CausesBy Mayo Clinic staff
Toxic shock syndrome can happen to anyone. About half the cases of toxic shock syndrome occur in people who aren't menstruating, including older women, men and children.
Toxic shock syndrome has been associated with:
- Using superabsorbent tampons
- Wearing a diaphragm or contraceptive sponge
- Having a staph or strep infection, especially if you have skin wounds or healing surgical incisions
Researchers don't know exactly how tampons may cause toxic shock syndrome. Some believe that when superabsorbent tampons are left in place for a long time, the tampons become a breeding ground for bacteria. Others have suggested that the superabsorbent fibers in the tampons can scratch the surface of the vagina, making it possible for bacteria or their toxins to enter the bloodstream.
- Cosgrove SE. Staphylococcal toxic shock syndrome. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed April 7, 2011.
- Eschenbach DA. Pelvic and sexually transmitted infections. In: Gibbs RS, et al. Danforth's Obstetrics and Gynecology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Wolters Kluwer Health Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2008. http://www.danforthsobgyn.com. Accessed April 11, 2011.
- Que Y, et al. Staphylococcus aureus (including staphylococcal toxic shock). In: Mandell JE, et al. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-443-06839-3..X0001-X--TOP&isbn=978-0-443-06839-3&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed April 11, 2011.
- Eckert LO, et al. Infections of the lower genital tract: Vulva, vagina, cervix, toxic shock syndrome, HIV infections. In: Katz VL, et al. Comprehensive Gynecology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2007. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/208746819-4/0/1524/0.html. Accessed April 11, 2011.
- Menstruation and the menstrual cycle. The National Women's Health Information Center. http://www.womenshealth.gov/faq/menstruation.cfm. Accessed April 11, 2011.