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I dont know where to find this information so hoped it was ok to ask the community here. I have become aware of references to toxic shock syndrome recently after use of menstrual sponges. But I cant find reference to the actual cases. I wanted to know if the cases involved prolonged wearing of  sponges for example. Or whether there were any special circumstances to them. It would be really helpful if someone could point me in the right direction.
manuka91 on April 30th, 2013 09:03 am (UTC)
Hi there,

As far as I'm aware, menstrual sponges are associated with the risk of TSS just like tampons because of the fact that they are absorbent, thus providing the environment that Staphylococcus aureus (the bacteria that cause TSS) need to multiply. I can't find specific reference to use of menstrual sponges and TSS, but there are a few papers from the 1980s about TSS caused by the use of a contraceptive sponge including this one: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3001376

There are also reports of TSS associated with nasal tampons used in profuse nose bleeding, so I'm deducing from all of this that an absorbent material in contact with a mucous membrane is associated increased risk of toxic shock syndrome.

Hope that was of some use!
Jennifer Monoteasy2begreen on April 30th, 2013 02:04 pm (UTC)
Sea sponge tampons scare me a bit. The last time they tested them, the FDA found things like yeast, staph bacteria, mold, and grit. http://www.fda.gov/ICECI/ComplianceManuals/CompliancePolicyGuidanceManual/ucm123803.htm In the second paragraph, they mention one report of TSS from using a sea sponge and another possibly associated with using a sponge. (TSS is usually underreported.) Then again, I've heard that it's mostly associated with the rayon of traditional tampons, so it might be safer.
Kai: 2Cupskuradi8 on April 30th, 2013 02:34 pm (UTC)
The others have given you much better answers based on real empirical evidence so I will offer my opinion that a reusable product such as a sponge is as (for lack of a better word) "safe" as the person who is using it. If they are sloppy in their cleaning and sanitation methods, then it increases the chances of harboring (all-inclusive pejorative term) "germs."

The same applies to cups but the materials they are made from are non-absorbent so all they need is a good surface cleaning -- not through and through.
beebs88beebs88 on April 30th, 2013 06:26 pm (UTC)
I use menstrual sponges from time to time and some brand manufacters talk about the risk of TSS (Beppy) and some deny there is a risk with them (Jade&Pearl, Jam Sponge)on their leaflets. I guess there is so little research done on linking menstrual sponge use to TSS that manufacters say whatever they think will work best for them.
From my point of view the risk of TSS is feasable with sponges as they absorb blood and offer organic matter and surface for the bacteria to grow, so I will change them every 6 hours and try to alternate their use with pads.
I found a link to a case of TSS linked to the use of a sea sponge, but it only appears on the statistics there is no information on how it happened.
beebs88beebs88 on April 30th, 2013 06:59 pm (UTC)
Just looking around a bit I found some articles linking the use of contraceptive sponges with TSS and I think they will also apply to menstrual sponges:
-A link between the use of a contraceptive bacteriocidal virocidal sponge containing iodine and risk of TSS:
-Propensity of Tampons and Barrier Contraceptives (aka sponges and diaphragms) to Amplify Staphylococcus aureusToxic Shock Syndrome Toxin-I
http://www.hindawi.com/journals/idog/1994/342672/abs/ On the website they have a pdf article that you can download for free with interesting information.
- Iodine contraceptive sponge and expected TSS percentages:
- Growth of St. aureus in tampons and vaginal sponges:
- St. aureus exotoxins are present "in vivo" in tampons:
I hope it helps!
luxurymoonluxurymoon on May 1st, 2013 08:44 am (UTC)
That is so helpful thank you. I have very happily used menstrual sponges with no issues myself. I do sell them so I wanted to educate myself about any issues around them. I do think that the rayon fibres in conventional tampons make them much more risky and the rayon also applies to swabs in noses that have caused TSS. But will go through all the case detail to inform myself