I was away at school and didn’t get home to the er until around 5pm when I was feeling somewhat better. When getting to the hospital my blood pressure was near 60/30 and fever 104.3. I was considered septic and was life flighted to a major hospital where I had my previous surgeries. After a week of going through 11 IVs and being poked so many times I couldn’t count (stopped trying at 30) they finally said the most likely thing was TSS. Their only problem was I didn’t have a full body rash, just a small patch on my neck. Went home after that week and had another home iv antibiotic for a week. My fingertips and toes were peeling skin after about two weeks, which was another symptom. It’s a terrible thing to go through. I had another open heart surgery in June. Honestly the physical and emotional toll of TSS stuff was almost in comparison to open heart. Biggest thing with open heart are chest tubes. Nothing competes with that. Hope this helps anyone. TSS is a last resort diagnosis for doctors because symptoms can be confused with so many other things, if these symptoms come up, give them the idea, it can save so much time and hassle and hurt. My doctors diagnosed another patient just a week after me with TSS because they knew the symptoms and thought of it first and she didn’t have to go through half what I did. Good luck out there! If heavy periods are your problem, talk to a gynecologist, there are pills to lighten them and they are amazing… Who needs tampons =)

  129. Concerned Young Adult says:

    About two weeks ago, I accidentally left a tampon in for four days. Somehow I lost the string, and I was too scared to find it. Eventually it came out. I had the strong odor and stomach cramps. There was no blood on the tampon seeing my period ended (I had a super plus tampon in) Within the week I went home from work sick with flu like symptoms. I had a fever, nausea, and an overall ill feeling (I slept around 16 to 18 hours for three days). After a few days I started to feel better. However, it’s been two weeks, and I have a sunburn like rash near my genitals. I have been tested for STDs since my last partner and everything turned out negative. Could this be a possible case for TSS?

    • Hi,
      It’s possible that what you experienced could have been related to the bacteria that cause TSS. With the sunburn like rash near your genitals, it would be a good idea to check with your doctor and describe to her/him your illness, the forgotten tampon, etc. The strong odor and cramping could indicate a pelvic infection that requires antibiotics.
      Thanks for writing and I hope you will soon feel better.

  130. I was diagnosed with TSS in 1993 after having my second son via C-section. Several years later I developed total body pain. Not in my joints, just severe overall pain in my muscles and bones. I don’t have a day without pain and very minor body movements can be excruciating. I also get frequent UTI’s (possibly or possibly not related to the pain issue).

    Some doctors have suggested I may have fibromyalgia, but I’m wondering if it’s not a residual effect of having TSS.

    Has anyone ever heard of these pain issues being a result of a previous TSS diagnosis?

    • Hi Martha,
      Thank you for writing. Yes, some women have reported developing fibromyalgia or fibromyalgia like pain years after having TSS. It’s not known if there is a relationship between this and TSS.

  131. Ashley Dawson says:

    A freshman in high school and i always use tampons a week before my period starts so that when i do get it it won’t go threw my pants without me realizing. I normally put it in at 8:30 and take it out at about 4:30. So its in for about 8 hours. Is it bad to use a tampon before you start your period? And can you still get TSS from using a tampon when you’re not on your period?

    • Ashley Dawson, doing that puts you at the highest possible risk of getting TSS. Tampons are not suppose to stay in you for that long amount of time, especially when you aren’t on your period. It breeds the harmful bacteria. And you period isn’t there to , In a sense, flush it out. I was much like you in being so afraid of starting that I would want to do that as well. Not a week in advance but occasionally put in a light one a day or so before. DON’T DO THAT! I got TSS and that is a very easy way of getting it. Wear liners a week or so in advance if you are worried about it, they work wonders! Stay safe! =)

    • Hi Ashley,
      It’s not a good idea to use tampons before your period starts, and certainly not wise to do so for 8 hours. Yes, you can still get TSS from using a tampon even if you’re not on your period. If you feel the need for protection other than a pad prior to the start of your period, I would suggest that you look into getting a menstrual cup.
      Thanks for writing!

  132. Hi… I stumbled upon this site looking for answers about TSS.
    I found a sponge inside me today that I forgot over a month ago.
    I was planning on going to the doctor tomorrow anyway because I’ve had headaches, weak, lightheaded, sore all over, strange chemical like smell from discharge, moody, mild abdominal pain, I’ve fainted once 2wks ago and have almost passed out on several occasions the past few weeks. How concerned should I be?

    • Hi Becka,
      I think it would be a great idea if you saw your doctor asap. You might need a round of antibiotics – keeping a sponge in for so long is a good way to get a bad infection.
      Thanks for writing!

  133. Hi, thank you for this website as it’s really informative. I’d like to know if is TSS caused by an allergy? Somebody said that you have to be allergic to develop TSS which I fine it a bit strange, otherwise we could get tested to see if we are predisposed to catch it. Thanks again, take care.

  134. So today at 2 am I had a heavy flow and used a super tampon (tampax) nd I woke up around 7 nd it wasn’t leaking so I thought nothing of it because the box says 8 hrs. So I ended up falling back asleep and waking up at maybe 1:30 when I realized I still had the tampon in I took it out. There was no weird smell other than period smell itself. It wasn’t all the way filled up but I used a pad for the duration, I did have a headache this morning that I thought came from not eating. I felt a little light headed for maybe a few mins but nothing unusual since I’ve been light headed lately because I need glasses. I have no other symptoms as I’ve gone to the bathroom to urinate 3 times nd was fine. The left side of my throat is kinda hurting but not really. I released bowels that were solid and liquid mix but I’m really afraid of TSS I’m sure I’m over reacting but I’d just like to be sure.

  135. Also some abdominal discomfort but not pain I think the term “scared shitless” explains it well.

  136. I am 36 years old and almost died of TSS when I was about 20. Every doctor I have ever been to has told me it is fine to continue wearing tampons. I was told not to wear them for 3 months after having TSS and then I could resume normal use. I did continue tampon use because I have heavy periods and over the years, tampon use became very difficult. My vagina would feel like it was being cut up by the tampons, raw and sore. Regularly, my vagina would swell and refuse tampon entry without lubrication. I have been using pads and glad rags for many, many years but the flow is so unbearable and heavy that I am about to have a partial hysterectomy. If I could use SOMETHING other than a pad, I would not go through with this, but I have read that once you have had TSS, you can no longer take any risks, even with organic tampons, cups, etc. -A female with past TSS should not put ANYTHING inside her to absorb blood during the cycle, even if they are lower risk materials or materials that do not have a history of TSS. I feel lucky to be alive, and I am so happy I have read this information.

    • Leanne Strong says:

      Have you heard of menstrual cups? I have not tried them, but I have done some research, and they are said to pose no risk for Toxic Shock Syndrome. There are also 100% organic cotton tampons! and they are also said to pose less risk of Toxic Shock than conventional brands (ex. Tampax, Playtex). You can do some research on the internet for both of these kinds of products. I did.

  137. i think im allergic to tampon i went to use one put it in slightly and felt very uncomfortable mind u this is the first time i tried using one later that day i started suffering itching and burning sensations had thrush like discharge and uti like symptoms and when examned myself found lumps inside the vagina they are itchy but not painful and noted i did not feel these before when i tried to insert the tampon

  138. I fell asleep with my tampon in and it was probably in for like 14 hours, now around 8pm I have diarrhea and light cramps, I think the cramps might be because of the diarrhea but I’m not sure. And I wheats get bad cramps during my period. What should I do?

  139. I am very sorry to hear about your daughters passing, and thank you for creating awareness and education for us women.
    I have a quick question for you. This happened last month while on my period as well.. I use regular absorbency tampax tampons. I have been having pretty heavy flow the past 6 months or so and I usually go through a tampon in 30minutes-2 hours. I’ve had dizziness while on my period and extreme fatigue for the past 6 months or more, the doctor feels its because I am very low on iron. Now last month on about my 3rd day of my period I suddenly felt very dizzy, and nauseous, and had chills (I didn’t have a fever, just had the chills). I immediately for some reason thought to take my tampon out and put a pad on instead. I started to feel better after a few hours. Well, I’m on day 2 of my period today and I have worn tampons the past two days, I was sitting at the dining room table tonight and started to feel horribly dizzy and nauseous, I went to the bathroom and took my tampon out immediately. I am pretty good about changing my tampon often, and I always wear pads to bed and usually just wear tampons when I’m leaving my house only. I feel weird, I felt foggy and confused, nauseous, dizzy, my eyes wouldn’t focus well. I didn’t have a fever, and I haven’t vomited or had diarrhea.
    Should I be worried about TSS now? I’m thinking since I don’t have a fever I should be ok. I’m done with tampons, I’ll find something else to use, this is too scary for me. I told my husband about how I was feeling and that I was worried about TSS, so if I get a fever or something he knows.
    I read in one of your previous posts that your daughter had vomiting, diarrhea and correct me if I’m wrong but no fever initially??
    Thank you for your reply, and thanks again for this site its very helpful.

    • Hi Bobbi,
      Thanks for writing.
      It certainly sounds like there’s a connection between how you feel and the tampons you’re using. Perhaps it would be a good idea if you avoid tampon use. It’s doubtful that what you are experiencing is TSS, but it could certainly be a reaction to something in the tampons. Have you considered using a menstrual cup? Instead Softcups are a good place to start. And, of course, if you prefer to go with a reusable cup, there’s Lunette, Diva and Keeper cups.
      Warm regards,

    • Leanne Strong says:

      Hi, this website is very well put together! I can see you worked really hard on it! Sorry for your loss! I have a couple of questions, though. 1. How would I know if it’s the flu or Toxic Shock Syndrome? I know that tss presents itself with many of the same symptoms as the flu or other simple illnesses (such as a bad cold or stomach virus).

      2. I have Asperger syndrome (high functioning autism), but I use tampons when I’m on my period (I do take suggested precautions, and have recently switched to organic tampons). If I get TSS, could it make my Autism worse than it is now?

  140. Monday morning I woke up extremely dehydrated and continued to crave water and was also fatigue. I thought nothing of it and went on with my day. During lunch I took my dog on our regular .4 mile walk and halfway through I instantly became so lightheaded I almost collapsed. It took everything in me to get back to my house-my body was shaking and my hands were rattling. I figured I just needed to eat so I ate some food with my hands trembling. I called into work and told them I didn’t think I could drive back and walked upstairs and laid in bed drinking water. My stomach then began to hurt so I went to the bathroom just sitting there trying to go. Out of nowhere an old tampon starts coming out of my vagina and I freak out (my period ended 12 days ago). Instantly I looked up the symptoms of TSS and once my symptoms matched I freaked out and called my gyno for an appointment. Within the next hour my body stopped shaking and I felt fine enough to drive myself to the doctor. My gyno took a culture and sent off to the lab and I am currently being treated for TSS with heavy antibiotics while I wait for the results. I was supposed to have them within 24-48 hours and have yet to hear back even though I’ve called numerous times. My gyno told me he was checking the culture for strep but from my research strep is rare and staph is the infection typically associated with TSS from tampon use. It’s been 2 days since my scare and I still don’t know for sure if it was TSS. I feel back to normal minus some fatigue, dry mouth and today I lost my appetite and have been having lower abdominal pains. Will a culture taken from my pap show if I had TSS or not? Also is there a less severe form of TSS that can instantly make your symptoms of shock go away once removing the tampon? I’m having trouble finding clear answers on the internet and would appreciate you thoughts and help!!! Thank you so much for this website raising awareness for TSS. May your daughter rest easy knowing you are sharing her story for the benefit of others.

  141. I sleep with tampons I’m because I can’t sleep with a pad
    On due to how uncomfortable it is. I take it out as soon as I wake up.
    I’ve been doing this for about a year And a half now. Reading all this stuff has me scared I’m going to get TSS. :(

  142. Question: I am 27 years old and about a month ago now I had totally forgotten about a tampon that I had in and had intercourse with my partner which obviously shoved it waaaay up inside. Anyway like a week and a half later I developed a really horrible odor down there so I called my ob/gyn because I thought I had an STD or infection because my partner was a new partner. They did not have me come in for an appointment stating that I probably just had bacterial vaginosis which can happen with a new partner they called flagyl in to the pharmacy and I picked the pills up and started taking them I was to take it twice a day for 10 days. After taking almost all of the pills I only had like 3 days left the odor was still really bad and did not seem to be getting better it was a horrible death smell and I continued to have intercourse even with the odor even though I was really really embarassed anyway as I was saying before finally when I had only 2 or 3 days left of the pills and it still smelled as horrible as it did in the beginning thats when it came to me and I started to think hmmm I wonder if I had forgotton about a tampon because I remembered back in high school it had happend to one of my friends so I got into the bathtub as I had been taking tons of baths because of the odor washed my hands and fingers real well and went in there digging to see if I could feel one and possibly retrieve it myself well wala there was my culprit for the smell of death it was indeed a tampon and I was lucky enough to be able to remove it myself! So my question is it was in there for a good 2-3 weeks!!! Anyway is it possible I could have TSS I still at this point am experiencing a larger then usual amount of discharge and it has a slightly bad odor to it nothing like the smell of death like it was when it was in there but, after reading through some of these comments I started thinking and other symptoms I have been having lately are itchy red patches popping up out of nowhere I have been crazy itchy lately, suuuuper tired all the time, cramping, some occasional but not real severe dizziness but I have not had a fever that I am aware of anyway although I have been suuuuper cold all the time lately but have not even thought to take my temp. Should I be worried and should I go in and be tested?

  143. Hi! (: I have a few questions…i’ve been having issues where my period lasts far far longer than it should…could having to use tampons for an extended period of time cause TSS? I’ve been sick with flu like symptoms for 4 days…fever, cough, vomiting, diarreah, dizzy, ect & Ive noticed that its becoming painful to remove my tampon…I realize it could be another issue & i am going to see my PCP tomo…i was just curious what you think…Thank You!! Xo

  144. In 2006 I was at my sisters house and felt sick to my stomach after having the urge to urinate I threw up several times in her bathroom and collapsed on her floor with hot/cold sweats fever and dizziness weakness and feeling like my muscles couldn’t work at all. I had to stay at her house because I was too sick and weak to move. That was the beginning of it all and from that point on every month or so I would wake up in my bed it always happened in the middle of the night and I would feel like I couldn’t breathe then I would go to the bathroom feeling nauseated and I would try to throw up or actually throw up and fall to the floor by the toilet in complete weakness and crawl to my phone to call my mom or yes for my roommate. I has a fever of 102 or more and felt like every breath I took could be my last. I went to the ER and a primary care provider because this happened a handful of times usually once a month. They never found out what was wrong with me the doctor said it could be acid reflux and I was extremely upset because that sounded like such a foolish diagnosis with my fever and feeling like I couldn’t breathe or move. I just now realized that all along it could have been TSS. I’ve been using tampons since I had my last episode in 2006 but now I’m concerned I should stop their use and look up my old medical records. My parents and I even wondered if my apartment could have had some type of mold. Any response would be very helpful I would love to figure this out. Since it happened every month or so (about 5 times total) could it be TSS I don’t think I was on my period everytime it happened because I would have suspected TSS and told my doctor. Can it live in your body and cause episodes? I don’t want to risk using tampons again if it was TSS. Thanks for raising awareness in this blog. I am so terribly sorry for your loss and I pray God keeps you close to Him!

  145. Hi! Im so sorry for your loss. I can’t even imagine if something like that happened to my daughter. She’s only 3 right now but I have decided I will not have her using tampons when she gets her periods someday. I had a little scare the other day. I totally forgot I put in a tampon. I dont use them often, they make me nervous. My mom didn’t let me use either, she always warned about TSS. Anyways when I realized it was still in it had been 9 hours. Which instantly made me panic. That was about 48 hrs ago. I have not had a fever, diarrhea, vomiting or a rash. My throat is every so slightly sore off and on through out the day. I tend to be paranoid. My question is; how long should I keep an eye out for symptoms? Would they have shown by now?

    I feel silly but I have been worrying about it for 2 days now and I’m ready to stop now. I have also decided to just do away with tampon use and am going to order some of those cups to try. I have been reading all these comments and questions the last couple days. Some scary stories!!!

  146. i just discovered i had a tampon in and i have no idea how long, ..a week or more. i have 3 small kids at home with me and my husband works 12 hour days, so im not thrilled to go get checked, but real scared. i was diagnosed with influenza like 2 weeks ago. right now i have a pain in the side of my head that comes and goes and hurts like crap (started at 6:45 am) my skin is clamy, low energy and guess i need someone to just TELL me what to do. is it a horrible idea to just stay home for a couple days and see what happens now that it is out or should i go to urget care when my husband gets home? i have had Watery diarrhea scene yesterday and real bad lower back pain with some other achy muscles.

  147. Vanessa Riddall says:

    Kelsi go to urgent care

  148. Until this year I was unaware of these side effects mentioned. I have regularly peft tampons in for well over 4 hrs at a time, and always slept with them in up to 12 hrs sometimes! My partner and I are 23 soon, and have been trying for children since 18. I dont recall these symptoms coinciding with my period however every second or third period the pain is so bad I require morphene just to get comfortable however not much blood. Ive had blood tests and have a low immunity to german measels, and for two years had the virus that can cause Cervical cancer. As I said Ive always used tampons, since I was 13, and always leave them over night, and if its not heavy I dont change it regularly. Im trying pads now but they make life so uncomfortable and tampons tended to alleviate some pain. Ive almost given up trying without help for children and feel as if it will never happen. Any advice? Could I have had long term exposure and become the barron waste Ive prayed so hard not to be??? :(

  149. Hi uh- I may sound like I’m possibly over-exaggerating… But I’m as scared as ever. It’s been my first few times ever to use a tampon and I left it in for 9 AND A HALF HOURS. Am I going to develop TSS? :( I was a little light-headed earlier and a little dizzy but it went away after lunch… Please answer ASAP because I’m really scared and anxious!!!!

  150. Hi, I’ve been reading all these posts and have a question.. I’m really aware of TSS, and have been having some strange symptoms,
    I really suffer with my periods.. To the point I’m laid up in bed for 2 days with intense pain

    My story/ question is, I change my tamping regulary I have too I bleed so heavily,
    But I came off my period around 3 days ago.. And my last tampon,
    Came out but not completely in tact, for te last 2 days there’s been an offensive odor and have to push a tad harder to wee then normal.. Along with a thick discharge. I’ve also been getting times in the day where I’ll get swollen glands feel nauseas and achey but it passes within an hour or so ?
    I’m very confused I think there’s fibers left inside me but I can’t feel them..
    Is this just some sort of thrush? Or turning in to something a bit more serious?

  151. Hi,I’m 21 years old,I’ve been reading all these posts and have a question.. I’m really aware of TSS, and have been having some strange symptoms,
    I really suffer with my periods.. To the point I’m laid up in bed for 2 days with intense pain

    My story/ question is, I change my tamping regulary I have too I bleed so heavily,
    But I came off my period around 3 days ago.. And my last tampon,
    Came out but not completely in tact, for te last 2 days there’s been an offensive odor and have to push a tad harder to wee then normal.. Along with a thick discharge. I’ve also been getting times in the day where I’ll get swollen glands feel nauseas and achey but it passes within an hour or so ?
    I’m very confused I think there’s fibers left inside me but I can’t feel them..
    Is this just some sort of thrush? Or turning in to something a bit more serious?

  152. Julia Christiano says:

    Hi, I don’t know if I’m having symptoms of TSS. But I’m freezing, an it’s 72 in my house, my body aches, very tired, an I have had a severe headache for three days.
    Could anyone help me or tell me if I am having symptom

  153. I had use a tampon yesterday and today, I have taken it out a few hours ago. I am feeling fine, but now after reading articles about TSS caused by tampons I got scared. Am I not at risk of getting TSS if I removed tampon?

  154. Where can I buy 100% organic tampons x

  155. Noticeably interesting knowledge you have mentioned, many thanks for adding.

  156. Hi years ago I left a tampon in my vergina I think it was in there for about 4 week from that day on my sex life as gone from good to no sex at all I just don’t want it any more

  157. I have some questions as to what I should do… So today at school was the first time I had used a tampon for more than an hour. I was at school and I was feeling pretty good about myself, actually. I was playing soccer with my class outside and it was great. I had P.E. just before lunch break, and I’d been wearing my tampon from 7:30 that morning to noon (4 & 1/2 hours.).

    Anyways, at 12:00 I took it out and put a pad on because I was out of tampons. And barely 5 minutes after I started eating I was dizzy, and my cramps were much worse than usual. Is this TSS? I left school and went home, and it’s been about an hour. What should I do?

  158. About how long can it take for symptoms to appear? It’s been several hours since I’ve removed the tampon, but I’ve had diarrhea. It may just be because of my period but I’m totally freaking out right now. Am I just beong paranoid? I’m definitely done with tampons. Please help. Thank you.

  159. Interesting blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere? A design like yours with a few simple tweeks would really make my blog jump out. Please let me know where you got your design. Appreciate it

  160. Hi Lisa and everyone here, thank you so much for this website and I am so sorry for your loss of your daughter. I came across it after I heard about the Robin Danielson bill. I had always been aware of TSS, but thought that as long as I followed the “rules” I would be pretty safe. I did not know that cotton tampons were much safer. Do you know if the two scientists you have mentioned above (Schlievert and Tierno) have now come into some agreement about the safety of cotton tampons? I tried to google scholar this question and found several studies in the 90s in which the two debated each other about methodology of their studies, as Schlievert had found that cotton does not have much of a protective effect while Tierno did. I list the links to the debate between them below. I do not know enough about this to know which methodology is ultimately more reliable. Thank you in advance for any info you can offer!

  161. Very good site you have here but I was curious if you knew
    of any discussion boards that cover the same topics discussed here?
    I’d really like to be a part of online community where I can get comments from other experienced people that share the same interest.

    If you have any recommendations, please let me know.
    Appreciate it!

  162. Elizabeth Polizzi says:

    I was hospitalized in 1995 with Toxic Shock Syndrome and kept in the ICU for 5 days. I recognized the symptoms early and by the grace of God kept my fingers and toes. I do have poor circulation in my feet, however. I had always weighed 125 pounds, but after massive antibiotics (resulting in diarrhea for weeks, and yeast infections), I gained 60 lbs. in 6 months and developed Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome. Doctors told me there was no connection between the two, and fertility is rarely affected. I had trouble conceiving, and great difficulty losing weight. Given the massive amounts of antibiotics I was on, I am curious if there is any research or experiences out there of TSS survivors who have become obese following treatment and recovery? I am reading more and more about the immune system, our gut bacteria, and obesity.

  163. Hi there,

    Just over a month ago I went on holiday, I was feeling run down before I went and then I came on a period, I was using tampons as I was going swimming, I started developing hogging stomach cramps, migraines, burning up then shivering, my muscles were aching, I thought I had the flu, this went on for a couple of days, then my throat hurt, I couldn’t eat or drink without crying in pain, as I was on holiday I couldn’t go to the GP, I waited till I got home however I was feeling a little better, he checked my throat out and said it seemed to be a streptococcal infection, I have been very drained of energy since, I didn’t take the antibiotics as I was feeling better however it went into my chest and I still haven’t cleared it, I have had another very heavy period 2 weeks later and I was wondering after reading this site, do you think it could be a chance I had TSS, I do normally wear towels however when I don’t have them I do use tampons and I’m not the best at remembering to remove them.

    Thanks in advance :)

  164. My daughter wore a tampon today for only the 2nd time. After about 2 hours she took it out and wore a pad. Several hours later she told me it felt “weird” down there, like the tampon was still in. I asked her if she remembered seeing it in the toilet and it was all there. She said yes. I also told her sometimes a period can make your whole perennial area ache. Is there anyway part of the tampon could still be up there? She is 13, a virgin and has only used a tampon one other time. I think it might just be the irritation of trying to use one and stuff. What do you think? Concerned mom

    • Hi,
      Thanks for writing!
      I think it would be wise if your daughter looked into Instead SoftCups for times when she needs something other than pads. Using traditional tampons is just asking for trouble.
      And, yes, it is possible for part of a tampon to remain inside. That’s a very dangerous situation that can lead to TSS.
      Warm regards,

  165. Shirley Werner says:

    I came across this site, as I was searching for answers. About 20 years ago, I was at work. I was on my period and using tampons. All of a sudden I broke into a sweat, felt dizzy and disoriented, felt like I was going to vomit. I had to have help walking to the bathroom. I had diarrhea. I removed my tampon and went home for the rest of the day. I intuitively knew not to insert another tampon. After several hours my symptons subsided. This morning, I was sitting at my computer. I had inserted a tampon only a couple of hours prior. I am in peri-menopause, so my periods have been extremely heavy. I have been using Super a bsorbency tampons. Out of nowhere, I started sweating profusely, started feeling light-headed, felt like I was going to throw up, and felt disoriented. I ran to the restroom, and had diarrhea. I remembered distinctly feeling this very same way 20 years ago. I removed my tampon. I laid down…drank some water. After about an hour, the symptoms began to subside. I was chilling and my lips felt tingly, and I still felt disoriented. I called the doctor. The nurse told me that it sound a lot like TSS, and that if the chilling did not subside, or if I developed cramping, I should go to Urgent Care. I’m wondering if I still need to go in, even though my symptoms have mostly subsided?

    Thank you!

  166. Kelly B. says:

    Hi, I’m currently on my menstrual cycle nearing the end of it. About two days ago I couldn’t remember if I left a tampon on (5 children will make you forget). So I went ahead and checked myself and found nothing, I could’ve sworn I left one in so I had my husband check (love him even more for that) and he as well didn’t feel anything although we were both confused about the cervix :/ couldn’t tell if it was the end of a tampon or just the cervix. I read online that it’s basically impossible for tampon to go up pass the cervix (although I’m worried after having kids, it’s a possibility). So tonight I’m wondering because I suddenly have a sore throat but heard it’s common during menstruation, I have body aches but I did work out, so the only other thing is that I’m feeling a bit tired/off. I keep getting my words stuck, like my tongue is a bit heavy. No fever though nor headache but I’m worried because I survived spinal meningitis a year n a half ago after giving birth. I don’t know if that’ll make me more vulnerable to TSS? Does anyone know if it’s possible for a tampon to travel up the cervix??

    • Hi Kelly,
      While it’s not possible for a tampon to travel up the cervix, it is possible for TSS to happen AFTER a tampon is removed. Especially so when tampon fibers remain within the vagina after the tampon has been removed.
      Did your symptoms resolve on their own, or did you seek medical attention?
      Warm regards,

  167. Madison says:

    Hey! I’ve been having my period for about 2 years and this year I will be going into high school so I wanted to try out a tampon because my friends use them. I put the tampon in but then I started having really bad stabbing pains and it was burning so bad. So I took the tampon out and I got lightheaded and my hearing started going in an out. It was horrible and I felt like I was going to pass out so I layed down and after an hour and a half it started to feel better. Is that normal or should I tell my doctor to see if something’s wrong? I didn’t have te tampon in for very long at all, so I don’t thing it would be TSS, but I honestly never want to touch a tampon again.

    • Hi Madison,
      By all means, talk with your doctor about this. What you experienced could have been something as simple as a reaction to chemicals in the tampons or to the dryness of the tampon itself. There are internal alternatives to chemical laden tampons: natural organic tampons, sea sponges, and menstrual cups.
      Thanks for writing.

  168. In May of 2013 I was at church and all of the sudden I became really cold and I was shaking uncontrollably. On the way home, my sisters were making fun of me for shaking and saying that I was “doing it on purpose.” But of course they had no idea what was going on and neither did I. A few hours later I started vommiting every time I stood up. My mother thought I had the flu and didn’t really think twice about it. The next day, I couldn’t walk because I was do weak and dizzy my mom had to carry me to the toilet to puke. The next 4 days after that my symptoms got increasingly worse. I was throwing up stomach acid and I was dyhidrated because everything I ate or drank I threw up 30 minutes later. I couldn’t hold anything I consumed. One night, my sister told my mom that I looked “pale and chalky and that my lips were purple and my eyes were bloodshot” My mom became concerned and took me to the doctor to have them see what was going on. I couldn’t hold my head up on the way there and I was going in and out of consciousness. The doctor there said he thought it was a bad case of the flu and recommended that I went home to sleep. I refused to go home and demanded that my mom took me to the hospital. She agreed to do so and I waited in line t the hospital for an hour . When the doctors called me up I went to the back room to get examined. They weighed me but I couldn’t stand up without help so they took my blood pressure them immediatly rushed me to ICU where they repeatedly try to find a vein but because I was so dehydrated it was nearly impossible. Although I blacked out several times while many doctors were trying to help me, I remember my legs cramping up so bad it felt like they were being ran over by a truck. The doctors eventually put in an “A line” and “central line” and several IVs. I also remember my mom standing by me terrified. All she knew was that my blood pressure was extremely low. I don’t know how long the doctors worked on me but I later woke up in a room with my mom who told me that I had TSS. My kidneys were shutting down, my lungs were filling up with water, I couldn’t breathe and I had to have an oxygen mask. She also told me that if I would have went home from the doctors office, I would have had 30 minutes left in me . The doctors almost had to put me in a medically induced coma. A nurse came in every hour to take my vitals. I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink anything until I was completely stabilized. I made a quick recovery and I was in the hospital for 5 days and 2 days later I was back in school. Although I was weak and had a hard time going up and down the stairs, everything went back to normal soon. Now, I’m on my period and I’m starting to feel really sick. My throat and head hurts a lot and I woke up confused this morning. I’m not sure if it’s TSS again and I don’t want to scare my mom. My sister is sick too so it could be a virus. I am having a hard time breathing but I’m not throwing up or having diarrhea. My ears also hurt but I don’t know if that has anything to do with it. My period seems to be done but it’s only been 3 days which rarely happens to me. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Skyler,
      Thank you for sharing your story.
      I hope your doctors told you that it’s important not to ever use tampons again. Once you’ve had TSS you run a greater risk of developing it again.
      TSS can develop AFTER your period ends.
      Tell your mom what’s going on and ask her to check with your doctor. It could be something as simple as a virus, but it could also be TSS.
      Warm regards,

  169. Jennifer Hastings says:

    Hi, I am 14 and LOVE using tampons. Unfortunately, last night I forgot to take my tampon out and slept with it for 17 hours straight! I woke up at like 6 in the morning suddenly realizing it was still in there, so I ripped the thing out of me right there in bed. Half awake, I stumbled to the bathroom and threw the bloody thing in the trash. 17 hours! I know thats not good at ALL, am I going to die because this one time I forgot to take my tampon out before the eight hours were up?! Please help me!

    • Hi Jennifer,
      Thank you for writing.
      17 hours is way too long for tampons to be in continuously. 8 hours is also way too long. The toxin that causes TSS can begin to cause problems in as little as 2 hours. It’s important to alternate between tampons and pads and only use the absorbency tampon that you need (meaning one you need to change within 2 hours time).
      If you begin to experience any flu like symptoms contact your doctor and let him/her know you have used tampons and that one remained in you for 17 hours.
      It’s important that you not use tampons the remainder of this period.
      Warm regards,

  170. Leanne Strong says:

    I’m very sorry that this had to happen to your daughter! :( I have never had TSS, but there have been a few times where I thought I had it. All of those times, I only had 1 of the symptoms, and it was never the fever, rash, or peeling on my skin. And my symptoms always went away after just one episode, or just a few hours, and they didn’t come back. I would ask my mom to take me to the doctor, but she wouldn’t because I wasn’t running a fever. I was thinking that it might be Toxic Shock Syndrome, because I was on my period, and I use tampons. If I told my mom I thought I had Toxic Shock Syndrome, she would just say something like, “honey, why would you think it’s Toxic Shock?! You’re not running a temp!”

  171. How soon can you find out if you have TSS I had my period last month but I don’t remember if I took my tampon out and I search and could it find it

    • Hi Jazmin,
      Thank you for writing. Symptoms associated with TSS can develop within a couple of hours of inserting a tampon. If you have inserted your finger and slipped it alongside of your cervix and have found no indication of a tampon, it’s probably safe to assume that the last tampon was removed. This is one reason why I recommend a menstrual cup.
      Warm regards,

  172. S. Thomas says:

    I’m not sure what to think or do. I used a contraceptive sponge and the day after, my face looked sunburned and it was peeling, along with other symptoms, but I shugged them off and attributed them to other causes. 16 days later I’m having a lot of vaginal/pelvic problems and my doctor can’t see me until next week. Had I known that the sunburn rash was a symptom of TSS, I would have gone to the ER that day..

    Do you think TSS is still a possibility over two weeks later? Should I wait to see my doctor, or go to the ER?

    Thank you!

    • Hi Stacey,
      Thank you for writing. If you begin to experience flu like symptoms (high fever, vomiting, dizziness, difficulty breathing, etc) go to the ER. If you situation appears to be stable, it will most likely be okay to wait until your scheduled doctor appointment. It’s possible that the redness you noticed in your face could have been due to chemicals in the sponge.
      Warm regards,

  173. First off, thank you so much for starting this website and organization. I’ve learned so much and even though I’ve heard of TSS, never realized how serious a condition it is until I happened upon your site. Also my condolences for your loss. Having two daughters myself, I can’t imagine the grief and pain you experienced and my prayers are with you!
    I just wanted to ask, is it was possible to have a mild case of TSS? Can symptoms get better before they get worse? I’ve been a diaphragm user for a year now. Yesterday after the use of my diaphragm, I felt a bit sore after taking it out, but thought nothing of it and went back to bed. When I woke up a few hours later, I felt horrible. Achy, chills, slight fever, watery stool, painful joints, and a little light headed and well as increased throbbing pain of the area. Thinking I just was coming down with something because I hadn’t gotten much sleep the past week, I laid back in bed a couple more hours and woke up feeling improved. Chills, fever, light head, and achiness was gone, but then I had back pain. I was functioning, just not very quickly. I continued to have diarrhea throughout the day. Today I feel much better and almost back to normal. Stool is normalizing more as the day passes, and I just had a little bit of a headache which has completely cleared. Now that I’m feeling better, should I be concerned? Thank you so much.

    • Hi Lucy,

      Thanks for writing. From what you’ve shared, it doesn’t sound like TSS. However, it would be a good idea to check with your doctor and let him/her know the symptoms you had and that it happened after using your diaphragm.

      Warm regards,


  174. Leslie Ponce says:

    I barley found out yesterday that i have had a tampon “lost” inside of me without knowledge i pushed and pushed and it came out. I have no been feeling almost all signs of TSS i don’t even know how i have the strength to type. I need seriously advise and help do you think i may have TSS?

  175. Leanne Strong says:

    Hi, sorry for your loss of your daughter!

    I do have a couple of questions.

    1. How can I tell if it’s the flu or Toxic Shock Syndrome? I know TSS can present itself with flu symptoms (or other simple little bug like a bad cold or stomach virus). I’m from Upstate New York, so we see all 4 seasons.

    2. I have Asperger Syndrome (High-Functioning Autism), but I usually use tampons when I’m on my period (although I do take suggested precautions and have recently switched to organic tampons). If I ever get Toxic Shock Syndrome, will it make my Autism more severe?

    • Hi Leanne,
      Thanks for writing.
      1. If you’re on your period and using tampons and develop flu like symptoms, seek medical advise. TSS often begins with flu like symptoms, but does not include sneezing or sinus issues. TSS symptoms increase and you become quite sick.
      2. I’m not aware of any studies that have addressed TSS and Autism, but I do know that TSS can and often does create problems that compound issues people already have.
      You are wise to switch to organic tampons. Menstrual cups are another great option.
      Warm regards,

  176. hey guys! I was reading all this and just had a quick question. Im 20 years old and im very irregular and I am just barley bleeding and its 1:00 in the morning and all the stores are closed. all I have is tampons and I have never slept in a tampon and was just wondering if It would be safe to sleep in considering that im just barley bleeding?

    • Hi Ashlee,
      If you are just barely bleeding and don’t anticipate an increase in flow overnight, fold a washcloth, slip on a pair of tight panties and line the gusset of the panties with the washcloth. If you feel one washcloth won’t be enough, fold two together.
      Warm regards,

      • Leanne Strong says:

        how do you know so much about TSS, Suzan? Are you a gyno? Have you had Toxic Shock yourself?

  177. Great page and sorry for your loss! It’s amazing how you take the time to help other people like this.

    For a month now i have been worried that i might have had a mild case off TSS. A month ago at the end of my period i started feeling a bit sick. I removed the tampon after being worried. In 3-4 days i had different symptoms; just a little bit fever, my toes and hands (palms) were very red with a rash and they were tingling strongly. One night the tingling went through my whole body. I also had headaches for 4 days, and my tounge was sour and the tip of my tongue was screaming red. But i didnt have the need of vomiting or anything like that and also i didnt have a high fever so i didnt go to to the doctor even though i was very worried. But then the symptoms went away and all i had left was that my palms were a bit red at times. But now after 3 weeks after the symptoms my toes started to peel and also my hands. The peeling of my hands i got under control by using lotion but it is harder with the toes so the skin has now peeled of quite much. So i think i probably had a mild case of TSS? One thing for sure i will not use tampons again….but i wonder if i still should see the doctor. Or am i fine if i just stop using tampons?

    Thank you very much if you have time to read this and give me advice…it would mean a lot! Best wishes Mikaela

    • Hi Mikaela,
      Thank you for writing.
      It certainly sounds like something was going on at the end of your period. It would be a good idea to talk with your health care provider and just make sure everything is okay.
      You were wise to remove your tampon and wiser still to know it’s not a good idea to use another tampon because of the symptoms you had.
      Be sure to use pads only for your next period. And, beyond that, if you prefer internal products, menstrual cups are a great option.
      Warm regards,

  178. I just started high school and am nervous to change it in bathrooms or locker rooms. Is it okay to leave in a tampon for 8 or 9 hours just once or are you still at risk?

    • Hi Jen,
      Thank you for writing.
      I understand your reluctance to change your tampon at school. But, if you think about it – most girls around you are either on their period, just finished with it, or getting ready to start.
      To answer your question – no, it’s not okay to leave a tampon in for 8 or 9 hours – not even just once. The toxin that causes TSS can form in as little as two hours after a tampon is inserted.
      If you are looking for longer wear and lower risk of TSS, try a menstrual cup. SoftCup is an awesome disposable cup that can be worn for up to 12 hours (depending on your flow). There are great reusable menstrual cups, too. Lunette, Keeper and Diva are three that come to mind.
      Warm regards,

  179. Is it normal for the tampon to make your private hurt, swell, and burn? It also makes my stomach hurt and I feel like I’m going to vomit. Sometimes it makes feel like I have to itch down there. Is this normal? My private and stomach aches when wearing tampons is all this normal? What’s going on with me?

    • Hi,
      What you are experiencing while wearing tampons is not normal. It appears you are having a reaction to either the tampon itself or to something in the tampon. Menstrual cups are a better option if you don’t like to wear pads. SoftCup is a great disposable menstrual cup. Lunette is a great reusable cup.
      Warm regards,

  180. Hello Suzan,

    Thank you for sharing your story. About three days ago I accidentally slept with my tampon in after wearing in for several hours. I’d say it was in for 13-15 hours. Yesterday I woke up feeling like I am coming down with a head cold. My mouth is very dry, I have a slight headache, and I feel very dizzy/distant today. I was standing and I found myself holding my head a lot as I started to become dizzy. I called my doctor’s office to see if I should go in and they said that that is a decision that’s left up to me. Could this be a sign of a minor case of TSS or would I be showing symptoms earlier?

    • Hi Sammi,
      Thank you for writing. Symptoms of TSS resemble the flu – high fever, muscle aches, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, fainting, low blood pressure – without sinus issues. It’s possible that what you are experiencing is a reaction to having the tampon in for so long. If you begin to run a fever or develop more symptoms, it would be a good idea to get yourself checked by a medical professional. Make sure someone (a friend or family member) knows you left a tampon in for 13 to 15 hours and that you’ve been feeling a bit odd and let them know that if you become ill or sense that your symptoms are increasing or becoming worse that you give them permission to seek immediate medical attention for you if you are unable to do so for yourself.
      Warm regards,

  181. Tammie York says:

    About a year ago I was at work and my DM came to visit. I was so busy with him I left my tampon in longed than normal. I was working at my desk and felt fine then all of the sudden I started aching. I said I think I’m getting sick. A fee minutes later I rushed to the bathroom throwing up. All of the sudden I felt weak my lips turned blue. So I left work throwing up all the way home. When I got home I was freezing, throwing up and diarrhea. This went on through the night. I also developed a rash. I was miserable. The next day I was still weak but felt better. It took me about 2 weeks to completely get over this. I also developed thrush mouth and lost my taste for a while. My Skin On My Hands and feet peeled. I know I had TSS but didn’t know it until I was better and googled my experience. I never sought medical attention and feel blessed now reading the comments I survived. Should I still go see a doctor for blood work?

  182. During my last menstrual cycle I spiked a fever and broke out in a rash around my neck, shoulders and under my armpits. The fever broke after one day the rash, however, lasted a few days. Nearly a week later, I notice my skin is peeling right above my armpit (where part of the rash was). I did use tampons during my menstrual cycle and I always vary the type of tampons according to my needs. Do you think I could have had TSS? What should I do?

  183. I’m 14 and usually change my tampon every 8-9 hours and today I left it in for 12. I’m curious as to the risk of getting tss after this. This is the first time it’s happened and I don’t really know how likely it is, statistically speaking. Thank you.

    • Leanne Strong says:

      I’m not a medical professional, but I would guess it’s probably not very likely. Although, I’ve heard that if you’re not immune to the bacteria that causes Toxic Shock Syndrome, and it starts producing toxins in your body, then Toxic Shock can occur within the 1st 2-3 hours of tampon use-it doesn’t wait until X number of hours to take effect.

  184. A few days ago I left in a tampon or about ten hrs and recently I have been having little bit of watery diarrhea. Should I be concerned?

  185. I’m 14 years old and I left a tampon in for nearly 24 hours. It is Saturday evening when I am writing this and I put the tampon in on Friday, I am entirely not sure what time but I think it was somewhere between 11 and 1. I ended up going to one of my friends houses after school, it was a boy’s house and the bin in his bathroom was an open bin and was completely empty so I was scared he would see the tampon if I took it out. Then we went in his pool so I didn’t take it out then and after that I forgot all about it! I stayed over and only remembered when I woke up in the morning (about 10 o’clock). Of course I took it out straight away and now I’m freaking out that I have TSS! I feel fine though so I’m not sure. It’s been about 12 hours since I took it out, what should I do? Thank you!

  186. I’m kind of freaked out right now. I’m a 21 year old student and I stay with my parents. I’ve been using tampons for years without a problem, so today (technically yesterday, it’s 5:22am here right now and I haven’t slept cause I don’t want to die in my sleep) when I took out a high absorbing tampon which was in me for 4/5 hours, and replaced it with another; I started to develop a slight fever, probably not very high it felt like flushing, a headache, and dizziness.

    This was strange and even though I didn’t know the symptoms of TSS for some reason I thought of TSS. So I took the new tampon out which was barely in me for an hour/half an hour. I then immediately took an immune booster, antibiotics one usually takes for flu, I did this twice. The fever went away, but I still feel a little dizzy. I then took two other antibiotic tablets which is used for urinary tract infections and bone and joint infections. Is this even enough to treat TSS if I have it? I don’t want to alarm my mother if I don’t have TSS at all, plus she never takes me to a doctor, I’ve never been to one all my life, she always tries to fix it herself so I doubt she’ll take me to a doctor. Even when we found out I have PCOS when I was 18 she still hasn’t taken me to a gyno since. And whenever I suggest I have something serious she doesn’t believe me. So it’s basically useless to suggest I have TSS that’s why I’m trying to treat it myself. I measured my blood pressure and it is normal. Is this TSS? What should I do? Is there a chance it’s not TSS and just a bug or something else? Gosh I really hope it’s not TSS I don’t want to die yet. And I have so many dreams for myself.

    Cheeks seem to be getting hot again, and for some reason my tongue feels a little numb making it weird to swallow, I feel shaky but I’m not shaking maybe I should go to bed already. I hope I don’t have TSS maybe I’m just paranoid and this is nothing at all, maybe I’m just scaring myself, and I’m just pumping my body full of antibiotics for nothing :( God I hope so. I’d rather be a paranoid loon than a dead girl with dead dreams. ;(


  1. […] can read here for more information on facts and signs and […]

  2. […] honestly can’t remember a time after I started my period when I wasn’t aware on some level of Toxic Shock Syndrome […]

  3. […] the drugstore? Disposables are a bummer for a number of reasons. Aside from the risk of contracting TSS from tampons or the discomfort of developing contact dermatitis from super absorbent pads, […]

  4. […] developed antibodies and 2) have risky tampon use habits.  TSS does not take a holiday. Know the facts. Learn what to […]

  5. […] The more absorbent the tampon, the greater risk of developing TSS. […]

  6. […] of all kinds; heavy, light, undecided, it don’t matter! With tampons there’s always the risk of TSS and choosing the right absorbency for your flow is a big consideration. Not so with The DivaCup! […]

  7. […] this week. I had one exactly this time last womanly cycle. It really made me paranoid about Toxic Shock Syndrome since I had the fever, headaches, and nausea both times. I even went to urgent care to have tests […]

  8. […] This month the #PeriodTalk TweetChat will focus on raising awareness about tampon related Toxic Shock Syndrome (aka TSS). […]