Okay, before we get into this, I will be talking about periods and tampons, so if you’re weird and those things freak you out, go away now, because you won’t like this post. (But, like, to be honest, it shouldn’t freak you out because it’s a bizarre taboo. But maybe that’s just me.)
Anyway! As anyone who gets a period knows, there are many ways to deal with its various discomforts, but probably most varied are the ways to deal with the messy bit: pads, tampons, period panties, and menstrual cups of the disposable and permanent variety.
Today, we’re focusing on tampons. Personally, I’m not a big fan of tampons. (This is where my older sister comments that menstrual cups are approximately 200x better and I should try them, but they freak me out, Joce, they freak me out!) But, as someone who swims a lot and has danced through all of my periods, I sometimes find them to be a necessity.
However, anyone who uses or has to use tampons also knows about the warning printed in about three different places on, in, and around any tampon packaging:
THE RISK OF TOXIC SHOCK SYNDROME (TSS) INCREASES WITH HIGHER ABSORBENCY. IN ORDER TO REDUCE YOUR RISK OF TSS, YOU SHOULD USE THE LOWEST ABSORBENCY THAT MEETS YOUR NEEDS.
**Use a tampon with the minimum absorbency needed to control your menstrual flow in order to reduce the risk of getting TSS.
ATTENTION: TAMPONS ARE ASSOCIATED WITH TOXIC SHOCK SYNDROME (TSS). TSS IS A RARE BUT SERIOUS DISEASE THAT MAY CAUSE DEATH. READ AND SAVE THE ENCLOSED INFORMATION.
The enclosed information, of course, lays out the symptoms and outcomes of TSS: People may experience:
Pain in the abdomen or muscles
High fever, low blood pressure, chills, dizziness, fainting, fatigue, or lightheadedness
Diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting
Peeling skin or rashes
Also common: organ dysfunction, fast breathing, headache, insufficient urine production, mental confusion, or sore throat.
This is obviously a little bit freaky, but very few people actually save the enclosed information. They throw it away and put in their tampon.
But here’s the dealio, peeps: TSS isn’t a huge risk. At all. It’s the result of a tampon holding all the ish in and then it stews and there’s bacteria and everything gets infected and it’s yeesh. But that was only really an epidemic when tampons were first introduced, because everyone got really excited about having to change much less frequently, so higher and higher absorbency tampons were introduced with the goal that you could leave one in all day–until TSS came along and was like, “No, no convenience for you.”
But then those super-high-absorbency tampons were pulled from all shelves, because, typically, the goal is not to kill people via cotton-stick-on-a-string.
They still have warnings about not leaving your tampon in all day, even though it’s low absorbency, because it is technically possible for you to get TSS–but not terribly likely.
And, here’s the deal, I know these things. I am bizarrely well-read in TSS trivia. (I just accumulate random knowledge.) So I should be free from worry, right?
See, the warnings are freaking everywhere around tampons, so it’s in the back of my head every time I use one. And God forbid I have to leave one in for an extended period of time–say, a nine hour staff training at the pool–because then I’m reeeeaaally paranoid.
So, like, maybe we could be less freaky about this? I think people should know, since you still CAN get it, but maybe one warning, maybe we could chill with the all-caps, and maybe don’t use the word “death” so many times. I’m just trying to use a dang tampon, man.
On an entirely different note, look at our re-sodded front yard:
Pretty sweet, huh?