Yes, this is a post about sanitary products.
So, yeah this isn’t the most glamorous topic, but it’s a sucky reality for us girls so I’m going to talk about it anyway. And, as much as I’d like to travel period-free, skipping along the beach in white jean shorts and laughing joyously with friends, sometimes that just ain’t the reality.
It’s not ideal, it’s not fun (obviously), but travelling through India, I also realised it could also be a bitch for a whole other reason: your preferred sanitary stuff will not always be available. And I’m not just talking about weird brand loyalties to Libra over Carefree either. Nope. I mean, you can’t even get a tampon. Like, tampons are just not a thing there. It’s all pads all the way. And, as someone who hasn’t used them since, roughly, the Nokia 5110 era, this was a new (very uncomfortable) experience for me. Oh, and it was also a balmy 43 degrees celcius at the time. FUN CAMP.
A quick Google told me that tampons are not marketed to women in India, so there’s little awareness about it. But, more than that, I actually went into FIVE different pharmacies and they just straight up didn’t stock them. One of the owners basically told me I just wouldn’t find them in the country. And if I did they are very expensive (because they have to import them).
But, here’s the thing: even pads are a luxury there. By Indian standards – and even westerner standard – they’re not cheap. Sure, they might cost around the same as they do at home, but given that you could get lunch (at a restaurant) for half that price you can see how’s it’s prohibitively expensive for a lot of Indian women. If it’s disposable pads or rice for the entire family I mean, what would you choose, right? And this kind of blows my (privileged, middle-class) mind, since bleeding from your bits is not exactly the same as owning a couple of Porsche’s and having caviar intravenously fed to you: it’s not just a rich girl problem. I mean, we shouldn’t even have to pay for them at all! But, that’s for another soapbox.
Anyway, here at last is my point, if you’re going to India and you’re a tampon girl, you need to BYO.
Wait, you’re still reading? Congrats! You just made it all the way through a period blog. As a reward, I’m giving you this gift: the story of Arunachalam Muruganantham, from rural India who made a “uterus” out of a soccer ball bladder, filled it with goat blood and – here’s the best part – actually WORE his very own hand-crafted sanitary pads to test them before he gave to his wife. You’re welcome.
Have you travelled to a country where you can’t get tampons? Or any other products that we take for granted? Let me know!