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How to navigate a tampon shortage

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Photo: Stas Maryalevsky ((((Shutterstock).

In a few months Insufficient milk powder, It’s getting harder to find another health-related product: tampons. The tampon shortage has been a topic of Reddit threads for months, Article published in TimeThis called the shortage “a supply chain problem that no one is talking about.”

Here’s a brief explanation of what’s behind the shortage and what you can do to get the product you need.

What am iWhat is the cause of the shortage of tampons?

As expected, there were many points when it came to assigning responsibility for tampon shortages. For example, Procter & Gamble, a manufacturer of Tampons under the Tampax brand, recently pointed out that acquiring raw materials such as cotton and plastic is “costly and extremely unstable.” New York Times Report..

on the other hand, P & G representative told Time Amy Schumer was liable because her Tampon ads, which began airing in July 2020, were so popular that menstrual supplies splattered off the shelves … about two years after the campaign.

In the article she wrote for Time, Alana Semuels claims The tampon shortage is taking longer to resolve than the previous lack of toilet paper and hand sanitizers. Unlike these products, many people who make procurement and supply chain decisions do not use tampons.

Regardless of the cause, the tampon shortage, coupled with the sharp rise in prices, has risen by nearly 10% from a year ago. Bloomberg Report— For many, menstrual supplies are out of reach.

What to do if you can’t find a tampon

As with other shortages caused by labor shortages and supply chain problems, finding available tampons depends on where you live, and in some areas it is better than in others. Will also be in stock. Therefore, if you haven’t checked the shelves of regular tampon suppliers yet, start there before you panic.

Those who are in short supply are advised to consider the following strategies.

Check other stores in your area

Elaine Benes (as Julia Louis-Dreyfus painted in Seinfeld) said, “All drugstores, miscellaneous goods” when she learned that her beloved sponge, her favorite contraceptive method, was abolished. Stores, health stores, grocery stores with a radius of 25 blocks. ”

It’s not just checking one pharmacy like Benesse. If regular CVS is off the tampon, that doesn’t necessarily mean that Walgreens and independent pharmacies are. that too. If price doesn’t matter, look for tampons in places that may be in stock, usually not where your menstrual products go, such as a gas station convenience store.

Try a new brand

In some areas The lack of tampons is brand-specific— Therefore, the brand you select may not be available, but other types of tampons are available. They may be from a newer, smaller company, but you may find new favorites.

Buy them in bulk

We recognize that this is not an option for everyone, as buying anything in bulk, including tampons, requires financial means to make higher purchases. One way to avoid that is to gather several people to split the cost of one bulk order. If you find a supplier who still has tampons in stock.

Check out office supply retailers like Staples, And others who do not have a place without a physical store. Some wholesale companies supply tampons to businesses, and may also offer consumers the opportunity to buy menstrual products in bulk. Aunt flow..

Try other types of sanitary products

If tampons are not available, many have the option of trying new types of menstrual products. However, this is not as easy as it sounds. Some retailers also report Other sanitary products such as pads and menstrual cups are also sold out. In addition, most menstruatorAfter some trial and error, they use a particular product It turned out to be the best for them — so it’s not like switching from Coke to Pepsi.

But for those who want (or need) to try something elseTampon alternatives are:


  • Strong Points: Unlike other menstrual products, there is no learning curve to use.
  • Disadvantages: Tampons can also be difficult to find because they are an obvious alternative to tampons and share some of the same supply chain issues. In addition, some people don’t like the sensation of wearing a pad, while others can’t irritate their skin. And they are not ideal for swimming (and other activities).

Menstrual cups and discs

  • Strong Points: Reusable (ie, reusable More environmentally friendly and cost effective than disposable menstrual products). It’s more widely available and affordable than it was a few years ago.
  • Disadvantages: Higher initial investment than disposable period products. Finding the right brand and size for your body shape is often a process of trial and error. Some people need practice to insert the product. Not everyone can find something comfortable.

Sanitary shorts

  • Strong Points: Reusable, increasingly available and affordable.
  • Disadvantages: Higher initial investment required (especially because multiple pairs are required).Even if you wear it The best absorbent underwear available, medium to heavy breeders, often require the use of additional menstrual products.

Reusable pad

  • Professional: Cost-effective and eco-friendly.
  • Disadvantages: It takes time and effort to wash every month. Unlike disposable pads, it is not designed to keep the surface fabric semi-dry.

When proceeding with caution

Given the shortage, some may want to leave the tampon longer than the recommended limit of 8 hours.However doctorEven as Food and Drug Administration GuidelinesPlease advise against this as it can lead to bacterial infections. (And yes, increase the risk of development Toxic shock syndrome— However, the number of cases that are already rare has decreased significantly in the last few decades. )

What about expired tampons? If you haven’t noticed yet, most of the time you have a shelf life of 3-5 years. However, Dr. Barbara Wilkinson, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and an instructor at Harvard Medical School, said: Told the New York Times There is no scientific data to suggest that a tampon is not safe just because it has expired.

Therefore, if you come across an old tampon stash, Wilkinson says, “Make sure the tampon wrapper is intact and the tampon still looks good.It is protected. ”

How to navigate a tampon shortage

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