WARNING – GRAPHIC IMAGES: Lauren Wasser, 29, contracted toxic shock syndrome in 2012 after using a super plus tampon while on her period – she now faces another amputation
Lauren Wasser lost her right leg in 2012 (Image: REX/Shutterstock)
Lauren Wasser, 29, had her right leg amputated below the knee and lost the toes on her left foot after developing toxic shock syndrome (TSS) in 2012.
The California-born model was left on life support after having a massive heart attack and developing gangrene in her legs but has battled back to have a successful modeling career.
However, she wrote in an opinion piece for In Style that she is destined to lose her left leg as she bids to pass new legislation- which will require feminine hygiene companies to disclose the potential long-term health effects of their products.
“I’m in daily excruciating pain,” she wrote.
“I have a golden leg that I am completely proud of, but my left foot that has an open ulcer, no heel, and no toes.”
Lauren developed gangrene in her legs after developing TSS (Image: the impossible use/Instagram)
She was put in a medically-induced coma (Image: theimpossiblemuse/Instagram)
But has gone on to forge a successful modeling career
She added: “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.”
The 29-year-old explained that her body is producing lots of calcium – her brain’s way of telling her toes to grow back – but that means it becomes unbearable to walk.
She also can’t get her foot wet because of the open ulcer on it.
What are the symptoms of toxic shock syndrome?
The first symptom is usually a sudden high fever when the body temperature rises above 38.9 degrees.
Other symptoms then rapidly follow within the next few hours, including:
nausea and vomiting
flu-like symptoms (a headache, muscle aches, sore throat, and cough)
fainting or feeling faint
dizziness or confusion
According to the NHS website: “A widespread sunburn-like skin rash may also occur, with the whites of the eyes, lips, and tongue becoming more red than usual.
“One or two weeks after the rash appears, it is common that the skin begins to shed in large sheets, especially from the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.
“People with streptococcal TSS may also have the symptoms of a serious streptococcal infection. For example, pain in the muscles, abdominal pain (such as after childbirth) or a cough”
When to seek medical advice
If you develop a sudden fever and one or more of the other symptoms, the NHS says it is still extremely unlikely that you have TSS.
However, symptoms like these should never be ignored and if you are concerned you should seek medical advice immediately. Contact your GP, out-of-hours services or the NHS 111 service.
If you are wearing a tampon and experience these symptoms, remove it immediately and make your doctor aware.
She is bidding to get the Robin Danielson Act passed in the United States – which is named after a woman who died from toxic shock syndrome in 1988 – but the bill has so far been rejected ten times.
It is five years since she was found in her apartment 10 minutes from death after he mother called police as she had not heard from her in a while.
Tampon boxes warn of the dangers of TSS and recommend tampons are changed every eight hours but Wasser said she changed them regularly.
She now warns others about the dangers of TSS
And is pushing for new legislation in the US
The NHS website explains that TSS is a rare but life-threatening bacterial infection caused by Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria.
It adds: “These bacteria normally live harmlessly on the skin, nose or mouth but can invade the body’s bloodstream and release poisonous toxins.
The Los Angeles-based model has become an advocate for raising awareness about the potentially dangerous effects of tampons
“The toxins also damage tissue, including skin and organs, and can disturb many vital organ functions.”
The reasons for its cause are still not understood, it adds, but a significant proportion of cases occur in a woman who is on their period and using a tampon.