The Tampon Shortage: Why is it happening?

If being a person who menstruates wasn’t tough enough, another challenge has been added to the list. For months the United States has been struggling with supply chain issues, making things like baby formula, car parts, and other necessities hard to access. Now, this issue spans into menstrual health. 

Tampons have become increasingly hard to find in stores in the past few weeks. If you are able to track down a box or two at your usual stores, the price is marked higher than usual. So why is there a tampon shortage?

According to the New York Times, it has been costly for companies to receive the raw materials they need for production of tampons, such as cotton and plastic. The recent inflation crisis making raw materials more expensive, means that you’re paying more for your tampons at the register. Bloomberg reported an 8% price increase in menstrual pads and a 10% price increase in tampons just over the last couple of weeks.

At this point, some of you may be stressed because your cycle is coming up and you’re out of tampons, or you only have a few left. We totally get it; access to the products you are comfortable using when you need them is a matter of health and equity. Keep reading for some reusable items you can invest in as environmentally friendly alternatives to tampons.

Menstrual Cups – A menstrual cup is a flexible cup that’s designed for use inside the vagina during your period to collect blood. It’s sustainable and can be much longer than a tampon or pad. You should rinse after each use and clean these periodically, depending on your personal flow. Don’t get discouraged if it seems uncomfortable at first, it takes time to learn how to insert correctly. Additionally, if one doesn’t feel right, there are different shapes, sizes and brands to try! Here are a few popular ones:

Period Underwear – Period underwear is a relatively new concept, but seems to have come just in time. It is designed to absorb your flow with no other products necessary. Because it is reliable it is also environmentally friendly! It may feel odd to free-bleed if you’re a tampon user, but this underwear comes with a whole new freedom and is great for overnight use. Here’s a few of our favorite brands:

Menstrual Pads – Many menstruators already prefer pads to tampons. Due to the current shortage pads are higher priced than usual but seem to be in higher supply than tampons. If you have access, these are also a great option.

If you have trouble accessing resources such as menstrual products, consider reaching out to a food bank or other local organizations for assistance.

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