Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is a group of symptoms throughout the body. This illness can progress rapidly. It can lead to a failure of multiple body systems. Toxic shock syndrome can be fatal.

There are two types of TSS:

  • Menstrual type —associated with menstruation and tampon use
  • Non-menstrual type—can occur in men, women and children

TSS is caused by toxins released from certain bacteria. Bacteria most often associated with TSS include:

  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Streptococcus pyogenes

Bacteria infects the body through cuts or sores. The bacteria can create toxins as it grows. These toxins are harmful to many of your body's systems. The damage to your body is what causes the range of symptoms.

Immune System
Immune system white blood cell
The immune system creates antibodies to fight bacteria.
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TSS was originally associated with tampon use. It was most common in women who used a particular type of highly absorbent tampons. As a result, these tampons were removed from the market. The number of TSS infections due to tampons has since significantly decreased.