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How Using A Tampon Made a Model Lose Both of Her Legs

Updated: Jun 24, 2019

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by Kiah Smith on June 19

What happens when one day you’re perfectly healthy and able to freely walk around in the world, but the next you’re near death and no longer have the ability to use both of your legs? Model, Lauren Wasser, lived this very nightmare in October of 2012 at the young age of 24. In her self-written article for InStyle, Lauren describes the details of the events that led up to her TSS diagnosis. TSS, or Toxic Shock Syndrome, is a potentially fatal complication of certain types of bacterial infections. Since the vagina is the most absorbent part of a woman’s body, using a tampon can bring with it chemicals and toxins. Unfortunately, this diagnosis completely changed Lauren’s life.

On the morning of October 3, 2012, Lauren woke up and felt a little under the weather, but attributed it to the beginning of flu season. As normal, her period came for the month and Lauren, a Tampon user, made sure she went to the store to get more. As the day went on, her symptoms were not subsiding and she began to feel worse as the state of her health was steadily declining. After her mother had not heard from her, a welfare check took place and police officers found Lauren face down on her apartment floor. She was unresponsive and had a fever of 108 degrees.

Lauren was rushed to the hospital. Upon arrival, doctors removed the tampon she had in and sent it to the lab for testing where it came back with positive signs of TSS-1. She was placed into a medically induced coma and later woke up a week and a half later. Though Lauren could not recall the details from the moment she fell unresponsive in her apartment, she very quickly realized, after waking up, that her life had been terribly altered.

Gangrene developed in her right leg and while she fought to keep it, the doctors eventually had to amputate it along with her toes on her left foot. After continuously dealing with excruciating pain, her left leg was amputated five years later. While Lauren’s life will never be the same, with her strength and tenacity, she has made a positive out of something negative by bringing awareness to TSS to young girls and women. Educating them on the risks that come along with using tampons has become something she is very passionate about.

Lauren’s story of overcoming such a terrifying experience is undoubtedly inspiring, however it should also push us to be more alert and aware of the things we’re putting into our bodies. Women ranging from 15-25 years-old who use tampons, especially “super absorbent” tampons, have a higher risk of developing TSS. Tampon usage has been implicated in 55% of cases of TSS, that’s over half of cases! These are the things that should be taken into consideration when making the decision to use tampons.

Let Lauren’s story be the push and reminder you need to “always protect your jewel.”

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402 views2 comments


Oct 09, 2020

This is the research and evidenced based practice information required to educate all people from every walk of life in sharing the importance in the concept of reproductive health. Great information.


Herman Byrd
Jul 26, 2019

Spread the word...JUSTICE FOR MY JEWEL....

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