By now, you've heard there's a tampon shortage, with some big retailers already looking at empty shelves. The problem? Disruptions in the supply chain aren't getting the tampons where they're needed. Even non-profits are seeing increased demand and lower donations, causing a lot of menstruating people to feel uncertain about the future, especially since this follows on the heels of a national baby formula shortage.
Are pads next? What are menstruating people supposed to do?
First, take a deep breath. Even if the tampon shortage becomes direr (and even if disposable pads follow suit), there are ways you can cope that won't break the bank. The most important thing to do? Stock up on sustainable, reusable period products. There won't be a shortage of sustainable items. Once you've stocked up, you're set for months, or even years.
Stocking up for your monthly flows isn't only about preparation for a potential empty cupboard. These products are also much more cost-efficient. With tampons and disposable pads at their highest costs in recallable history, saving money on must-have menstruating products is also crucial.
What isn't the media telling you? You have options. Lots of options.
One excellent option is period underwear. For about $25 a pair (although it can vary), you get between six months and two years of use. Per underwear, that's about $1.04 to $4.10 a month, which is way more affordable than disposable options.
Of course, you get the most extended use with proper care. We recommend hand washing or using the gentle cycle to extend the lifespan of period undies. You can probably get through a period with four pairs in a pinch. However, eight (or even twelve) is ideal if you don't want to wash as frequently.
You can also try reusable pads, which get roughly the same lifespan as their underwear counterparts. Reusable pads are generally more affordable than period underwear, but tend to absorb less. So, maybe they're not the perfect option for heavy flows, but they're great for lighter ones!
A final option? Menstrual cups.
We recommend these to people who'd like a sustainable alternative that still lets them jump in the pool or play in the waves. Like tampons, you can wear menstrual cups in the water. A single menstrual cup can last upwards of six months, depending on how often you use it. Remember to clean them thoroughly between uses.
We recommend using a combination of sustainable period options you feel comfortable with. For example, you could wear period underwear most of the time, but have a menstrual cup (or two) on hand for when the fun of the day demands it.
Most importantly? These sustainable options ensure all menstruating people are covered, whether there's a tampon shortage or not.
We at TomboyX are proud to offer a range of sustainable (and PFA-free!) options for menstruating people. Our period undies come in various designs and cuts to suit all people who menstruate. Not only are they affordable, but you can use them for months (or even years!) with proper care.