Toxic Shock Syndrome tampon warning after student is hospitalised

Emily Pankhurst is still struggling to walk

Caroline Mortimer
Thursday 25 February 2016 12:07 GMT
Emily Pankhurst was rushed to hospital after leaving a tampon in for nine days
Emily Pankhurst was rushed to hospital after leaving a tampon in for nine days

A student has spoken out about the dangers of Toxic Shock Syndrome after she forgot to remove her tampon for nine days.

Emily Pankhurst, 20, says she initially blamed exam stress when she started to feel weak and bloated.

She then began to feel faint, started to slur her words and her skin became mottled.

When admitted to intensive care doctors said she was suffering from sepsis (blood poisoning) as a result of Toxic Shock Syndrome - an infection caused by bacteria forming on the tampon.

Doctors managed to save her life using antibiotics but Ms Pankhurst is still unable to walk long distances.

The third-year criminology student said she had inserted the tampon during her period last month but due to stress had forgotten to remove it and insert another one.

Dangerous bacteria can collect on tampons if they are left inside the human body for too long

After a few days she began to suffer bloody discharge and went to the doctor who could not find anything wrong with her.

She told the Daily Mirror: “I was feeling really ill by that stage. I was hot and dizzy and felt really strange.

“I was bleeding more and my mum suggested I feel about and see if there was anything there.”

She said she then discovered the tampon was still inside her. When she pulled it out she said it was “pure black” and “obviously coated in bacteria”.

The condition is believed to be caused when certain types of bacteria - which are normally found on the skin - get into the body through a wound, burn or through the vagina or throat, according to NHS England.

If not treated in time it can lead to limb amputations and even prove fatal.

Emily Pankhurst says women her age knew little about the dangers of TSS

Ms Pankhurst says women her age are “not aware of the dangers of using tampons”.

She said: “It is so important to keep an eye on your health, especially during stressful life experiences.

“I hope my story can help others like myself to take care of your health and not take your life for granted because you never know what might be around the corner.”

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in