This Model Lost Her Leg From Using Tampons
Model Lauren Wasser almost lost her life as well as her leg in a sneak attack from a bacteria allegedly caused by a tampon. In October of 2012, Lauren wasn’t feeling very well, so she went to sleep. She woke up to the police pounding on her door and her blind cocker spaniel barking to try to get her attention. A police officer was called to do a welfare check on Lauren, who had not been heard from for a while. Lauren called her mother and decided to go back to bed. The next day the police were called again. Lauren’s mom and the officers found Lauren passed out, face down on her bedroom floor.
Lauren was rushed to the hospital. She had a 107-degree temperature. The cause of the fever was unknown at first. Lauren’s mother and the police officers had come just in time. Lauren was discovered to be about 10 minutes from death. The tampon she was using was removed, and tests proved that she had toxic shock syndrome.
TSS, or Toxic Shock Syndrome, is a complication that develops from a staph infection. There is a link between TSS bacteria and tampon use. The syndrome was discovered in the 1980 after several women died while using tampons. A woman has to have staph in her system for the tampon to cause TSS, so the tampon alone does not cause the syndrome. About 20 percent of people carry the bacteria. Sadly, the ingredients in tampons have not changed since the 1980s. The only difference is that a warning label was placed on tampons that toxic shock syndrome can occur.
Tampons have been used for menstruating women for centuries. Only recently have tampon makers included synthetic materials in making tampons. Combining synthetic materials with the moisture held by the tampon creates the ideal growing culture for TSS bacteria. Extra absorbent tampons seem to cause more problems with toxic shock than do other types of tampons.
Lauren’s TSS turned into gangrene. Her case was so severe that doctors decided to amputate her leg below the right leg. Lauren’s mother started a lawsuit against the Kimberly-Clark Corporation, who produced the tampon Lauren had been wearing when she became ill. Kotex tampons are not the only tampons that can cause TSS, but they are the ones Lauren was using when she got sick. The family hopes to bring awareness of the danger of using synthetic materials in tampons. Tampon warning labels do instruct women not to use tampons for more than 8 hours without changing to a fresh tampon. Also, pads should be worn at night to prevent TSS.