ICAAC: Tampon Coating Reduces Menstrual Toxic Shock Toxin

September 18, 2007

CHICAGO -- A novel surface coating for tampons may cut the risk of menstrual toxic shock syndrome, researchers said here.

CHICAGO, Sept. 18 -- A novel surface coating for tampons may cut the risk of menstrual toxic shock syndrome, researchers said here.

The coating -- a fiber finish called glycerol monolaurate -- significantly reduced (P

On the other hand, if women did not have S. aureus, they had significantly less interleukin-8 if they used a coated tampon (P=0.005), the researchers found.

The idea for the study grew out of the observation that glycerol monolaurate, which is widely used as an emulsifier in cosmetics and food, inhibits the production of toxic shock-associated toxins in the test tube.

From that observation, researchers hypothesized that coating tampons with the compound would prevent the toxins from being made, even if a woman was harboring the bacteria, Dr. Schlievert said.

The notion was a clever one, said Scott Hammer, M.D., of Columbia University and chair of the conference's program committee. Dr. Hammer was not involved in the tampon study.

"What they've done is use bioengineering to interact with the molecular mechanism of a disease-causing bacterium, thereby cutting down on the risk of a potentially fatal infectious disease," Dr. Hammer told reporters.