A mother of one shared how she nearly died of toxic shock syndrome after forgetting a tampon for five days.
Amy Williams, 24, from Basildon, Essex, was hospitalized and was fighting for her life when she accidentally dropped the hygiene product, causing it to turn black and smell.
Toxic Shock Syndrome can cause the body to experience septic shock, a severe case of sepsis that can lead to multiple organ failure and ultimately death if left untreated.
The personal assistant is now speaking out to draw attention to the rare, life-threatening condition in the hope that other women will not experience the same trauma.
Amy Williams, 24, from Basildon, Essex, was hospitalized and was fighting for her life when she accidentally dropped the hygiene product, causing it to turn black and smell
Toxic shock syndrome can cause the body to experience septic shock, a severe case of sepsis that can lead to multiple organ failure and ultimately death if left untreated. Pictured: Amy fights for her life during her week in the hospital
Amy, who works for the chairman of Basildon Council, says, “I heard about Toxic Shock Syndrome but didn't think it would ever happen to me.
“I've used tampons for 10 years, but now I'll never use one again. I would like to warn women and young girls to be extra careful with them. & # 39;
In June 2019, Amy was out with her boyfriend Samuel Mullen, 30, an IT account manager, when she went to the bathroom to change her tampon.
When she couldn't find the string or feel the tampon, she thought she didn't have one, so she used a different one.
The personal assistant is now speaking out to draw attention to the rare, life-threatening condition in the hope that other women will not experience the same trauma. Pictured with her friend Samuel Mullen and their son Archie
She says, "I was really drunk at the time and couldn't remember if I already had one. Besides, I couldn't find it."
After that, Amy changed her tampons if necessary.
But five days later she noticed a pungent smell downstairs.
She says, “It smelled like death and it wasn't normal. So I went to the shower to wash myself, but the smell was still there after I got out and dried myself.
I lay down on the bed and checked myself out. I felt something with my fingernail and realized that there was a tampon inside of me. I was ashamed. & # 39;
In June 2019, Amy was with her boyfriend Samuel (pictured right) one night (pictured left) when she went to the bathroom to change her tampon
Amy (pictured with boyfriend Samuel) admitted she was really drunk and couldn't feel the tampon inside, so she pocketed another one – meaning the first one went undetected for five days
The tampon had turned on its side and it took Amy half an hour to remove it – almost passed out in pain.
She says, “When it came out, I felt an overwhelming onslaught, as if I was going to pass out. The tampon was black. It was disgusting. & # 39;
After that, Amy suffered from painful cramps in her lower abdomen.
Two days later, while at work, Amy became sick and a colleague said she looked like she was at death's door.
She was taken to A&E at Basildon University Hospital and was at a dangerous temperature of 40 degrees.
When she arrived, she began to vomit.
Amy was rushed to A&E at Basildon University Hospital (pictured there during recovery) and her temperature was a dangerous 40 degrees. Upon arrival, she began to vomit – and her organs began to fail
Amy recalls, “They took me to a ward and put me on a drop of antibiotics while they were doing blood tests.
“I told the staff I had been in a tampon for five days and they looked concerned. I was then informed that my CPR was 264, the normal amount was five. & # 39;
By this point, Amy's organs had started to fail and she was in septic shock. Shortly thereafter, she was diagnosed with toxic shock syndrome.
She says, “The doctor said to me that if I had gone home that day, I would not have woken up. I was shocked.
I cried to the nurse and asked her if I would ever see my three year old son Archie again. She has assured me that I am in good hands. & # 39;
Since then, Amy has experienced heavy and irregular periods, and has even been warned that it could affect her chances of conceiving. Fortunately, she is expecting her second child a year later. She says, "I couldn't believe a tampon almost killed me."
Over the next four days, Amy slipped into and out of consciousness while her body was pumped full of antibiotics to fight the blood poisoning.
Fortunately, she was discharged after almost a week in the hospital. But she was still monitored at home and given antibiotics for 10 days.
Since then, Amy has experienced heavy and irregular periods, and has even been warned that it could affect her chances of conceiving.
Fortunately, she is expecting her second child a year later. She says, “I couldn't believe a tampon almost killed me.
“I will never use one again and now I will only use sanitary napkins. Please be careful when using tampons. It almost cost me my life. & # 39;
What is Toxic Shock Syndrome?
Toxic Shock Syndrome is a highly dangerous bacterial infection – however, it can be misdiagnosed because the symptoms are similar to other diseases and because it is so rare.
It occurs when normally harmless Staphylococcus aureus or Streptococcus bacteria that live on the skin enter the bloodstream and release dangerous toxins.
The prevalence of TSS is unclear, but doctors have claimed it affects about one or two in 100,000 women.
The death rate is between five and 15 percent. And occurs again in 30 to 40 percent of the cases.
Symptoms usually start with a sudden high fever – a temperature above 38.9 ° C.
Within a few hours, a person will develop flu-like symptoms such as headaches, muscle aches, sore throats and coughs.
Nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, fainting, dizziness, and confusion are also symptoms.
Women are most at risk of developing toxic shock syndrome during menstruation, especially if they use tampons, have recently given birth, or are using an internal barrier contraceptive such as a diaphragm.
While tampon boxes recommend changing them between four and eight hours, women often forget about them and leave them overnight.
Treatment may include antibiotics to fight the infection, oxygen to help you breathe, fluids to prevent dehydration and organ damage, and drugs to control blood pressure.
Dialysis may also be needed if the kidneys stop working.
In severe cases, surgery may be needed to remove dead tissue. In rare cases, it may be necessary to amputate the affected area.
To prevent TSS, women should use tampons with the lowest absorbency for their flow, switch between a tampon and a sanitary napkin, and wash their hands before and after insertion.
Tampons should also be changed regularly, as indicated on the packaging – usually every four to eight hours.
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