Amy’s Story

Amy was a healthy 20 year old, whose symptoms were initially very mild and did not cause any undue concern.

On Wednesday afternoon prior to her death, she developed a fever and began vomiting. After an ibuprofen, her temperature quickly returned to normal. She assumed a flu bug had run its course. Amy was able to chat on her computer and watch TV that night, she went to sleep easily.

Thursday morning, Amy felt somewhat better; her vomiting had ended, but she had developed diarrhea. She drank orange juice and 7-up to stay hydrated.

Friday morning, Amy woke up very weak with a sore throat and sore muscles, so her mother took her to Prompt Med as soon as it opened. Her blood pressure was low and her pulse rate high, so it was recommended that she go directly to the ER for hydration. When she arrived at the hospital, they immediately began fluids and did blood work only to discover her kidneys were at 25% function. Amy was admitted.

Saturday, Amy’s condition had worsened. She had become septic and was moved to CCU where more aggressive treatment began. Within hours she developed fluid in her lungs, was sedated and put on a ventilator.

By Sunday morning, the stress on Amy’s body began to take its toll on her heart. She had two episodes throughout the day that required her heart to be shocked back into rhythm. A third heart episode proved to be more than her body could withstand. Amy died on June 13, 2010 at 10:55pm.

If you or a loved one has suffered from tampon related TSS, we would like to hear from you.  Please contact us here.


  1. Thank you for sharing your story.

  2. My heart breaks to know that a young woman died from this condition in this age of enlightenment….I thought the companies that produced tampons etc. (not referring to a specific brand) made a much safer product. I guess my head has been in the sand about this…my heart felt sympathy.

  3. Im truly sorry for your loss, this story touches my heart, especially because i know that this could’ve happened to any girl. I now know to be sure about how dangerous tampons can be. thank you for sharing.

  4. I have to admit, like Joan said, I thought the warnings in boxes of tampons were there just to transfer legal liability from the Tampon Manufacturers to the consumer. I believed that the products were/are safe. I’m deeply sorry for your loss, and am very thankful that we connected on Twitter – as a mom to 3 daughters, I appreciate being educated on this. Even though I myself had already made the switch to a menstrual cap, it never occurred to me to start my daughters with them as soon as they begin menstruating.
    Again, I’m sorry for your loss.

    Hugs & best wishes,

  5. I am on of the lucky ones. When I was 21 my story is much like Amy’s. It was 1986 when they just started putting the warnings on the box of tampons. I started with what I thought was coming down with the Flu. I felt very feverish and weak. I remember going home from work that day and laying on the couch which is were I stayed for 3 day. I was newly married and my husband had no idea what was wrong with me. My fever got up to 104 My Kidneys were shutting down and I looked like something off the syfi channel with my eyes crusted over and my hair looking like a brillo pad, when My husband called my doctor and they said to bring me in. I remember laying on the table at the doctors office and they looking at me with no idea what was wrong. They sent me to the ER where they started to hook me up to IV and such. That was the last thing I remember until I woke up in the ICU 10 days later. They still had no idea what was wrong with me then finally they realized I still had a tampon in and started treating me for TSS. I spent another 2 weeks in the hospital. I am so sorry for your lose as I know the way my family felt not knowing if i was going to make it. I was one of the first cases in Virginia so the doctors had no idea how to treat it. I would have hoped by now they would have figured this out. Needless to say my daughter does not were tampons, I would not wish what I had to go thur on anyone. This was one of those life changing experiences that I still remember like it was yesterday. Thanks for sharing your story

  6. Unbelievable that this kind of thing still happens. I too thought the dangers in TSS were overstated and something from the 80’s. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  7. I’d like to thank you for sharing such a traumatic experience with us. I hope this can help many people in the future. god bless Amy, my thoughts are well and truly with you and your family.
    Im still recovering from TSS and a form of MRSA combined. Mine started off 3 1/2 weeks ago with flu like symptoms and was advised by the doctor to take paracetamol and ibuprofen. 3 days went by and on the Friday evening I started vomiting. I went to bed that night and then woke up (from my conscious mind) on the Monday evening in intensive care and was on a life support machine after having a major operation on the saturday evening on my stomach and my kidney area to have the poison sucked out. I had then been put into a medical coma until the Monday. My kidneys began to fail and the doctors were beginning to discuss a kidney transplant. Fortunately I began to pick up in health and my kidneys have some what recovered. I’m one of few people to say I have survived TSS (for now) but unfortunetly there are many who lost their battle like Amy. :'(
    This website is fantastic and many more women should be made aware of the symptoms of this disease. If in doubt your having major flu like symptoms. Please seek doctors advice! That’s what they’re there for!

    • Ashleigh could you email me personally? We’d love to have you become a member of our TSS survivors group. It’s a place to share experiences, after effects and solutions with each other. Thanks

  8. I’m so sorry for your loss and want to thank you for sharing your story. I had no idea that TSS was still so lethal with all the publicity it’s been given over the years. I have a 21-year-old daughter who wears tampons, and this is really scary…I will share this with her asap.

    Thank you again so much for sharing your heartbreak in the effort to help education the rest of us and prevent this from happening to more women. You have my deepest admiration and respect.

  9. Darscilla Soanes says:

    I am thankful that you can share your story with us. My heart goes out to you and your family. I am getting my 10 year old daughter to read your stories to see how really serious this is and it can happen to anyone even with the proper use of tampons. Thank-you!!!!! Actually Janelle’s Story is my cousin and I remember that we almost lost her. I can’t believe what you and your family is going through. Thank-you for educating me and many others.

  10. I stumbled upon this site from Pinterest (of all places). I was not searching for TSS. I happened to see your board titled “Toxic Shock Syndrome” and my interest peeked because, like other readers, I thought TSS was a thing of the past.

    I am so sorry for your loss, but have much admiration for your ability to rise above the heartache and share your story. Thank you for educating me and for educating other women about this issue. Though it can’t be quantified, you have/will no doubt save the lives of others by your efforts. That is truly a gift to the memory of your daughter.

  11. My mom almost diet of TSS when I was a teenager, but it wasn’t related to a tampon. Thank you for educating women about this risk.

  12. Thank you for your Amy’s story. I had no idea doctors might not be able to figure out it was TSS. I probably had it before. I used to use pads and tampons. I was sick no matter which one I used, besides the allergic reaction my skin got from them. I am hoping to switch to menstrual cup made of silicone.

    You have my prayers for you and your Amy. You also have my sympathy for your loss. I hope more doctors learn how to tell if its TSS or check for it automatically.

  13. Thank you for your story, Im sorry for your loss. I will be careful when I have periods.
    I hope that Tampon companys make their product safer.

  14. I’m so sorry for the loss of Amy and I feel for everyone who has survived this condition. I only wish that, if it were caused by tampon use, that the story stated how long these women accidentally kept tampons in during their period. It could be very informative to those trying to avoid TSS and it could save more lives.

    • Mary, thanks for posting. Amy was anal about her hygiene and changed so often that we joked that I needed stock in the company. I have a group on facebook of 63 survivors, all but two of them were very, very frequent changers. A couple of the worst cases, one death, one with toe amputations weren’t using tampons but had been the week prior. Fibers were left inside. The toxins start to be produced in two hours! When you change the tampon the toxin doesn’t come out, it waits for the next tampon to continue. It takes 8 hours tampon free for the toxins to dissipate.

  15. So sorry for your loss! I used to be SO afraid of Toxic Shock Syndrome that I would not use tampons! When I talked about it with a nurse practitioner at my doctor’s office, she said tampons were very safe if used properly, that I most likely wouldn’t get TSS unless I left my tampon in all night. I would be lying to say that my fear went away completely, but I do use tampons when I’m on my period now (even when I’m not swimming). I do make sure to take the suggested precautions (ex. changing your tampons every 4 hours or so, not using a bigger tampon than I need, using pads when I go to bed at night, etc.), and even then I still watch for any of the symptoms. I also know that if I have any of the symptoms to remove my tampon right away, stop using them, and go to the doctor immediately. I also used to take the tampon boxes off the shelves in the store, and then put them back on the shelves with the TSS warning showing, so that I could help protect other women

  16. Leanne Strong says:

    I heard of a teen in the UK who also died from Toxic Shock Syndrome, only she got it when she used a tampon for the very first time.

  17. My Aunt Lori died because of TSS in August of 1980. She was a young mother of a 2 month old. She had flu like symptoms for a few days, and my uncle rushed her to the hospital in the middle of the night after he found her not responding. She died that night. My aunt had been wearing a tampon, and doctors related her illness to that and to just delivering my cousin a few months before…

    I’m so glad you created this site to remind and educate people about this illness. The loss of my aunt still hurts my mother and grandmother. Even though I was only 1 when she passed, You better believe I was aware of TSS. It took many years for my mom to allow me to use tampons. I just wish people knew more 35 years ago. It could have saved my Aunt, and my cousin could have grown up knowing his mom.

  18. An ex colleague of mine also suffered from tampon related TSS. It’s a small chance, but it made me switch to another system ASAP. I am so sorry for your loss. Amy looks like such a sweety! The word should really be spread more on this!


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