Mother of 3 almost killed by a tampon

Call me old fashioned, but I refuse to wear tampons. Sorry, but I just don't feel comfortable shoving something up "there" in efforts to absorb my period blood. Plus, I'll admit I'm horrified at the thought of possibly developing Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). No girl, it's not a myth. TSS can happen to anyone. It recently happened to one mother of three and the poor woman fell into a coma!

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Joanna Cartwright did the same thing she did every month whenever she had her period. She wore tampons, only this time she developed toxic shock syndrome. Don't know what that is? It's a rare, but life-threatening condition that is released by poisonous substances that come from an overgrowth of a bacteria known as Staphylococcus aureus, which is found in most women's bodies. You can develop this from tampon use because if the tampon makes small microscopic tears in your vagina's walls, bacterial poisons can enter the bloodstream. Symptoms usually involve fever, vomiting, nausea, hallucinating and organ function problems.

In Cartwrights' case, she thought she was developing a flu but three days later she slipped into a coma. Her body had gone into such a serious state of shock that her internal organs were no longer functioning. She had eight layers of skin peeled off and fifty percent of her hair and nails fell off too. Fortunately, Cartwright was able to come out of the coma and is currently alive but the poor thing doesn't even recognize her own kids. She's even re-learning how to walk.

'When I woke up from coma I didn't know what was going on, I couldn't remember anything," she told Mail Online. "Someone had put pictures up of my children but I didn't know who they were ... I just couldn't believe it--I hadn't done anything different from what I usually do every other month." How devastating is this?

I'm always shocked at the amount of women I meet that have NO idea what TSS is? Before you put on another tampon, here are 5 things you need to know about toxic shock syndrome!

It's caused by bacteria entering the bloodstream: Toxic shock syndrome is basically a result of toxins produced by the Staphylococcus aureus. Doctors believe that this is caused by a tampon either being left in place for too long or from tampon fibers scratching the inside walls of the vagina, creating small tears that allow bacteria to enter your bloodstream.

It's rare but fatal: Your chances of developing TSS are rare but if you do it can become fatal.

Tampons are mainly what causes it: Research shows that you can't get TSS from feminine products or deodorants, douches, underwear or sex--just tampons!

The symptoms are awful: The symptoms for toxic shock syndrome vary from person to person but the common ones consist of a sudden fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, low blood pressure, headaches, muscles aches, hallucinations, seizures and soring. If not treated on time you can fall into a coma or worse--die!

Image via Corbis Images

Topics: period