Everything to Know About the Tampon Shortage

Have you had a hard time finding tampons lately? The good news is, no, you’re not crazy—and it’s not just you. The bad news is that coverage of this issue so far has been sparse at best and you probably have questions. Questions like: Why are there no tampons? When will the tampons return? Is there a bad guy in this story, and is it Amy Schumer?

In an effort to answer these questions and more, we’ve put together this quick explainer about the tampon shortage.

What is the problem?

A Time by Alana Semuels subheadlined, appropriately, “The Supply Chain Problem No One’s Talking About,” was the first effort by national news outlet to highlight the tampon shortage, which is impacting menstruators across the United States. You can find plenty of anecdotal data on the shortage in Reddit threads, Facebook groups, and your own local Walgreens, though hard numbers are still hard to come by.

However, retailers including Walgreens and CVS have made statements assuring the public that they are working to keep their shelves stocked, while manufacturers like Procter & Gamble have promised consumers that they are ramping up production as quickly as they can.

What’s causing the shortage?

Since the onset of the pandemic, production and distribution of tampons has been stalled by the same kinds of supply chain issues that have caused inflationary price hikes and delays on basically every other consumer good. But, like baby formula, tampons are a necessity, which means a shortage puts a greater strain on consumers.


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