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There's a tampon shortage — and it's going to hurt a lot of women

The latest shortage to hit the country is certain tampon brands. One doctor talks about possible solutions.

Dr. Nichole Mahnert works at Banner Health Women’s Institute. "This is just one of those things that's really frustrating, because it just highlights the clear disparities that we already know are there that impact women significantly more," Mahnert said. 

There are alternatives, she says. "There's disposable cups and reusable cups, those can be really helpful. And then period underwear also are other options."

But they can be costly. Manhert says for her patients who experience heavy bleeding and pain, periods can be safely stopped.

"And the ways that we do that are with a variety of medications, mostly different kinds of hormones that have the side effect of preventing pregnancy," Manhert said.

And then there are the women and girls who can’t afford menstruation products. A spokesperson for the Arizona Department of Health told KJZZ News that while they are sympathetic to those facing this supply chain problem, there has been no direction from their federal partners that this constitutes a public health issue.

According to news reports, the shortage is the result of staffing challenges, transportation issues and the rising cost of raw materials. 

KJZZ senior field correspondent Kathy Ritchie has 20 years of experience reporting and writing stories for national and local media outlets — nearly a decade of it has been spent in public media.