Why There’s a Tampon Shortage and Where to Find Affordable Tampons

Anyone who has lived through the last two and a half years has begrudgingly accepted three things:

    1. Sometimes you have to go with Skippy, even if you want JIF – you have to take what you can get. Product shortages in toilet paper, peanut butter, cars, and other everyday items have become normal. 

      2. If ordering a product online, add a week (at a minimum) to the expected delivery date. Both supply chain issues and staff shortages continue to impact reliable product delivery time frames.

        3. Products are more expensive than they used to be. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average Consumer Price Index increased 8.6% from May 2021 to May 2022.

          While people have learned to accept longer delivery times and second-choice brands for everyday products, dealing with the lack of access to important healthcare products is an altogether different challenge. 

          The latest supply challenges are impacting specific populations. For example, “As of May 2022, 43 percent of baby formula products were out of stock nationwide.” 

          And now, there’s a tampon shortage. 

          What’s going to happen to the 18.33 million women in the U.S. who used Tampax in 2020 who need tampons and can’t get them?

          4 reasons there’s a tampon shortage

          Ever since tampons first hit the shelves of grocery stores across America in the 1920s and 30s they have been fighting for their right to shelf space. Initially, the fight was over the perceived hyper-sexualizing of the feminine hygiene product. Now, ninety years later, it’s (mainly) a supply chain issue.

          1/ Playing catch up

          COVID-19 threw every industry for a loop (medical supply insights from bttn’s CEO). 

          It appeared as if the world had stopped. Everyone retreated indoors. Contact with others outside of one’s “bubble” now involved a screen. Production lines came to a screeching halt. Office spaces filled with dust. 

          But, the world didn’t actually stop. People were still living and functioning as they once were, it just looked different than it had. The world kept moving.

          Companies that could easily transition to remote work did so. 

          Those that couldn’t work remotely felt the impact immediately. Companies were torn between keeping their workers safe and maintaining production in order to sustain the business. Many companies found a way to balance the safety of their employees and the health of the business, but have yet to return to pre-pandemic production levels. 

          Two years on, the feminine hygiene industry is still working through issues related to stalled production, outright factory closures, and port delays to return to their pre-COVID production.  

          2/ Not enough workers

          Tampons are classified as Class II medical devices with quality control regulations. In other words, not just anyone can work on tampon assembly lines. The requirement for skilled workers in a market experiencing labor shortages means manufacturers are unable to maintain their desired production outputs. 

          A spokesperson for Procter & Gamble said the feminine product shortage is a “temporary situation" and “the Tampax team is producing tampons 24/7 to meet the increased demand for our products.”

          3/ Sourcing problems

          It’s difficult to make a product if you don’t have the materials to do so. That’s exactly what tampon manufacturers are experiencing right now. Manufacturers across the board are having a tough time obtaining the raw materials they need to make feminine products and then transporting the materials – both raw and finished. 

          In April, P&G (which owns the largest market share of menstrual products) said in an earnings call that sourcing and transporting their products, "continues to be costly and highly volatile."

          4/ Tampons or face masks?

          The main materials used to produce tampons are cotton, rayon (purified wood pulp used to make tampons more absorptive), and plastic (applicators). These raw materials are also used to make medical PPE (face masks, surgical gowns). During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, difficult choices were made by manufacturers: life-saving PPE or tampons? 

          As PPE supplies production has leveled out, shouldn't the focus now be swung back to feminine hygiene products?

          The impacts of the tampon shortage

          It’s not only the lack of physical access to tampons but also the price increase – which limits who can buy and how much they can buy – that matters.

          Period poverty, the lack of access to menstrual products, menstrual education, and hygiene facilities, impacts 500 million people around the world each year.

          To help combat this, nonprofits such as PERIOD, The Period Project, and Days For Girls work diligently to distribute materials to those who cannot afford or don’t have access to proper period products. With the current state of tampon production and increased costs, contributions to these organizations have dwindled, leaving them unable to meet the full scope of need.

          Where to find tampons

          Women can’t (nor should they) wait months for tampons.

          Nor should they have to pay ridiculous amounts certain resellers are attempting to charge for basic health necessities. 

          Buying tampons through Tampax’s Amazon Store vs buying through bttn

          For most, when there's a supply chain problem with physical products (formula shortage), the next option is to check the internet. For most, that means going on Amazon. Is it really cheaper to buy tampons in bulk through Amazon? 

          On Tampax’s (Procter Gamble) Amazon store, you can buy a 100-Count 2 pack for $82.77, plus shipping. With expected shipping time sitting at around 3 to 4 weeks. 

          Whereas on bttn, you can buy a case (24 boxes of 20 = 480 tampons) of Tampax Original Cardboard Applicator Tampons, Super Absorbency for $97.66 plus free shipping (on all bttn orders over $40). 

          To buy the same amount of tampons on Amazon, you’d end up paying $198.64, not including shipping and taxes!

          Tampons on bttn

          At bttn, our goal is to provide all people – both in and out of the healthcare industry – access to healthcare supplies quickly, reliably and cost-effectively.

          We currently have 3 varieties of tampons in bulk at affordable prices that will take 2-4 weeks to be delivered. If you have any questions about our process or your order, please reach out to our support and sales team!

          Regular Tampax Tampons

          Regular Tampax Tampons 

          These perfume and dye-free regular Tampax tampons provide up to eight hours of protection. They are designed to gently expand to fit each individual shape with FormFit. In addition to this, the cardboard applicator features an anti-slip grip to enhance the experience of using varying Tampax sizes. Purchase yours today!

          We currently are selling them by the case (12 Boxes of 40) for $87.75 + free shipping.

          Click Tampons from U by Kotex

          Regular Click Tampons – Compact U by Kotex 

          U by Kotex Click Tampon, Regular Absorbency are perfect for purses or stocking up free feminine product supply baskets at healthcare facilities. These tampons are comfortable, up to 100% leak-free, compact, individually wrapped, and unscented. 

          We are selling them in cases (8 Packs of 16) for $45.29 + free shipping.

          Tampax super absorbency tampons

          Super Absorbency Tampax Tampons

          With up to eight hours of protection and FormFit design to expand to each individual shape, Tampax Original Cardboard Applicator Tampons, Super Absorbency have you covered for just about anything. Not to mention, the cardboard applicator has an anti-slip grip, no perfume or dyes. 

          We currently are selling them by the case (24 Boxes of 20) for $97.66 + free shipping.

          The information provided by bttn on this website is not medical advice, and all materials on this website, including text and images, are for educational purposes only and are not intended to be a substitute for advice from a professional healthcare provider.