Love Island star says she could have died after leaving a tampon inside her for three months
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While appearing on ITV’s Shopping With Keith Lemon to raise awareness for Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS), the reality star recalled how she almost died from the experience.
Higgins said she forgot to take out her tampon after it stuck to her cervix.
The situation became so dire that the social media star visited the emergency room after becoming increasingly sick.
She said: “When the doctor found it, it was stuck to my cervix. I was so ill.
“I did not know what was going on.”
TSS is a rare, life-threatening complication of certain types of bacterial infections.
Usually, the illness results from toxins produced by Staphylococcus aureus (Staph) bacteria; however, the condition is also caused by toxins created by group A Streptococcus (Strep) bacteria.
Higgins said it’s common for women to forget to remove their tampons; however, they might not often disclose it as there’s still a stigma around discussing menstruation.
She added: “There [are] people that have died from that happening.
“Young girls might not have noticed, like you go on a night out, what if you got really drunk and forgot, like, these things actually do happen, and people don’t speak about it.
"I remember even being in school, I used to get my tampon out of the bag, push it up my sleeve, and then go to the toilet like that.
“Thinking back, why was I doing that? It’s nothing to be ashamed about, that’s why I think it’s an important topic, isn’t it?”
According to the US FDA, women should change each tampon every four to eight hours and use the lowest absorbency tampons.
In the US, where TSS was ‘notifiable’, a study found that the number of cases varied from 0.3 to 0.5 per million people from 2004 to 2014.
Whereas in the UK, the average annual incidence was 0.7 per million from 2008 to 2012.
Obstetrician-gynaecologist with the University of Utah Health Erin Clark said that while TSS is commonly associated with poor menstrual hygiene, it's only responsible for a 'fraction' of cases.
She told the University of Utah Health: “People can be exposed to these bacteria through open wounds, surgery, tampon use, childbirth, and various types of infections.”
She also warned women not to use higher absorbent tampons if they don’t need them.
She added: “Manufacturers have reduced the absorbency of tampons and have changed the materials in order to decrease the risk.
“By changing the type of tampons on the market, and through public education, the incidence of TSS in menstruating women declined dramatically.”