Toxic shock syndrome can happen to anyone. About half the cases of toxic shock syndrome occur in people who aren't menstruating, including older women, men and children.

Toxic shock syndrome has been associated with:

  • Using superabsorbent tampons
  • Wearing a diaphragm or contraceptive sponge
  • Having a staph or strep infection, especially if you have skin wounds or healing surgical incisions

Tampon use

Researchers don't know exactly how tampons may cause toxic shock syndrome. Some believe that when superabsorbent tampons are left in place for a long time, the tampons become a breeding ground for bacteria. Others have suggested that the superabsorbent fibers in the tampons can scratch the surface of the vagina, making it possible for bacteria or their toxins to enter the bloodstream.

May. 07, 2011