It’s not just you. Tampons are getting harder to find on the shelves and pricier too.
Nationwide shortages are not easing up as supply chain issues continue to persist and is now affecting feminine hygiene products.
First, we experienced the nationwide baby formula shortage, amid factory shutdown, and now we’re seeing shortages across the board including on tampons.
Why is there a tampon shortage?
Supply chain issues have been affecting Americans since the beginning of the pandemic in early 2020, when labor demands grew higher and wages were not increased.
For many businesses, they’ve struggled to hire new workers due to the unemployment pay that was ripping through the country surrounding the fear of in-person positions due to the covid-19 virus.
As a result, the downfall of laborers happened, international manufactures began running into skyrocketing costs of raw materials, and business owners have shifted their production plans to better suit the demand of buyers.
According to the New York Times, Andre Schulten, the chief financial officer of Procter & Gamble — which manufactures Tampax, the tampon giant that sells 4.5 billion boxes globally each year — said on a recent earnings call that it had been “costly and highly volatile” to acquire the raw materials needed for production, such as cotton and plastic.
Inflation costs are also making it more difficult to source the product and making them more expensive for consumers.
Bloomberg reported that the average price for a package of menstrual pads increased by just over 8 percent from the start of this year through the end of May, while the price of tampons increased by nearly 10 percent.
These global supply chain issues have been disrupting not only tampons, but also seeing shortages in other common goods such as toilet paper, cars, housing inventory, and kitchen appliances.
What to do if you’re running out of tampons?
There are a variety of other menstrual products available outside of tampons. Though tampons are a popular option, sanitary napkins, menstrual cups and disks, and an array of absorbing underwear are available where supplies are sold.
Many period underwear brands sell for $30-40 per pair, while cups and disks are sold anywhere from $25-$35 and can be reused.
Disposable and reusable options in conjunction with tampons may be the best alternative until temporary shortage is restored to normal inventory.
Drs. warn against stretching tampon wear for longer than average times, as toxic shock syndrome is rare, but can be life threatening when wearing chemical inserts for more than 8 hours or use one with too much absorbency.