Model reveals how she lost her legs and almost died after using a tampon

A model has issued an urgent warning to people who use tampons after she almost died and lost both of her legs to Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) at age 24.

Lauren Wasser, was changing her tampons regularly but still contracted the syndrome that caused her body to start shutting down in hours.

Lauren from Los Angeles, who is now  36-year-old, dispelled the myth that TSS is caused by leaving tampons inside the urethra for more than eight hours and said the illness can happen even to those who use them correctly.

‘People think they’re invincible, no one is off-limits, TSS can happen to anyone at any time,’ she said speaking with Brittany Hockley and Laura Byrne on their podcast Life Uncut.

Lauren claimed many tampons on the market are ‘full of bleach dioxin, chlorine’ and the products marked as 100 per cent cotton are ‘still sprayed with pesticides’.

‘We’re putting that inside of us at such a delicate time and it creates a perfect storm. It takes one of those toxins to get inside your body and start acting like the flu and shutting down your organs, it’s lethal, it’s dangerous,’ she said.

‘It’s my goal and life mission to make sure that not only is this information out there but women have these conversations amongst each other, create the dialogue and check in with each other because knowledge is key.’


Lauren says she was changing her tampon regularly, every four hours, during one cycle in 2012 when she started to experience flu-like symptoms and a high fever.  

Her mother called in a welfare check after not hearing from her for a few hours but the policeman who checked in on her knew she was sick but didn’t think it was an emergency.


Lauren was later found face down in her apartment hours later only 10 minutes away from death.

She was rushed to hospital where she suffered two heart attacks and was put into a medically induced coma as her organs were failing.


‘They couldn’t figure out why this young, healthy 24-year-old girl was dying before them,’ she said.

An infectious disease doctor ordered staff to check if she had a tampon in and after a test was done, she was diagnosed with TSS.

Toxic Shock Syndrome is a rare and life-threatening bacterial infection. It is commonly misdiagnosed because the symptoms resemble other more common illnesses.

While her life was saved, the damage to Lauren’s limbs from gangrene was irreparable, and doctors needed to amputate her right leg below the knee as well as some toes and a portion of her heel on her left foot.

Women who have their period are most likely to get TSS, as it is thought to be associated with tampon use.


Lauren says she wants women and people who menstruate to have the right to choose and be fully informed about whatever period products they want to use.

‘I’m not here to say what anyone should do but I will say I’ve heard of women getting TSS from (menstrual cups) and everything,’ she said.

‘There’s nothing on the market that’s safe 100 per cent and that’s what I fight for.’

She said it’s a ‘misconception’ that TSS only occurs when someone has had a tampon in for more than eight hours which she said tampon brands disclose on the packet to safeguard users from sleeping with one inside their urethra.

‘They’re vague on the label. Thousands of women have died from using tampons correctly,’ she said.

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