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If you’re a female on this planet between the ages of 12-55, the chances are fairly good that at some point in your life, you’ve used—or will use—a tampon. Aside from a pad (or menstrual cups, which have been around since the ’80s), they’re the easiest way to absorb that pesky monthly flow that we all like to ignore but are forced to deal with every few weeks.

Thanks to those little leaflets that come in a box of tampons (which we read once upon a time back when we first had a visit from Aunt Flo), most of us also know that it can be dangerous to leave one in overnight. Chances are most of us haven’t heard much more than that when it comes to tampon safety and toxic shock syndrome.

Until now, that is. Because when a 24-year-old model from Santa Monica loses her leg (and very nearly her life) as a result of tampons, people stand up and take notice.

It’s 2:30am and for the first time in a long time I can be open about the last two years of my life. People have been asking me why I wasn’t shooting and posting like I used to or why I was letting my numbers die out…well this was why…none of that seemed to matter when I met real life, real issues. I took time off to help her heal and to try my damnedest to inspire a wounded angel. This girl is one of the strongest people I’ve ever met and I’m grateful to know her. @Theimpossiblemuse aka Lauren Wasser you are a force to be reckoned with and I’m so very proud of you! We’ve come such a long way! ❤️🙌🏼 // p.s. This is a very important message that all women need to read but even men as well, as I’m sure they have women in their lives they want to protect. 💯 To read her story please check my bio for the link.❤️

A photo posted by Camraface 🐝+ (@fotofetish) on

Lauren Wasser was the epitome of health on the surface. She had turned down a basketball scholarship, biked 30 miles a day and had a plethora of friends. She also happened to use tampons during her cycle, which she changed several times a day. So when she became ill with flu-like symptoms and passed out for days in her apartment—prompting her mother to call the police—she had no idea that a tampon was the cause.

Toxic shock syndrome, in basic terms, is a bacterial infection that can become either a staph infection or strep. The synthetic fibres (rayon and plastic) used by most tampon manufacturers have the potential to create a bacterial breeding ground. In Wasser’s case, a staph infection turned to gangrene and she nearly lost her life.

It definitely makes you think twice about changing your tampon, at any rate. If you’re a tampon user and you experience any of the following symptoms, be sure to call or visit your doctor immediately:

  • A sudden high fever
  • Low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • A rash resembling a sunburn, particularly on your palms and soles
  • Confusion
  • Muscle aches
  • Redness of your eyes, mouth and throat
  • Seizures
  • Headaches

As for Wasser? She tells Vice that she’s done with tampons for good.

“You know cigarettes can kill you, so when you use them, it’s your choice,” she says in an interview. “Had I known all the info about TSS, I would never have used tampons.”

This is kind of amazing…(to me anyway) but I’m sitting here trying to figure out what to post and how to say thank you to all the people who have and are now supporting us…when I realized this fool stole my shorts and has been wearing them since!! 😂 But for real the great part of all this tho (even tho she won’t give them back!) is that when Lauren & I first started to hang out she was in full sweats and even kept her hoodie up in the heat to hide. This life was all new to her and she wasn’t at all ok with herself. It took SO much to get her to this place of freedom..to SHORTS! 😳It’s truly unreal how far she’s come. 😳❤️🙌🏼 No matter what life hands you there’s always a transition that has to take place in order to get to the other side and I’m happy to say she’s made great progress. There will still be pain and hard days but at least the woman won’t be dying of heat anymore. Haha 😉 but for real…THANK YOU we are very grateful for the kind words and support. 💯

A photo posted by Camraface 🐝+ (@fotofetish) on