Tampon shortages contribute to women’s supply chain problems: ‘It’s a perfect storm for women’ – CNET

First, a shortage of infant formula. And now this.

Across the country, women have reported having trouble finding the tampons of their choice.

Manufacturers say they are ramping up production to meet demand and the shortage is expected to be temporary. The tampon and sanitary napkin industry represents approximately $3 billion in revenue per year.

“The shelves are OUT,” one Twitter user wrote.

Maggie Hassan, a young Democratic Senator from New Hampshire, said on Twitter that she was “calling on the CEOs of the big four tampon manufacturers to increase supply — not prices.”

The shortage of infant formula and tampons is a double whammy for women. “It’s uniquely affecting women in really critical ways. Both products are important for health and well-being,” said Dr. Natasha Bhuyan, primary care physician at One Medical in Phoenix, Arizona.

While the lack of tampons doesn’t seem to be as bad as the lack of infant formula, it does add another layer of stress to women. Suzy Shinn, a Grammy-nominated recording engineer, wrote“I’m not emotionally strong enough to deal with a lack of tampons.”

Edgewell Personal Care EPC,
-0.34%,
The maker of tampon brands, including Playtex and OB, said in its second-quarter results that a shortage of raw materials and labor shortages in manufacturing impacted the supply of tampons.

Procter & Gamble PG,
-0.72%,
The maker of the Tampax and L brands controls more than half of the national tampon market, according to the Wall Street Journal. “We anticipate this will be a temporary situation in the United States and the Tampax team is producing tampons 24 hours a day to meet the increased demand for our products. We are working with our retail partners to maximize availability, which has increased significantly in recent months,” the Procter & Gamble spokesman told CNET.

Edgewell Personal Care did not respond to a request for comment.

“Both products are important for health and well-being.”


– dr Natasha Bhuyan, a primary care physician at One Medical in Phoenix, Arizona, on the tampon and formula shortage

A spokesman for Walmart WMT,
-1.93%
said the retailer didn’t see a shortage of tampons, but Walgreen’s WBA spokesman,
-0.88%
and CVS CVS,
-1.32%
said they are experiencing shortages with some popular brands. A CVS spokesman said there have been instances in recent weeks where tampon suppliers have not been able to meet orders placed by the store. CVS declined to provide information on suppliers who failed to fulfill orders.

The shortage of tampons could lead to crucial health risks as women try to increase their supplies by using them longer than recommended, Bhuyan said. “It’s important to avoid prolonging tampon use,” Bhuyan said. “I heard people on the internet saying they would.”

Tampons should be changed every four to eight hours at most, Bhuyan said, and people should choose the right absorbency for their period.

“It’s a perfect storm for women,” said Bhuyan.

She advised women to check the packaging of tampons for leaks before use and always to check the expiry date. Open packaging can lead to mold growth on the tampon.

Failure to follow directions for use can pose a risk of infection and, in the worst case, lead to Toxic Shock Syndrome, a serious and life-threatening condition that can occur when superabsorbent tampons are used over a long period of time. Bhuyan.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention linked toxic shock syndrome to tampons made from certain materials in the 1980s that manufacturers no longer use. Even though it’s very rare, it still happens.

“Tampon manufacturers sold in the United States no longer use the materials or designs associated with toxic shock syndrome,” according to the Mayo Clinic. “In addition, the US Food and Drug Administration requires manufacturers to use standard measurements and labels for absorbance and to print guidelines on boxes.”

“If you use tampons, read the labels and use the most absorbent tampon possible,” says the Mayo Clinic. “Changing tampons frequently, at least every four to eight hours. Alternate using tampons and sanitary napkins, and use mini-pads if your bleeding is light.


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