Ben Wa Balls and Toxic Shock Syndrome

It came up yesterday on Twitter that there’s no definitive information about the use of Ben Wa/Love Balls and the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome (or other infections) so I thought it was time we did some research and helped to put any fears to rest.

Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) is a rare but very serious bacterial infection that if left untreated can be fatal. It occurs when:

“the bacteria responsible – Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes, which normally live harmlessly on the skin – invade the body’s bloodstream and release poisonous toxins.” (NHS Online)

Men, women and children can get TSS but there does seem to be a link between the use of tampons and cases of TSS. However, by changing your tampon regularly (every 6-8 hours at least) and using the lowest absorbency for your flow, you can help to limit the risk. Also by washing your hands before and after inserting a tampon, you stop the spread of outside bacteria to your intimate areas.

So…what about Ben Wa Balls or Love Balls? We had a quick chat with one of our local Nurse Practitioners and he told us that there is virtually no risk of getting TSS from Ben Wa Balls as long as the balls are not worn for too long (6 hours is usually recommended as the maximum) and they are cleaned thoroughly before and after each use. TSS is associated with tampons because of the porous nature of tampons that holds menstrual blood and bacteria inside you until you change them. Using an anti bacterial sex toy cleaner and warm water and making sure that if there are any fabric sections (retrieval cords or joining strings) they are washed thoroughly will eliminate any risk of infection from your Balls. You’ll avoid any discolouration of the product too. You can even boil some Ben Wa Balls or put them in the dishwasher to sterilise them, but make sure you check if yours are suitable for this.

Also, you should remove the balls when you go to the toilet and reinsert them after if desired to really limit the risk of infection. Chances are your pc muscles won’t have the strength to empty your bladder at the same time as keeping the balls in place, so to avoid dropping them into the toilet(!) it’s best to take them out each time. Of course, if you have a pelvic floor of steel and can manage to pee with Ben Wa Balls inserted, make sure you empty your bladder fully otherwise you may get a urinary tract infection.

So there you go. Ben Wa/Love Balls are completely safe to use and the chances of any infection, TSS or otherwise, is barely there* when they are used properly and cleaned as directed. As with any sex toy, you should never share Ben Wa Balls with anyone else and always clean them thoroughly for a long and happy life from your new favourite toy.

 

For more information about TSS visit the NHS website.

*as with anything medical, there can be no 100% guarantee that something will or won’t cause an infection. With proper cleansing and care the risk is so minuscule you’ll have no problems.