Survey of tampon use and toxic shock syndrome, Tennessee, 1979 to 1981

American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
T L GustafsonW Schaffner


Thirty-eight cases of toxic shock syndrome were reported in Tennessee between January 1, 1979, and March 31, 1981. Thirty-one of these cases (82%) occurred in white women less than 30 years of age; none occurred in black women. We suspected that age and racial differences in tampon use could contribute to the relatively high risk of toxic shock syndrome in young white women. In March, 1981, we surveyed 1,136 Tennessee women regarding their past and current used of tampons. Age and race were related, not only to whether or not tampons were used but to the way tampons were used. "Continuous" tampon use during the most recent menstrual period was most common among young white women (61%), less common among older white women (42%), and least common among black women (23%). On the other hand, the brands, absorbency types, numbers, and usage patterns did not vary greatly with respect to age or race. Comparing each woman's tampon habits in March, 1981, with her usual habits in June, 1980, suggested a striking effect of publicity about the toxic shock syndrome. We estimate that 23% to 39% of the women surveyed changed their tampon habits in an attempt to reduce their risk of toxic shock syndrome.


Sep 22, 2000·Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine·L B GordleyJ H Yiin
Jun 6, 2020·Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology : the Journal of the Institute of Obstetrics and Gynaecology·Raanan MeyerGabriel Levin

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Age Factors
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