Sanitary pad wrapped in a dollar bill with a tampon next to it. Money, Accessibility, Period Poverty, Menstruation

Where to Find Free Tampons and Pads

If you have endometriosis, you may struggle to afford pads and tampons. Most menstruating people lose around 2 ounces of blood during their period, and endometriosis can cause you to bleed much more.

For some people, these heavy flows are a relatively minor inconvenience. But for too many women, bleeding doesn't just drain their bodies; it drains their wallets.

What is period poverty?

Period products are notoriously expensive. Half of the menstruating women in the United States have struggled to afford pads or tampons.

This economic insecurity is known as "period poverty." On average, a menstruating person will spend around $150 a year on menstrual hygiene items.1

These statistics fail to include people with endometriosis, who often have to use many more tampons or pads to staunch their heavy bleeding.

Period poverty is a real issue, but it's not always easy to find help. THINX, a company that sells period panties, commissioned a survey to ask 2,000 people to share their experiences with menstruation.2

Of this group, 58% said that they were embarrassed to tell people about their periods. Another 44% felt awkward when they bought tampons or pads in the store.2

Many people with periods experience these deep feelings of stigma and shame. However, these anxieties can become even worse if you're impoverished.

Sociologists and family psychologists explain that people living in poverty may avoid seeking financial assistance because they worry about being judged.3

This combination of period stigma and poverty stigma form an overwhelming combination for women who struggle to afford pads and tampons.

Resources for free menstrual products

If you're struggling to afford the hygiene products you need, it can be difficult to know where to turn for assistance. Fortunately, there are several resources that can help. Here are 5 places you can contact to find free menstrual products.

Your local Planned Parenthood, health department, or health advocacy organization
Call your nearest healthcare clinic to ask if they have free pads or tampons. You may be able to stop by the office to pick up some supplies without needing to make an appointment.

The Alliance for Period Supplies
This organization supports over a hundred local groups across the United States. These groups help distribute pads and tampons to people in need. Visit their website to learn if there's a program in your area.

If you're a Black, Latinx, and/or IndIgenous identifying women, girls, femmes, and gender-expansive human and you need access to menstrual products, check out #HappyPeriod. The group aims to support menstrual care for Black people. Currently, you can find a free period guide and workbook on their website. While #HappyPeriod has helped provide menstrual care kits for people to distribute in their local communities, as of January 2022, the organization is not advertising their free menstrual products because they're working on building some new programs.

She Supply 
She Supply serves Texas women by distributing tampons and pads across the state.

Helping Women Period 
This nonprofit provides menstrual care items to women in need, especially women who are experiencing homelessness.

Everyone deserves dignity when they are menstruating.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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