Here's What To Know About The American Tampon Shortage

It's not just baby formula that's in scarce supply in stores across the country. As it turns out, the U.S. is also experiencing a nationwide tampon shortage. According to the New York Times, tampons have been in short supply for months now, but it was only recently that this shortage gained national media attention after Time published an article about it in early June.

Although the exact reasons for the shortage are still unclear, major retailers and manufacturers are blaming global supply chain issues for the scarcity of tampons in America. In fact, Procter & Gamble — the manufacturer of Tampax — recently said that acquiring the raw materials needed to make tampons, like cotton and plastic, has become "costly and highly volatile." As a result, the price of tampons has increased by 10%.

"We can assure you this is a temporary situation," a representative for Procter & Gamble told the New York Times, acknowledging the impact this shortage has had on people who menstruate. However, the tampon manufacturer did not provide a specific timeline indicating when the shortage might end.

Alternatives to tampons

If you can't find your preferred brand of tampons, experts recommend using any other available brand in the store. However, if you're unable to afford them or simply can't find any tampons at all, there are some alternative period products you can try (via Prevention).

For instance, pads and panty liners are both common alternatives to tampons you can use when you have your period. Not only are they flexible and accessible, but they're also very absorbent and can help prevent any accidental leaks. There are even reusable pads out there so you don't have to keep buying more. However, they might not be the best fit for people who swim or play sports. In addition, period panties work very similarly to pads except for the fact that, unlike most pads, they're largely reusable.

Menstrual cups and discs can also be used as an alternative to tampons. Since menstrual cups are reusable devices that are inserted into the vagina, they're cost-effective and can generally collect more period blood than the average tampon. On the flip side, they're not quite as easy to use and generally require a bit of a learning curve. Once you get used to inserting and removing them, however, menstrual cups can be quite helpful when you have a heavier flow or want to go swimming.