A story recently went viral about a 20-year-old college student who left her tampon in for a shocking nine days. What is not shocking about this to me, is that she wound up in the hospital with — you guessed it! — toxic shock syndrome.
While the benefits of only putting organic cotton tampons inside of our beautiful bodies are clear, EVERY menstruating girl, woman, or trans man should know right at the moment puberty hits and Aunt Flo crashes our party totally unannounced that leaving a tampon in longer than the recommended time can have potentially deadly results.
Emily Pankhurst is the woman whose story went viral, when she nearly died after forgetting to remove her tampon for nearly a week and a half. Now, we can’t be too cross with her, since she was in the middle of studying for exams. Life gets the best of us far too frequently. Some days or weeks are so stressful, it’s as if we aren’t even living and, instead, are just going through the motions in order to desperately meet deadlines.
I have certainly forgotten to eat meals or drink water during high-stress times in my life. It happens. However, when we aren’t properly monitoring our health (and I have written plenty on how to do so without skipping a beat, so no more excuses for any of us), we end up with these problems that are 100% avoidable.
Pankhurst had initially thought of all the pain and discomfort she was experiencing was simply due to stress from her exams. When she finally remembered she had a tampon in her body nine days after inserting it, the young woman removed the tampon and found it was pure black and obviously coated in bacteria.
Within a few hours, she felt faint and was slurring her words. She was taken to a nearby hospital, admitted into intensive care, and treated — but she is damn lucky to be alive.
Yes, TSS is very rare. Only three to four women out of 100,000 will develop TSS within the span of a year. But even though it’s rare, women are clearly still developing this blood disease, and we can only assume it’s due to lack of awareness.
CHANGE YOUR KALI TAMPONS REGULARLY, AS RECOMMENDED. SET REMINDERS FOR YOURSELF IF YOU HAVE TO.
Do not get so busy with your life that you neglect your body and health. I cannot keep stressing this enough, apparently, since even college-educated women are still getting affected. Mothers and fathers and caregivers, EDUCATE your young ones before handing them their first Kali Box (or any sort of tampon box, for this matter) about the dangers of leaving in a tampon for too long. It’s not always enough to rely on your child’s school’s health program (and that’s an entirely different battle, these days).
I just want you to be healthy and happy all the time, okay?