Amputated after a toxic shock, this mother tells

Sandrine Graneau had both feet and eighteen phalanges amputated after a toxic menstrual shock. She tells about her fight to rebuild herself in her book written with Claudine Colozzi, “Toxic shock”. For aufeminin, she agreed to testify.

In April 2019, Sandrine Graneau, nurse and mother of three, suffered a toxic shock caused by her menstrual cup. After spending three weeks in intensive care, she unfortunately had to have both feet and eighteen phalanges amputated. Today, this 38-year-old woman is fighting for there to be better supervision around internal hygienic protections. In his book “Toxic shock”, written with journalist Claudine Colozzi and published by Editions Flammarion, she tells about her fight to regain her place as mother, lover and woman and gives the keys to answer an important question: “Should we be afraid of hygienic protections?”. For aufeminin, she agreed to come back to her story and the battle she leads on a daily basis to inform and alert women.


“On April 10, 2019, I experienced menstrual toxic shock. I was saved after three weeks of resuscitation. Unfortunately, I had to have both of my legs and part of my fingers amputated.

Toxic menstrual shock is a large massive infection that can occur in women who wear internal hygienic protections, such as cups or tampons.

What was the most difficult for me to accept was not to be who I was before, whether it was mourning my profession, my life as a mother, my life as a woman. When you come out after a month of hospitalization, the roles are reversed. It was difficult to live with because suddenly it was the children who mothered me… when that is not how things should be.

I had a lot of trouble with that and then little by little, I regained a little bit of the beast. I was able to gradually resume my role even though I am not a mother like the others. I need help a lot, my children’s help every day.

Also read: Risk of toxic shock with improperly used menstrual cups

Better inform women

Toxic menstrual shock is a sadly overlooked topic. When I tell my story, most of the women I meet tell me they’ve never heard of it before. This shows that currently, there is a real problem with this disease. You should know that anything in the field of intimate protection is not considered a medical device. As a result, the framework is much lighter in terms of regulation and use. I think the manufacturers play a little bit on this and forget that they still have a duty to rigorously inform women. To give real hygiene advice in the use of these products.

We still read too often that a cup can be worn for 12 hours, which is completely wrong. A cup cannot be kept for more than 6 hours maximum. Many manufacturers continue to say that there is no risk of toxic shock associated with wearing a menstrual cup and that is completely wrong. Unfortunately, I am living proof of this.

Read also: 5 alternatives to classic periodic protection

‘It’s not for the victims to blame’

From those around me, I had a lot of kindness after what happened to me. But when my story got a little more publicity, I found it extremely cruel – from other women, besides – all this gratuitous lynching about the fact that if you were the victim of a toxic shock it was. is necessarily that we had a hygiene that was not rigorous. It was inevitably, somewhere, that we had looked for it. And I find it hard because we get completely into guilt. I have remade the film a million times to myself, asking myself ‘what did I do wrong?’. I questioned myself too much and at one point I said to myself ‘but it’s not for me to feel guilty’. It is not for the victims to feel guilty. We are victims. Rather, it’s up to the manufacturers to blame them. It is up to the public authorities to take their responsibilities and ensure that things change. It is not for us as women to carry an additional burden.

For my daughters, I have evolved a lot on the question of menstrual tampons and cups. It is true that at the beginning I said to myself ‘they are going to be completely traumatized’. No more cups and tampons, there will never be any at home. And then I realized that was not the right way to look at it at all. That the best hygienic protection is the one that suits us, according to our life, according to our age, according to our medical history. In fact, my daughters will do whatever they want. But above all, it will be my role to advise them, to educate them, so that they may not repeat the mistakes that I may have made. ”

“Toxic shock” by Sandrine Graneau and Claudine Colozzi, Flammarion editions

Elise Poiret

Journalist specializing in parenthood, Elise writes for aufeminin and Parole de mamans. She is also very involved in the fight for women’s rights. If you only have to remember …