Toxic shock syndrome is a serious disease that involves fever, shock, and problems with several body organs.
Staphylococcal toxic shock syndrome
Toxic shock syndrome is caused by a toxin produced by some types of Staphylococcus bacteria. A similar problem, called toxic shock-like syndrome (TSLS), can be caused by Streptococcal bacteria. Not all staph or strep infections cause toxic shock syndrome.
The earliest cases of toxic shock syndrome involved women who used tampons during their periods (menstruation). However, today less than half of cases are linked to tampon use. Toxic shock syndrome can also occur with skin infections, burns, and after surgery. The condition can also affect children, postmenopausal women, and men.
Risk factors include:
Infection with Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus), commonly called a Staph infection
Foreign bodies or packings (such as those used to stop nosebleeds) inside the body
Tampon use (particularly if you leave one in for a long time)
Cynthia D. White, MD, Fellow American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Group Health Cooperative, Bellevue, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.