Woman Loses Feet and Parts of Fingers After Menstrual Cup Caused Toxic Shock Syndrome

A woman had her feet and parts of her fingers amputated after developing toxic shock syndrome from using a menstrual cup.

The rare but life-threatening condition, caused by bacteria entering the body and releasing harmful toxins, can happen when a menstrual product, like a tampon or cup, is used for too long.

Sandrine Graneau, 36, from Loire-Atlantique on the western coast of France recalled the day she fell ill to the Le Parisien newspaper. She had cooked dinner for her children when a light pain in her stomach became intense.

An emergency doctor visited Graneau at her home, and diagnosed her with kidney stones. When he came back the next day, her blood pressure had dropped so low that she was rushed to hospital.

A doctor in the emergency room realized she had toxic shock syndrome after her skin turned a vermillion red. Graneau said the bacteria had let off toxins which had spread to her kidneys, lungs, and liver.

Graneau spent the next three weeks recovering in intensive care. Surgeons had to cut 18 bones out of her hand, but were able to save one in each finger.

Following her ordeal, Graneau founded Dans Mes Baskets, or In My Sneakers. The organization provides emotional and financial support to, and raise awareness of, people who have had amputations as a result of toxic shock syndrome.

Although it is often associated with the use of menstrual products, anyone can develop the condition. Symptoms, which can escalate quickly, include a high temperature, as well as flu-like symptoms including a headache, a sore throat and cough, feeling tired and cold, and aches in the body. The condition can also cause a person to feel sick, have diarrhoea, and a rash across the body which resembles sunburn.

The person's lips, tongue, and the white of their eyes may turn bright red. A sufferer may also faint or experience dizziness, struggle to breathe, and feel confused. In some cases, the individual may have a wound where the bacteria entered the body which may not appear to be infected.

Health officials at the U.K.'s NHS state that although it is unlikely such symptoms are caused by toxic shock syndrome, they "should not be ignored."

Treatments include antibiotics, as well as fluids to help stop a person becoming dehydrated or suffering organ damage, and drugs to return blood pressure to normal. In the U.S., between 0.8 to 3.4 people per 100,000 develop the condition.

menstrual cup, menstruation, periods, stock, getty
A stock image shows a menstrual cup. Getty