Lauren Wasser had it all at 24. Daughter of two models, tall, blond and with blue eyes, she received a basketball scholarship at a Division I school but decided to give up on it just to keep up with her rising modeling career. A very active young woman with a bright future, until this one tragic day.
On October 3, 2012 she felt a little off, with flu-like symptoms. Being on her period made her go to the store and buy the tampons she always used, from the Kotex Natural Balance tampons brand. After running the errand, Lauren went to a friend’s party, but she was feeling worse and worse so soon she went home and fell asleep.
When she was 13, her mother told her everything she needed to know about her period and the products she could use. She knew very well that she had to change her tampons every 3 or 4 hours so she followed this rule on that day too. So, before going to sleep she changed her tampon again and fell asleep immediately. She woke up the next day, when her mother, worried that Lauren isn’t answering her phone sent over a friend along with the police to check if everything was ok with her daughter. Nothing was ok.
She was rushed to the hospital with a 107 fever, just a few minutes away from death. Doctors concluded that her internal organs where shutting down and she had suffered a heart attack. They couldn’t stabilize her so they called for an infectious disease specialist, who immediately asked, “Does she have a tampon in?”. Lauren was having Toxic Shock Syndrome.
TSS, which got its name in 1978, is basically a complication of bacterial infections, frequently involving staph bacteria (or Staphylococcus aureus). TSS is not exclusively contracted by women, but the dark, moist and warm enviroment of the vagina provides the perfect ambient for the infection to develop. The plastic of the tampons makes TSS appear even faster than you might think.
Struggling to keep her alive, draining the toxins out of her blood, doctors had to amputate her leg in order to stop the infection that has turned into a gangren.
It took Lauren a long time to even realize that she has lost a leg and even more to get out of the depression that followed her surgery. Still having her own battles with this even after 3 years, Lauren keeps a positive attitude on life.
I knew tampons can cause TSS, but I always thought “If I follow the rules, it wont happen to me”. After reading about Lauren’s case, I immediately looked up alternatives for tampons, looking for something natural and risk free.