A model who lost her leg to toxic shock syndrome (TSS) has revealed that she is going to lose her other and is now speaking out to warn others of the dangers of the infection.
Lauren Wasser, 29, contracted TSS in 2012 after using a super-plus tampon while on her period.
She said she had been regularly changing her tampon when she started getting symptoms of the infection.
The symptoms developed and eventually led to her suffering a massive heart attack and being placed on life support.
Gangrene began to take over both of her legs and she was forced to undergo a below-the-knee amputation of her right leg and toe amputations on her left foot.
Now the model fears she will ‘inevitably’ lose her other leg as her left foot has an open ulcer, no heel and no toes.
Writing in a piece for InStyle, Lauren said: ‘I’m in daily excruciating pain. In a few months, I’m inevitably going to have my other leg amputated.
‘There’s nothing I can do about it. But what I can do is help make sure that this doesn’t happen to others.’
Because of the calcium her body is producing, the bones on her foot have started growing, which has left her unable to walk because of the pain.
She can’t wet her foot either due to the open ulcer.
Lauren’s symptoms started after she used a tampon when she was 24.
She was found unconscious on her bedroom floor covered in her faeces and vomit after her mother called police to check up on her when she hadn’t heard from her for a while.
What is Toxic Shock Syndrome?
- Toxic shock syndrome is a rare but life-threatening condition caused by bacteria getting into the body and releasing harmful toxins.
- Each year toxic shock syndrome affects about one in 100,000 women.
- It occurs when bacteria, which live on the skin, invade the bloodstream and produce dangerous toxins.
- Symptoms usually begin with a sudden high fever, with a temperature above 38.9C/102F.
- These can develop to:
- flu-like symptoms, such as a headache, chills, muscle aches, a sore throat and a cough
- feeling and being sick
- a widespread sunburn-like rash
- the whites of the eyes, lips and tongue turning a bright red
- dizziness or fainting
- breathing difficulties
- Women are most at risk of getting TSS during their period, particularly if they are using tampons.
When she was taken to hospital, her fever reached 41.6C, she suffered a heart attack and her organs began to fail.
She was checked to see if she had a tampon in and following tests, she was diagnosed with TSS.
But by then, her body was was already taken over by gangrene and doctors were forced to amputate.
The model, who now uses a gold prosthetic leg, is trying to push legislation urging the National Institutes of Health to help test feminine hygiene products to determine they are safe.
Lauren is advocating for the Robin Danielson Act, named after a woman who died from TSS in 1988, which requires feminine hygiene product companies to state exactly what is in their products and the long-term health effects of using it.
Unfortunately, the bill has been rejected 10 times.
This has not stopped her though – if anything it has encouraged her to speak more about the condition to warn other women in a similar situation.
And her condition hasn’t stopped her modelling career either – she has managed to land jobs modelling Nordstrom’s holiday shoe collection and Kenneth Cole’s Courageous Class campaign.
You go girl.
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