Some tampon manufacturers have problems with the supply chain, so many products may be harder to find on store shelves.
Why it matters
Tampons are a necessary product for millions of people.
Companies say they are working hard to increase availability. Meanwhile, there are alternatives to tampons and pads that you should be aware of.
If you have recently had difficulty finding your usual brand of tampons, you are not alone. The most recent lack of basic care (the second is) began to make headlines when Tim declared the shortage of tampons “a supply chain problem that no one talks about.” It is also another health care shortage that primarily affects women – it is used by approximately 34 million people in the United States.
Estimates of how popular tampons are compared to other menstrual products vary, but as many as 70% of people with menstruation in the U.S. use tampons, one at a time. If you get your period, you know the products that suit you better than anyone. So, if you have a favorite brand or you have thought about another line of menstrual care (e.g.), here’s what companies say about shortages, tampon alternatives and more.
How are tampons regulated?
Tampons are prescribed as medical devices by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and tampons that are cleaned are usually made of cotton, rayon, or both. Simply put, there are high standards for the production of tampons and their materials because people use them internally every month for about a week.
Why can’t people just use pads?
In addition to the possibility that some brands of pads are currently harder to find, many people have to use tampons when swimming or exercising, for example. Others may find the feel of the pad uncomfortable.
Some people choose to use pads instead of tampons. Pads may be a more desirable choice for people with very heavy menstruation (sometimes with a tampon), while others have difficulty inserting a tampon. Whatever the reason, people choose and know the menstrual products that best suit their body and their lifestyle. (For alternatives to tampons and pads, read on.)
Why is the tampon missing? Which brands are affected?
Procter & Gamble said in an April call for revenue that the procurement and transportation of materials needed for tampons was “expensive and very volatile”, according to many media reports. Tampon prices rose nearly 10% in one year, according to a Bloomberg report, and the price of pads rose by more than 8%.
“We can assure you that this is a temporary situation, and the Tampax team produces tampons 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to meet the increased demand for our products,” P&G told CNET. “We are working with our retail partners to maximize availability, which has increased significantly in the last few months.”
A spokesman for Kimberly-Clark, which produces the popular brand U by Kotex, said the company, however, is not experiencing a shortage of products or offerings.
“We are working closely with our retail partners to maintain inventory shelves,” they said, adding that the company is on track to donate more than 6 million products for the Periodic Inventory Alliance period, a nonprofit that distributes periodic products to those who can’t afford them.
Edgewell manufactures Playtex and OB tampons, as well as Stayfree and Carefree insoles and insoles. A company spokesman said in a statement that labor problems were causedin two different countries – the first at a U.S. manufacturing facility in late 2021 and the second in early 2022 that affected a Canadian supplier – it affected inventory.
“We have been working with our production facilities 24 hours a day to replenish stocks and expect to return to normal levels in the coming weeks,” a spokesman said.
Smaller monthly care companies may also be affected as customers begin to turn to newer brands of tampons while their regular brand is out of stock. A spokesman for Cora, which makes tampons with menstrual cups, menstrual underwear and other menstrual care products, said that although the company’s products were still in stock, it had experienced a “significant increase in demand for tampons” and that there could be emissions. stock in the coming months.
Which stores have no stock?
Whether you will be able to get the desired brand of tampon (or any tampon that will suit you) may depend on where you live and which store you visit often.
A CVS spokesman told CNET that in recent weeks there have been cases where tampon suppliers have not been able to fulfill orders in full. “If there are temporarily no specific products in the local store, we are working on replenishing those items as soon as possible,” the spokesman said.
A Walgreens spokesman said that “similar to other retailers, we are experiencing some temporary brand-specific shortages in certain geographical areas.” Although they still have products, the spokesman added, these can only be certain brands for the duration of the supply disruption.
In a statement to CNET, a spokesman for Walmart said the retail giant “does not feel a shortage” and has no stock of menstrual products, including tampons.
Can you use expired tampons?
Usually tampons have a shelf life of about five years and you should not use them when they expire. Although many people who are menstruating would probably use one after all, they are designed to enter your body and stay there for a while, and contrary to their designed use, it can open you up to harmful infections such as toxic shock syndrome.
As Tampax states on its website, “Obviously, tampons won’t break down right after five years, but bacteria and small mold particles can find their way into your tampons once they expire.”
What about tampon alternatives?
One of your options is to temporarily switch to a disposable menstrual pad. There do not seem to be any major disruptions in the supply of menstrual pads at the moment, but due to the lack of tampons, all types of menstrual products are less in stock and harder to find.
If you can’t find tampons or pads, or are just interested in a change, here are a few alternatives to consider.
Menstrual underwear is a sustainable and ultimately cost-effective alternative to tampons and pads. While starting to use menstrual underwear may be a little more expensive than buying a tampon box if you buy a few pairs to go through your period (a good pair of menstrual underwear starts around $ 14), you will save money in the long run.
There are a number of brands to choose from and they are made to suit people of all sizes with all types of flows. Here’s afor your body, flow and budget.
Menstrual cups are becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to disposable products. These cups (popular brands include Diva, Cora and Lunette) are reusable, usually rubber or silicone, and close around the cervix, collecting menstrual blood from your uterus before it leaves your body. There is a learning curve on how to insert it, but many people who try menstrual cups swear they will never come back. You can shop around to find the best menstrual cup size for your body and strong, medium or light flow. (Note for IUD users: Intake cups can sometimes cause the IUD to come out – eh – or move. If you have IUDs but want to try a IUD, talk to your doctor about the best cup you can use and how to use it safely. )
Menstrual discs are a similar concept as cups, and come for single or multiple use. They are also advertised as menstrual products that you can leave during sex, but they are not designed for contraception and will not prevent pregnancy.
While not suitable for everyone, some people may want to give up any menstrual products, especially at night or while lounging around the house with a lighter flow. Simply put, free bleeding is bleeding without the use of tampons, pads, panties or other disposable products. People do this for a variety of reasons, and many choose to do so on the last day or two of their period when they lose so little blood that it would be difficult to refill even a tampon or pad. (While toxic shock syndrome is rare, using tampons with more absorbance than you need may be a risk factor for developing TSS.) If stains are a concern, you can put away a towel or wear old and / or dark underwear.
Reusable tampons or pads
Reusable fabrics or pads that attach to your underwear are another option if you want to get away from disposable products. Because they are outside your body, not inside, there is no big problem with the sterility that tampons carry.
The FDA discourages reusable tampons because they can carry an increased risk of fungal and bacterial infections, and the agency has not approved any reusable tampons for safety reasons. Generally speaking, it is a good idea to sterilize (or buy already sterile) any product you put in your vagina.
Watch out for “less popular” brands of tampons
There are several names that dominate the shelves of pharmacies, but you can also get tampons elsewhere from newer, smaller or organic care companies, which are mostly sold online. But keep in mind that aggregate demand (and possible panic buying) could start to affect the shares of these companies as well.
August sells sustainable care products online, including tampons. Although the price of a box of tampons is probably higher than you would find on a pharmacy shelf, August says that tampons are 100% organic and completely biodegradable.
tampons and period products are also organic and available online, although the company noted that a large increase in demand for them could affect supply in the coming months. (L, another organic tampon manufacturer, is out of stock, according to its website.)
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care professional regarding any questions you may have about your health condition or health goals.