Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

Tampom

Tampom
beginning of content

Toxic shock syndrome

Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is a rare complication of infection from bacteria. It is often caused by the staphylococcus aureus (staph) bacteria. The bacteria release toxins into the bloodstream which cause symptoms of shock. The toxins can also damage organs and body tissue, which can cause death if left untreated.

TSS can affect anyone. It is more common among women when they are menstruating, but there is no evidence that tampons cause TSS. It is caused by bacteria.

There are several ways you can help lower your chance of developing TSS, these include:

  • washing your hands before and after inserting a tampon
  • using low absorbency tampons if possible
  • alternating tampons with sanitary towels every so often during your period
  • changing the tampons as often as advised on the pack
  • never inserting more than one tampon
  • making sure you remove the last tampon at the end of your period
  • inserting a fresh tampon when going to bed and removing it when waking.

Recognising the signs

TSS can cause a number of symptoms, these include:

TSS is treated, in a hospital, using antibiotics and providing support to the other functions of the body that have been affected. Treatment is normally successful if TSS is detected early on.

If you have any of these symptoms you should contact your doctor or call healthdirect on 1800 022 222 for further advice.

Not sure what to do next?

If you are still concerned about toxic shock syndrome, why not use healthdirect's online Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.

The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether it’s self care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero (000).

Last reviewed: August 2017

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Found 3 results

Toxic shock syndrome - myDr.com.au

Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is a rare but serious illness caused by some types of the bacterium Staphylococcus and often associated with tampon use.

Read more on myDr website

Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) - including symptoms, treatment and prevention :: SA Health

Healthy living is the key to a healthy, happier, longer life. Get fit, lose weight, feel great! See our tips for better health, wellbeing and healthy lifestyles.Close

Read more on SA Health website

Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) - Better Health Channel

If you think you could have toxic shock syndrome, stop using tampons immediately and go to the emergency department of your nearest hospital.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice and information you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo
Feedback