They can contain toxins and cause TSS. At least, that’s what rumours say. Are tampons really that dangerous or do people make a big fuss about nothing? Period investigates the matter, based on a Patient Alert of the American Food and Drug Association (FDA), the organisation that’s responsible for protecting and promoting public health.
The allegation: tampons with rayon cause TSS Rayon fibres in tampons would cause TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome, a rare but potentially lethal disease).
The FDA says: rayon fibres don’t increase the risk of TSS ‘TSS cases have decreased significantly in recent years and the disease also occurs in non-tampon users. Although scientists have recognised an association between TSS and tampon use, the exact connection remains unclear. A few specific tampon designs and high absorbency tampon materials were found to have some association with increased risk of TSS. These products and materials are no longer used. Tampons made with rayon do not appear to have a higher risk of TSS than cotton tampons of similar absorbency.’
Period! adds: too much absorbency isn’t a good thing Yes, the exact connection between rayon fibres and TSS should be investigated further. But: super absorbing tampons came to the market in 1979. One year later, in 1980, there was an increase in TSS cases. Logical conclusion: super absorbency isn’t a good thing. Very absorbent tampons are often being kept in the vagina for too long, which increases the risk of bacterial growth and TSS. That’s why you should use tampons with the lowest absorbency for your flow and change them regularly. A box of tampons always comes with an information leaflet about TSS: make sure to read this info!