Lauren Wasser, a perfectly healthy 24-year-old, had a normal period begin on October 3rd, 2012. It was like any other period she’d experienced in her adult life. As usual, she used a tampon, Kotex Natural Balance was the brand. She said she typically changed tampons a few times a day.
That night, Lauren wasn’t feeling that great so she decided to go to bed. Later the next day, she was awoken by the police. Her mom had called the police because no one had heard from her. She insisted she was just sick and needed to sleep. Her mother, days later and worried about her, sent a friend over to her house. They found her face down on the bedroom floor. She was then rushed to the hospital with a fever of 107 degrees.
Lauren had suffered a massive heart attack as well as organ failure. Doctors didn’t know what was causing her disease, so they called in an infectious disease specialist who first asked if she was wearing a tampon. She was, so they tested the tampon and it was positive for toxic shock syndrome.
Mayo Clinic calls Toxic Shock Syndrome a “rare, life-threatening complication of certain types of bacterial infections.” It’s not only caused by tampons, but it is one of the causes. A tampon by itself doesn’t cause TSS; a person must have Staphylococcus aureus on their body somewhere. About 20% of people carry the bacteria.