Toxic Shock Syndrome - Causes

The Staphylococcus bacterium that causes toxic shock syndrome is found in the nose and mouth and, less often, the vagina. The bacterium releases a toxin (poison) that can get into the bloodstream. The toxin can cause an infection that is potentially fatal.

Researchers are still not certain as to how tampons promote the growth of Staphylococcus bacteria. One theory is that the tampons trap oxygen, which bacteria need to survive. Oxygen normally is not present in the vagina in large amounts. Another theory is that tampons provide a warm, moist environment that encourages the growth of bacteria. Yet another theory places the blame for TSS on the material of which the tampons were made. This theory suggests that the material irritated the vaginal lining. Sores on the vagina may have made it easier for bacterial toxins to get into the bloodstream.

A sudden drop in blood supply and oxygen provided to the body's tissues.
Staphylococcus :
A class of bacteria found on human skin and mucous membranes that can cause a variety of infectious diseases.
Streptococcus :
A class of bacteria that causes a wide variety of infections.
A cloth pad worn in the vagina to absorb fluids released during menstruation.

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