Scotland made menstrual products free on November 24 to address menstrual poverty: a world first. Have you ever wondered how much hygiene products can cost you in a lifetime? General overview.
It is estimated that people who have menstrual cycles can have periods averaging 39 years, which equates to 500 cycles. If we use tampons, they are about $ 3,000 spent our entire lives.
Not in vain a quarter of Canadians with menstrual cycles admit that they have financial difficulties to secure them. Worse still, 14% turn to alternatives such as towels, socks or old t-shirts, putting their health at risk.
In Canada, menstrual products have become more affordable since their zero rating in 2015, which does not prevent them from representing a significant expense.
To get a better idea of their financial impact, we have estimated the annual costs of major menstrual products. *
Tampons: $ 53.88 – $ 107.88 per year
Tampons come in several options: with or without applicator, with organic cotton, in a compact format, which changes their price. It is estimated that one buffer box (16-20 units) is used per cycle.
- Regular Tampax with cardboard applicator (20 units): $ 4.49
- Organic Cotton Tampons (16 units): $ 8.99
In addition, attention should be paid to the use of other products such as panties and sanitary napkins.
Hygienic napkins: $ 53.88 – $ 83.88 / year
Like tampons, sanitary napkins come in a variety of styles and brands. Our calculations are based on the use of one package per month.
- Always ultra slim regular (18 units): $ 4.49
- Organic Natracare Cotton (14 units): $ 6.99
Menstrual cups: $ 34.99 / for many years
Although it is a larger advance expense, the menstrual cup can quickly become more economical because it is more durable. The Diva Cup company estimates that medical silicone can last up to 25 years, however, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States recommends changing it every year. The truth seems to lie halfway there; it all depends on the maintenance performed.
For many consumers, the cut is not without leaks, so you need to think about buying panties.
Washed panties: $ 148.33 to $ 249.95 / for several years
Increasingly popular, washable panties are also a greener option. Quebec company Mme L’Ovary estimates that its products can have a shelf life of 5 years depending on the maintenance performed.
Our estimates are based on a menstrual cycle where the man bathed twice during the menstrual period, which would require 5 panties.
- 5 panties with removable pillows by Mme L’Ovary: $ 249.95
- Knix initial set with 5 panties: $ 148.33 (taxes and shipping included)
One thing is for sure, washable and reusable products often turn out to be more economical in the long run, but also less polluting. Furthermore, some municipalities in Quebec offer subsidies to reimburse a portion of them and reduce waste at source. This is the case for Saguenay, Boisbriand, Mascouche, Pointe-Claire, some Montreal neighborhoods and some others.
And that’s not all …
In addition to menstrual products, people with menstrual cycles should take sedatives to relieve pain, which leads to additional costs. To this must be added the replacement of stained underwear and sheets.
Rarely, rules can also be a source of lost income for workers who are not entitled to paid sick days. Particularly stressful or painful periods can require dismissal.
*There are no official figures in Canada detailing the average cost spent on menstrual products. The estimates presented are based on one person who would have an average flow and 12 cycles per year. Amounts may vary depending on the abundance of periods, their frequency, and inflation.
* Quoted prices are obtained from Jean Coutu pharmacies, Avril stores and websites of the companies in question.