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Amy Williams, 24, was left hospitalised when she accidentally left her tampon in for five days and contracted toxic shock syndrome.
The life-threatening condition can lead to septic shock - a serious case of sepsis - and can cause multiple organ failure and death if it is left untreated.
Amy now wants to raise awareness of the rare condition and warn others of the dangers of leaving tampons in for too long.
She says: "I had heard of toxic shock syndrome but didn't think it would ever happen to me.
"I'd been using tampons for ten years, but I'll never use one again now.
"I want to warn women and young girls to be extra careful when using them," she adds.
The PA, who works for Basildon Council, was on a night out with her boyfriend Samuel Mullen when she went to the toilet to change her tampon.
Unable to find the string or feel the tampon, Amy thought she didn't have one in, so she applied another.
Amy explains: "I was really drunk at the time and couldn't remember if I already had one in. Plus I couldn't locate it."
It wasn't until five days later that she noticed an unusual smell down below and checked herself.
Amy explains: "It smelt like death and it wasn't normal.
"I felt something with my fingernail and it dawned on me that there was a tampon inside me," Amy adds, "I was mortified."
It took Amy half an hour to remove the tampon, which was now black and had turned on its side.
"When it came out, I felt an overwhelming rush, like I was going to faint," she explains.
Though she'd successfully removed the tampon, Amy then began to experience painful cramping and, two days later, while at work, she started to feel nauseous.
A colleague commented that she "looked like she was at death's door" and she was rushed to A&E in Basildon University Hospital, with her temperature at a dangerous 40 degrees.
Upon arriving at hospital, Amy started vomiting.
"They rushed me to a ward and hooked me up to an antibiotic drip while they took blood tests."
It was only then that doctors realised she could have the syndrome.
"I'd told staff I'd left a tampon in for five days and they looked worried," Amy explains. "I was then informed that my CPR levels were 264, the normal amount was 5."
Amy's organs had, by now, started to fail and she'd gone into septic shock. Shortly afterwards, she was diagnosed with toxic shock syndrome.
"The doctor said to me that if I'd had gone home that day, I wouldn't have woken up."
"I was terrified," Amy says, "I cried to the nurse and asked her if I'd ever see my three-year-old son, Archie, again. She reassured me I was in good hands."
Amy slipped in and out of consciousness for the next four days, while her body was fighting the blood poisoning, but after nearly a week in hospital, she began to improve and was discharged.
However, she continued to be monitored at home and was on a course of antibiotics for ten days, and her periods have been irregular and heavy since then.
The mum was also told that her chances of conceiving could be affected by the toxic shock syndrome, but a year on, Amy is now expecting her second child.
Amy adds: "I couldn't believe a tampon nearly killed me. I'll never use one again and now only use sanitary towels."
"Please, be careful when using tampons. It nearly cost me my life."
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