Open main menu

Feminine hygiene products (also called menstrual hygiene products) are personal care products used by women, for menstruation, vaginal discharge, and other bodily functions related to the vulva and vagina.

These products are either disposable or reusable. Sanitary napkins (American English) or sanitary towels (British English), tampons, and pantiliners are disposable feminine hygiene products. Menstrual cups, cloth menstrual pads and period panties are the major categories of reusable feminine hygiene products.

Products meant to "cleanse" the area of the vulva or inside of the vagina, such as feminine deodorants, douche, feminine powders, feminine soaps, and feminine wipes have also been described as "feminine hygiene" products.



Society and cultureEdit

In low-income countries, women's choices of menstrual hygiene materials are often limited by the costs, availability and social norms.[1]

Costs and taxEdit

The cost of commercial products for menstrual management is considered to be unacceptably high for many women. At least half a million women across the world do not have enough money to adequately afford these products. This can result in missing school or even dropping out.[2] In 2015, a petition was put forward in England seeking the elimination of the 5% "tampon tax". The Government voted in favour, but it has yet to actually be implemented due to Brexit negotiations. In July 2017, a pilot scheme was launched for six months in Aberdeen, Scotland, with £42,500 of funding from the devolved Scottish Government in order to address the growing scandal of "period poverty". It was believed 1,000 girls would benefit from the scheme, as there were reports of teenage girls using tissues, toilet roll, torn T-shirts and even newspaper as makeshift sanitary products, with some girls even skipping school altogether. It was decided to launch the scheme to improve attainment and school attendance, as well as improve confidence amongst teenage girls during their period; and Scotland is believed to be the first country in the world to give out free sanitary products as part of a government-sponsored initiative.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ UNESCO (2014). Puberty Education & Menstrual Hygiene Management - Good Policy and Practice in health Education - Booklet 9. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Paris, France, p. 32
  2. ^ "Could this be the first country to end 'period poverty'?". Retrieved 2 May 2018.