We are currently experiencing a tampon shortage in the U.S.
Tampon makers are saying the shortage is due to a combination of factory staffing challenges, transportation bottlenecks, and the rising costs of key raw materials used to make the products.
Most outlets are saying this is temporary, but there's no guarantee. So here are a list of alternatives to tampons that aren't pads.
- Period panties-- No, these aren't just the old pairs of your underwear that you wear when you're menstruating. These underwear are specifically created to absorb period blood. They feel like normal underwear and are both cost-effective and great for the environment. Depending on absorbency, a woman could wear them for 24 hours, but a standard is 10-12 hours. Once you're done wearing them, rinse them in cold water before hand/machine washing, run a gentle cycle with cold water, and hang to dry. Brands to check out are Thinx, Knix, and TomboyX.
- Menstrual cups-- These are reusable feminine hygiene products that are made of rubber or silicone that can be inserted into the vagina to catch period blood. The idea may freak you out at first and you're not alone in that. Menstrual cups have a lot of benefits though. They're eco-friendly, safer for your body, and they can be worn up to 12 hours (depending on your flow). There are plenty of brands who sell menstrual cups such as Diva Cup, Honey Pot and June to name a few.
- A disc-- Flex is a company known for reinventing the idea of the menstrual cup into a disc. It's the same concept in the sense it has to be inserted to collect blood and can be used for up to 12 hours, but they have ones you throw away after one use for anyone who doesn't like the idea of reusing a cup and their design is different. These are designed to sit in a different part of the vagina-- the vaginal fornix. This area is the widest part of the vagina and the placement here makes it so that your vaginal canal is completely obstructed.
- Organic tampons-- Most women have a specific brand and type they prefer. Typically that's not an organic brand since these have become more mainstream within the last few years. I, personally, haven't tried them until this shortage happened. They were the only thing available on the shelves. So I've been using the brand Organyc. So far, I love them! Organic brands are known to have less chemicals in them than regular brands, but I want to note that Toxic Shock Syndrome is still possible. These cannot be worn longer than the typical wear of 4-6 hours.