All those warnings on tampon boxes about Toxic Shock Syndrome? Yeah, you should definitely be paying attention to them.
One UK student has revealed she ended up with severe blood poisoning, close to death, after forgetting about her tampon for nine full days.
Emily Pankhurst, 20, described to The Daily Mail how she assumed the pain and bloating she was feeling were just down to stress, as she was studying hard for upcoming university exams at the time.
"I blamed deadlines, returning to uni after the New Year and exams. Actually I was seriously ill," she explained, adding that she had simply inserted a new tampon, having forgotten to take the old one out.
"When I finally realised, I pulled it out it was pure black," she says of the moment she realised what she had done.
"I was feeling really ill by that stage. I was hot and dizzy and felt really strange.
"I wouldn't have known what it was apart from the string. It was horrible. I immediately chucked it in the loo, I felt sick."
However even after removing the forgotten tampon, Emily's symptoms continued to worsen, and she was eventually rushed to hospital with intense stomach pains and slurred speech.
"I was sat in the dark. I can't remember much, but mum said I kept repeating, "I feel ill – my stomach".
"'My speech slurred and my skin became mottled. I started to feel faint and I was rushed to hospital by ambulance.
"During the journey they said I was displaying all the symptoms of sepsis [blood poisoning] and so the blue lights were put on. I became an emergency case."
Thankfully Emily received medical treatment before the sepsis took hold of her body completely, but it was a long road to recovery.
"I was fed through a tube," she recalls, adding that she couldn't even use the toilet as normal.
"My bladder was full – I had two litres of urine in me – but I couldn't go to the toilet naturally and was given a catheter.
"I've never been in pain like it so was given morphine and doctors said if I had left it any longer I would be dead."
Even now, two months on, Emily is still feeling the consequences of her illness and finds she is constantly exhausted, needing up to 13 hours sleep a night to function.
Emily has shared her story to warn other women to be mindful of their health, especially in times of stress.
"I hope my story can help others to take care of their health and not take their lives for granted, because you never know what might be around the corner."