Model Lauren Wasser lost one leg to toxic shock syndrome in 2012. Now, the 29-year-old star tells The Washington Postthat doctors will “inevitably” have to amputate her second leg due to the same condition.
Wasser shared that she’s currently in “excruciating pain” and is undergoing weekly treatments to help repair the damage she has on her foot. However, the condition is likely to take her second leg, as well.
As she told Style Like U in 2014, she was using tampons during her period and when she started to experience flu-like symptoms, she didn’t connect the dots back to toxic shock syndrome (TSS). But when she woke up one morning after collapsing and found police at her door, she knew something was wrong — her organs were failing.
“I had a 107°F fever; my kidneys were failing; I had a heart attack,” Wasser revealed. “Thank God there was an infectious disease doctor there [at the hospital] because as soon as they found me, I was plummeting so bad they couldn’t understand why a healthy, young 24-year-old like me was dying.”
At the hospital, she was put into a medically-induced coma, doctors found and removed the tampon, and she was given antibiotics to attempt to combat the spread of the TSS bacteria.
However, the bacteria spread to her legs, which led to gangrene, and doctors amputated only her right leg. Now, she reveals that doctors are looking to amputate her second leg in a matter of months.
“Toxic shock syndrome is a rare, life-threatening complication of certain types of bacterial infections,” the Mayo Clinic says. “Often toxic shock syndrome results from toxins produced by Staphylococcus aureus (staph) bacteria, but the condition may also be caused by toxins produced by group A streptococcus (strep) bacteria.”
The bacterial infection happens when super-absorbent tampons are left inserted for long periods of time, but the Mayo Clinic notes that since tampon manufacturing companies changed the composition of tampons in recent years, the risk and occurrence of TSS has dramatically declined.
You should see a doctor if you suspect you might have TSS, and symptoms often resemble those of the flu: high fever, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle aches and pains, confusion, redness of the eyes, mouth and throat, and headaches, but could also lead to seizures if not caught early.
One of the possible ways to increase your tampon safety is to purchase organic tampons, and overall, being more aware of what you place inside your body. Though TSS remains incredibly rare, paying closer attention to the chemicals that come in contact with our body is always a safe bet.