SoCal women struggling to find tampons in stores amid nationwide shortage of the period product

Baby formula shelves are still looking bare. Now, the period products aisle is leaving customers, including in Southern California, with limited options.

"There is a tampon shortage happening and it's happening all over the country," said Dana Marlowe, founder and executive director of I Support the Girls, a global nonprofit that among other things provides period products, including conventional and reusable options.

"Our tampon shelving space in our warehouses is like bare," she said.

A similar sight could be encountered on shelves in some Southern California stores.

"Here in Compton, CVS was horribly limited-- almost nothing," one customer told Eyewitness News.

"I can't find my brand in stores and have to order from Amazon," said another. Store shelves in the Mid-City area were also limited.

CVS Health told Eyewitness News it is working to replenish items as quickly as possible if a local store is out of stock.

In a statement, P&G said in part, "We expect this is a temporary issue, and the Tampax team is producing tampons 24/7 to meet increased demand for products."

When asked, the company did not elaborate further on what's causing the issue.

"I think right now is an opportune time to switch over or even to just try a reusable period product," said Chelsea VonChaz, founder and executive director of The Happy Period. The organization focuses on serving Black and Indigenous-identifying people through menstruation education and safe products.

The supply issue may lead some consumers to try other options.

"I understand that everyone is not able. It is a privilege, right?" said VonChaz. "You have to have access to running water. You have to be able to clean the products, especially if it's a menstrual cup or even a cloth pad."

VonChaz highlights the importance of increasing access to this basic need everywhere.

"If you can allocate part of your budget for running water, soap, hand sanitizer and toilet paper in restrooms then, honestly, really, what's the reason why you don't want to do that for a pad," she said.

"Even though this is going on five months -- the shortage -- it hasn't been talked about and part of that reason is that there's still a stigma around talking about periods and there's taboo around menstruation," said Marlowe.

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