In France, 8 out of 10 menstruating men wear tampons during their rules. Yet few are aware of the risks when misused, and have never heard of the toxic shock syndrome. This is why the National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm) published a video, “Toxic buffers and shocks: what are the risks”, to inform as much as possible about the risks and prevention of SCT.
What is toxic shock syndrome?
Inserm begins by recalling what toxic shock syndrome is. It is linked to the presence of bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus (better known as Staphylococcus aureus), which occurs naturally in the vaginal microbiota of some women, non-binary people and men trans. When internal hygienic protection, such as a tampon or menstrual cup, is used during menstruation, blood stagnates in the vagina. If the device is used for too long without being changed or washed, then this provides a suitable environment for the bacteria to grow.
This can then lead to toxic shock syndrome. The symptoms of this infection are manifold, ranging from digestive disorders to a strong fever, going through abnormal rashes and a drop in blood pressure. In the most severe cases, this can lead to failures on several organs, and lead to amputation, or even death.
What are the best practices to avoid TBS when wearing a tampon?
For Inserm researchers, the best way to prevent SCT is toinform menstruating men about good practices when wearing a tampon. The video has a double objective: “educate and reassure women affected by the wearing of tampons”.
The first rule stated to avoid toxic shock syndrome is to do not keep the same tampon for more than 6 hours, so do not sleep with it, even if the package leaflet indicates that it is possible. Read the explanatory note is also part of Inserm’s recommendations. It is important to remember wash your hands before and after each manipulation of the periodic protection. Finally, the video recommends “don’t hesitate to talk about it with your loved ones, and especially with a health specialist”.