I was rushed to hospital with no pulse, blind & dying – a TAMPON caused toxic shock syndrome, we thought it was the flu
A WOMAN told how she nearly died after developing toxic shock syndrome caused by a super absorbent tampon when she was just 16 years old.
Becca Bedford, now 21, from California, told Fabulous how she contracted the illness which causes a bacteria to enter your bloodstream despite changing the tampon every two hours.
She was at school when she initially fell sick, calling her mum to take her home.
"I had a stomach ache and nausea," she said. "It was a no big deal so I went to school."
But at school Becca, from California, started feeling worse before throwing up – something she never normally does. "I went to the bathroom.
"I threw up in the bathroom and that's when I knew it was a big deal," she said. "I requested to leave school and my aunt came to pick me up."
Over the next few hours her condition rapidly worsened and she went straight to bed – where she got sicker and sicker.
But at this stage, on Friday, she didn't know what was causing it. "I went downhill so fast. "I was shivering, I was so cold, I needed three blankets on me to stay warm," she explained.
She told how her mum intially she was faking it before realising she was really sick.
Meanwhile, Becca thought she had the flu.
"That whole night was horrible," she said. "Same thing, throwing up, diarrhoea.
"On Saturday morning the body aches set in. I had to crawl to the bathroom. I didn't even want to turn sides because my body hurt so much.
"That was the routine throughout Saturday."
Her family were keen for her to go to hospital, but she was reluctant to as she hates needles.
What is toxic shock syndrome?
TSS is caused by either staphylococcus or streptococcus bacteria.
These bacteria normally live harmlessly on the skin, nose or mouth, but if they get deeper into the body they can release toxins that damage tissue and stop organs working.
The following can increase your risk of developing TSS:
- using tampons – particularly if you leave them in for longer than recommended or you use "super-absorbent" tampons
- using female barrier contraceptives
- a break in your skin, such as a cut or burn
- using nasal packing to treat a bleed
- having a staphylococcal infection or streptococcal infection, such as impetigo or cellulitis
Over the course of the weekend her condition worsened. On Sunday night she was forced by her family to go to hospital – but she was too weak to even walk so her sister's boyfriend had to carry her to the car.
"I couldn't even walk," she admitted. "It was super bright. I couldn't handle the brightness. Once I couldn't see anything I freaked out, I thought I was dying."
She was taken to urgent care but once there doctors told her she was way too sick and needed to be in an emergency room.
Recounting the drama, Becca said: "I couldn't even sit in a chair. "Even lying in bed was horrible."
Passing out in urgent care, she was taken into an ambulance. But as she came round something more dramatic happened…
"They couldn't find my pulse," she said. "They couldn't find it. It was then found but it was super, super light."
At the hospital she hooked up to wires and a PIIC line which fed fluids into her as she was so dehydrated.
Asked "loads of questions"one included, "are you on your period?"
It was a relief they asked it because it emerged she was – and doctors worked out she had toxic shock syndrome.
"They took the tampon out then and there," said Becca. "It was hella awkward. There were loads of people there."
She was taken to the Children's Hospital in Oakland, California. "It was so urgent but I don't remember much – I was so heavily medicated," she said.
For the next week she was in intenstive care which she doesn't really remember.
"I went into septic shock," she said. "My liver and kidney took a really big hit.My blood pressure was really low."
Afterwards she required oxygen and developed a rash from the illness, but has thankfully now recovered and wants to share her story so people know the dangers of wearing tampons.
"Doctors worked out the toxic shock infection, which caused septic shock, did come from a tampon.
"Normally people think you have to leave them in too long but I was changing my tampon every hour as I didn't want to bleed through my pants.
"It scraped through my vaginal walls and this caused bacteria to get in. I'm just happy to share my story."
Meanwhile, read Aimee's miraculous story after she was nearly killed by a tampon and even saw dead relatives as she lay in intensive care.
Also, a teenager almost died after suffering from toxic shock syndrome and she talks about her symptoms here.
Plus, model Lauren Wasser suffered TSS in 2012 – she bravely told of her battle with the illness.
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