Is there really a tampon shortage in the US and why?

People who menstruate have reported difficulty in finding the essential period products at their local supermarkets and pharmacies

Is there really a tampon shortage in the US and why?
(Image credit: Getty)

America is in the grip of a tampon shortage crisis – here's everything you need to know. 

US supermarkets and drugstores have been starkly low on tampons in recent months, leaving countless people who menstruate desperate to find affordable and safe alternatives, such as menstrual cups, to the essential hygiene product. 

1. Is there actually a tampon shortage? 

Yes, but not in the UK. The tampon shortage is currently affecting the US, with many people who menstruate reporting difficulties in finding their go-to feminine hygiene products at the supermarket and drugstore. Consumers have also seen an unwelcome increase in their price tags, with the average cost of tampons jumping nearly 10 percent in the past year, according to a Bloomberg News report. 


(Image credit: Getty)

2. What is causing the tampon shortage? 

As is the case with many product shortages, the scarcity of tampons on America's shelves appears to be caused by supply chain and manufacturing issues. 

Materials such as plastic, rayon, and cotton have been heavily used to create personal protective equipment since the COVID-19 pandemic began, making them more in demand and therefore more expensive. These higher costs have coincided with factory staffing challenges and transportation delays, according to US tampon makers. 

3. Where is the tampon shortage? 

The tampon shortage is currently affecting the US, with residents of Alaska, Hawaii and West Virginia reportedly experiencing the most trouble in finding the essential menstrual products. 

4. How long will the tampon shortage last? 

It remains unclear how long the US tampon shortage will last, but tampon makers have insisted that the problem will not be permanent. 

"We can assure you [the tampon shortage] is a temporary situation," Procter & Gamble, makers of America's most popular tampon brand Tampax, told Good Housekeeping. The company also said it is collaborating with partners to make sure its period products continue to be stocked in stores. 

Emma Dooney
Lifestyle News Writer

Hailing from the lovely city of Dublin, Emma mainly covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health and wellness feature. Always up for a good conversation, she has a passion for interviewing everyone from A-list celebrities to the local GP - or just about anyone who will chat to her, really.

Emma holds an MA in International Journalism from City, University of London, and a BA in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin.