Toxic Shock Syndrome
Many women really appreciate tampons. It is unlikely that they will stop using them entirely. Once again, it is a risk/benefit issue. The following are suggestions that might help:
- Avoid using them for the entire period.
- Use panty liners when the flow is light.
- Use tampons only when the flow is heavy.
- Use sanitary napkins or panty liners at night.
- Use regular size tampons rather than supersize.
- Change regular size tampons more frequently.
- Avoid using tampons between periods to mop up discharge.
- Stop using tampons if there is an infection.
- Stop using tampons if the vagina feels dry or sore.
- Stop using them if there is reason to suspect an infection!
Though the vagina is designed to be robust, it may not adapt well to tampons. At insertion, unclean fingers, sharp nails, or the cardboard edge of a tube, can damage the walls. Maybe harmless bacteria can turn harmful if constantly pressed into the walls by the tampon. Tampons absorb the protective vagina fluids, so the self-cleaning mechanism cannot function. (It can be more clearly seen why douching during a period is not advised).
A few women use a diaphragm to collect menstrual flow or to absorb the discharge. Be Aware! To date, 23 cases of diaphragm-related TSS have been reported, and one over-the-counter contraceptive sponge has been linked to TSS. Sperm are protein-rich. If trapped by the diaphragm or sponge, their presence might contribute to the growth of bacteria. These are theories and have not been proven. One factor seems clear: Leave nothing in the vagina for longer than is necessary.