Letter Re: Remembering Dear Aunt Flow

Dear Editor,
I really do appreciate Kali for bring up our Dear Aunt Flow because is something I don’t think a lot of women have thought about. I did want to bring up a concern I have about using tampons and menstrual cups that I don’t think has been brought up yet which is the risk of toxic shock syndrome. From what I remember learning in nursing school it’s basically when bacteria gets introduced into a dark moist place in the body is allowed to grow and gets into the bloodstream  through thin skin and becomes life threatening. I’ve heard of this happening not only with women using tampons that are too big for them but also with individuals who used a tampon to stop a nose bleed. Our OB instructor told us a few things to do to avoid toxic shock are to make sure to change tampons at least every 4 hours, don’t sleep with them in, wash hands before putting them in and just avoid the super-absorbent varieties all together. I have personally know one woman who experienced toxic shock, it almost killed her and did enough internal damage to leave her with fertility problems years later. I personally wouldn’t want to take the risk in a grid down situation. Even though toxic shock is rare it can require a lot medical interventions which probably won’t be available in such a situation. Just as a side note, I am not an OB nurse nor do I have expertise in that area of medicine, I just vividly remember that class discussion from nursing school and thought I would share what I remembered. See the Mayo Clinic’s web site more information on the subject. – Marie