Model Files Lawsuit Claiming a Tampon Left Her Disabled

We've all heard about Toxic Shock Syndrome, but for the most part, it feels like a pretty distant threat. Or it did, anyways, until model Lauren Wasser started telling her story about TSS, and how it took her leg and almost her life.


Back in 2012 when she was 25, Lauren got TSS one night after changing her tampon pretty regularly throughout the day. She said she went to bed that night feeling a little unwell, but was rushed to the hospital that night with a 107-degree fever and not that far from death.

Oh God, oh God. Okay. Deep breath -- there's more.

At the hospital, doctors found gangrene and other health complications, which caused really severe damage to her left foot and enough complications in her right leg that they ended up amputating below the knee. Because of a tampon.

Lauren is suing Kotex now because she said she complied with their recommendations and still ended up with a life-long disability. But tampon companies are pretty careful to cover their bases with all the legally-required information that goes in the packaging, so it's a bit of a toss up on who will win the lawsuit.

More from The StirTalking About Tampons With Your Daughter: What You Need to Know (VIDEO)

When you use tampons regularly, you get so used to them that it's easy to forget how dangerous they really are. Here's some stuff to remember (we've got both good news and bad news):

  • Fewer than 50 percent of TSS cases are related to tampon use -- you (and children and men) can also get it from recent childbirth, recent surgery, or any kind of wound infection.
  • That said, 50 percent of TSS cases are fatal.
  • Symptoms include confusion, diarrhea, general ill-feeling, headaches, high fever (sometimes with chills), low blood pressure, muscle aches, nausea and vomiting, organ failure, redness of eyes and mouth, seizures, and sometimes a widespread red rash that looks like a sunburn (usually on the palms or feet). Got all that? 
  • Usually these symptoms will start two or three days before things get really serious, but if you think you've got it, take out your tampon immediately and go see a doctor (TSS is classified as a medical emergency).
  • It's actually more common in younger women -- girls aged 15 to 19 are at the highest risk for TSS, and once you pass 30 your risk drops even more.
  • To reduce your risk of getting TSS, change your tampon every 4 to 8 hours.
  • Also, high-absorbency tampons can be more dangerous than low-absorbency ones, so your best prevention (aside from not using tampons at all) is to use the lowest absorbency or size that meets your needs.

Lauren was a model and and athlete, so she was totally healthy when this happened -- it's terrifying how quickly it happens and how dangerous it is. Know your facts! And to any scientists out there, please invent a cheap and safe alternative to tampons already! Thanks!

Do you know anyone who's had TSS?


Image via loverunswild/Instagram

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