Feminine Hygiene Around the World

How do I know that most travel writers are men?  Easy!  Guidebooks never have enough information about feminine hygiene product (also known as sanitary product) availability.  There’s nothing more frustrating that wasting space in jam-packed backpack with pads you could have bought upon arrival… except, that is, planning to pick up tampons when you arrive and discovering that they aren’t sold in the place you’re visiting!   If you would like to share information about pads, tampons and more in your country, or a country you know well, please use the form here

This list was last updated on January 1, 2017.  Keep the great information coming!

Pads and tampons in Africa

Egypt – Pads can be found easily, but tampons are rare outside of Metro Supermarket (where they come in packs of twelve with cardboard applicators for regular absorbancy, and cost about 45 Egyptian pounds).

Ethiopia – Pads are available in most grocery stores in Addis Ababa.  In rural areas it is difficult to find any feminine hygiene products.

Kenya – Pads and tampons- with and without applicators- can be found at major supermarket chains like Nakumatt.  Common brands include Always, Kotex and OB.  Stock up in larger towns before visiting smaller villages.  Birth control pills can be purchased over the counter in Kenya.

Madagascar – In major cities you will find pads and tampons.  In rural areas, only pads are available.  In very remote areas there are no feminine hygiene products for sale.  Stores with the best variety include Jumbo Score supermarkets and Shoprite.

Mali – In the capital (Bamako) and other large cities, pads and tampons are in most grocery stores and pharmacies.  In large villages only pads are available, and in small villages feminine hygiene products are not sold.

Morocco – Tampons are sold in large stores that cater to tourists, in areas with lots of tourists.  Also, they are carried by the supermarket chain Marjane.  Pads are available everywhere.  If you’re using a menstrual cup, nearly all washroom facilities will have some kind of water you can use for washing and rinsing.

Nigeria – Sanitary pads (often by Always) and reusable cotton pads are widely available in convenience stores.  For tampons, head to bigger supermarkets like ShopRite or Spar, or to a pharmacy like Med Plus.

Rwanda – Pads can usually be found in cities, towns and villages, while tampons are difficult to find outside the Nakumatt in Kigali.

Senegal – In the capital (Dakar) and other major cities, both tampons and pads are available at grocery stores and pharmacies.  Small villages will have either pads or no products at all.

South Africa – A full range of pads and tampons (with a variety of applicators) is widely available.

Tanzania – A source writes, “No pantyliners, no tampons with applicators, no tampons without applicators, and lots of maxi pads.”

Uganda – A user wrote in to let us know that pads are widely available but tampons are not.  Another reader mentioned that in Kampala, you will mostly likely find Tampax tampons at the Game store in Lugogo, and other brands may be available at Shoprite and Nakumatt.

Zambia – We’d heard there was a good selection of pads, pantyliners, and tampons with and without applicators at most supermarkets, but a more recent report said that tampons are difficult to come by.  This means that if you see them, you should buy them!

Zimbabwe – Of the area near Victoria Falls, a source writes, “no pantyliners, no tampons with applicators, lots of tampons without applicators, and lots of maxi pads.”  This is consistent with a second report describing most urban centers; that reader also noted that pads are usually available in rural areas, too.

Pads and tampons in Asia

Bahrain – Wide range of pads and tampons available in supermarkets and pharmacies.

Bangladesh – Pads are available in most cities and towns, but they are quite bulky and ineffective.  Tampons are virtually impossible to find.  You will need to bring your own toilet paper into most bathrooms, and you will want to look around in advance for places where you can dispose of used products.

Brunei – Find your pads at the supermarket, not the pharmacy.  Tampons are not normally sold, but may be purchased at the NAAFI store (serving UK military families).

Cambodia –  Pads are very common in supermarkets and mini marts in cities, and sometimes at markets in small villages.  Tampons are very difficult to find, but check at major supermarkets in big cities and stock up if you find them!  Reusable menstrual cups can be found at Western Pharmacy in Phnom Penh, Peace Cafe in Siem Reap, and Bantreay’s Women’s Spa in Kampot.

China – Most local women prefer pads (which are measured by length in millimeters).  Tampons (including Chinese and foreign brands) may be available in some locations (especially at Watson’s and Auchan).  If you can’t find them, look up!  They might be on a higher shelf to appeal to taller, foreign women.

India – Pads are available, though they are often big, bulky and designed for overnight wear (you know what we mean!).  If you’re looking for a thin pad, brand names include Whisper Ultra Thin or Stayfree Dry Max, and you might have good luck shopping for them at Health & Glow.  OB tampons without applicators can be found, but not everywhere.  In major stores in urban areas it is possible to buy Carefree pantyliners.

Indonesia – In most cities you are likely to find a variety of pads in most shops, with tampons being sold at high-end groceries.  Also look at Japanese supermarkets.  In small towns it may be harder to find pads (look for Laurier or Charm brands), and it’s unlikely you’ll find tampons.

Iran – Pads are widely available.  The availability of tampons may be on the decline; several years ago they could be found in big-city pharmacies, but a recent report suggests that they are now difficult to find even in big cities.

Israel – Pads and tampons (with and without applicators) are easily found.  Brands such as Kotex, Tampax and Always are widely available.

Japan – Tampons with applicators (in limited sizes) and pads are widely available in Japan.  Pads tend to be bulky, long and wide, with “wings” that wrap under the panties for adhesion.   Pantyliners are available as well.  If you can’t find what you’re looking for, ask a shop assistant as they might be behind the counter.

Jordan – Pads are widely available, while a limited range of tampons can often be found at high-end drugstores like Cosmo.

KuwaitPads are available at all large supermarkets, but tampons are limited and pricey. Tampons (with applicators) can usually be found at Sultan Center and Saveco. Both of these stores usually carry Tampax Regular and Super Plus. At times, Boots Pharmacy carries Regular and Super varieties of its own brand in select locations.

Malaysia – Pads are sold in supermarkets, not pharmacies.  In  major urban centers tampons with and without applicators are available as well, though they are expensive.  * We have received conflicting reports about the availability of birth control pill over-the-counter in Malaysia.  One reader reports that it is available without a prescription, while another says it isn’t.  Please plan accordingly.

Myanmar – Pads are widely available in supermarkets, while tampons are difficult to find.  We could not find any near Inle Lake, but heard they can be tracked down in Yangon and Mandalay.

Nepal – Pads are easy to find, while tampons (without applicators) are sold in shops that target foreign tourists.

Oman – Wide range of pads and tampons available in supermarkets and pharmacies.

Pakistan – Sanitary pads are widely available.  Tampons in Pakistan are almost impossible to find, even in drugstores, so pack your own.  A reader reports that she has never seen a female working in a Pakistani pharmacy, and many men in the country don’t understand menstruation.  In major cities you may find tampons with applicators in bigger supermarkets, but expect little variety.

Philippines – While pads are definitely more common, it sounds like it’s getting easier to find tampons as well.  For tampons, look in stores like Rustan’s Supermarket, Watson’s, Mercury Drugstore, S&R and the SM department stores in Manila.

Qatar – Wide range of pads and tampons available in the supermarkets and pharmacies  of Doha.  Another reader reports that tampons are “a rare commodity and astonishingly expensive when you can buy them”, so if you’re leaving Doha you’ll probably want to pack your own!

Saudi Arabia – Pads are widely available, tampons are not.

Singapore – Singapore is a great place to get your period!  Pads from Chinese, Japanese, American and European brands are widely available.  Tampons with applicators can be found in many places as well; for applicator-free tampons look in supermarkets and drugstores.

South Korea – Pads are available at convenience stores, though many brands are “bulky”.  Tampons with applicators are often available as well, but there are limited brands and sizes as most women only wear them for swimming.

Sri Lanka – Tampons and pantyliners are still not widely available as of 2016.  Pads are widely available, but consider bringing your own as reports state available pads are “terrible quality” and may be “bulky”, “leaky” and “odiferous”.  I strongly recommend packing a Tampax Multi-Pack before you go.

Taiwan – Tampons with and without applicators, as well as pads, are widely sold.  Western, Japanese and local brands are available.  One of our readers noted that you can also buy small papers bags into which you can put feminine hygiene products as you’re leaving the store, so that nobody else sees them.

Thailand – Pads are widely available, while your best bet for tampons is often the selection of OB tampons from the nearest 7-11.  If there’s a Boots nearby you may find tampons with applicators as well.

Turkey – Sanitary napkins (pads) can be found in any supermarket or pharmacy.  For tampons, you’ll need to go to a major supermarket or pharmacy, and tampons without applicators are more common.

United Arab Emirates (including Dubai and Abu Dhabi) – Wide range of pads and tampons available in supermarkets and pharmacies.  In emergencies, shopping malls tend to have pad and tampon dispenser, too.

Vietnam – Pads are widely available.  Tampons without applicators (mainly OB brand) are found mostly in big cities, but even then not in all urban supermarkets.

Yemen – Pads are widely available, while tampons are not.

Pads and tampons in Australia and Australasia

Australia – Pads and tampons without applicators are available everywhere (supermarkets, convenience stores, etc.).  De Jour tampons with applicators available less commonly but at many major supermarkets and shopping malls.  U by Kotex have recently introduced their applicator-free line to Australia as well.

New Zealand – Pads, and tampons with and without applicators, available at supermarkets, pharmacies and convenience stores.  One visitor noted that she could not find “light” absorbancy tampons with applicators, though it was easy to find them without.  Common brands include Libra and Carefree.

Pads and tampons in Europe

Austria –  It’s easy to find pads and OB tampons (without applicators, most often in regular absorbancy).  Recently, OB has introduced tampons with applicators in two sizes, and menstrual cups are available at chain pharmacies.

Belgium – Pads and tampons (with and without applicators) are widely available.

Bosnia and Herzegovina – Pads and tampons without applicators are widely available.  I recommend checking DM, a chain of drug stores.  A limited selection of tampons with applicators was available as well, but not in heavy absorbancies.

Bulgaria – Pads and tampons without applicators are widely available.

Croatia – Pads and tampons (with and without applicators) are widely available in drugstores and supermarkets.

Czech Republic – It’s easy to find pads and OB tampons (without applicators), and with a little searching you can find tampons with applicators too.

Denmark – Pads and tampons (with and without applicators) are widely available.  I found Tampax Super Plus at the first beauty supply store I visited in Copenhagen.

Finland – Pads and tampons (with and without applicators) are widely available at any store that sells food, and at kiosks.  OB’s applicator-free tampons and Always pads are the  most common brands, though Vuokkoset is a Finnish company making 100% cotton products that are also widely available.

France – Pads and tampons without applicators are widely available.  Tampons with cardboard applicators available in major cities; few or no tampons with plastic applicators for sale.  100% cotton products are available in health food stores, but are expensive.

Germany – Pads and OB tampons without applicators widely available.  Tampons with applicators are difficult to find, though if you’re passionate about Tampax you can find them at the English Shop in Cologne.

Hungary – Pads widely available.  Tampons with applicators available in very few shops in Budapest only.  Otherwise, it’s OB.

Ireland – Pads widely available.  Tampons with and without applicators widely available as well.  Menstrual cups can be found in major pharmacy chains like Boots.  Emergency contraception is available over the counter.

Italy – Pads and tampons are widely available.  While the variety of pads is extensive, tampons are primarily limited to OB (without applicator) and Tampax (with applicator).  Supermarket prices are better than pharmacy prices.

Latvia – Pads and a wide range of tampons are widely available.

Lithuania – Pads and tampons (with and without applicators) can be easily found in supermarkets and pharmacies across Lithuania.

The Netherlands – Tampons with and without applicators are widely available.  Pads are available too, but they’re called maandverband, which translates to “month pads”!  Too cute!

Norway – Pads, pantyliners and tampons can be found in all supermarkets.

Poland – In Warsaw, Carrefour carries a wide range of pads and tampons.  Throughout the rest of the country, most supermarkets and pharmacies will also have a good range of pads and tampons.

Portugal – Pads and tampons (with and without applicators) can be found in every supermarket.  Hypoallergenic pads are also available in some supermarkets and pharmacies.

Romania – Pads are widely available.  Many mini-markets have open packages of (wrapped) pads and you can buy individual pads if you don’t need the whole package.  If you’re wondering where to buy OB tampons, check upscale pharmacies.  OB-style tampons are much easier to find than the elusive tampon with cardboard or plastic applicator.

Russia – Pads and tampons are widely available, with the best selection being in supermarkets.  In major cities you will often find Tampax Compact (with a plastic applicator) as well as a range of tampons without applicators (including OB).  In towns and villages the availability of tampons with applicators is limited.

Serbia – Pads and tampons without applicators (mainly OB) are widely available.  Tampons with applicators are expensive and hard to find.

Slovakia – Pads and tampons (especially OB and Kotex) are widely available.

Spain – Pads are widely available.  Tampons with and without applicators have become more widely available in the past few years; look in major supermarkets and pharmacies.  100% cotton products can be found in some pharmacies, for the health-minded, and Carrefour has introduce a new menstrual cup in two sizes.

Sweden – Pads and OB tampons without applicators are widely available at supermarkets, pharmacies, convenience stores, etc.  Tampons without applicators are less common; the brands that are easiest to find are OB, Libresse and  Lil-Lets.

Switzerland – Pads, tampons with applicators and tampons without applicators are widely available.

United Kingdom – Pads, liners and tampons with and without applicators are widely available.  For the best price, look at a chain chemist (chain pharmacy) such as Boots or Superdrug.  Unlike much of North America, don’t expect to find vending machines selling pads and tampons in public washrooms.

Pads and tampons in North America

Canada – Pads and tampons are widely available at supermarkets and pharmacies (“drug stores”).  Tampons available with applicator (cardboard or plastic), or without (OB).  “Ultra” absorbancy tampons are rarely available (check Safeway) but can be ordered online.  Reusable menstrual cups are also available at many drugstores and health food stores.

Costa Rica – Pads are easily available.  Tampons are available, but are very expensive and limited in variety.

Cuba – It is rare to find a supermarket that sells pads or tampons, and hotels don’t have extra stock if you’re taken by surprise.  If you’re able to find pads, they tend to be thick and bulky. Pack your own.

El Salvador – Pads are easily available in cities like Santa Ana, San Salvador, and San Miguel.  Tampons are nearly impossible to find.

Guatemala – Tampons and pads are easy to find in Guatemala City, but variety may be very limited.  Check supermarkets like La Torre or Paiz.  In rural areas it can be difficult to find any feminine hygiene products, but you might get lucky and find Kotex pads.

Honduras – Pads are widely available in urban and rural areas, and it is becoming increasingly more common to see tampons with applicators in major supermarkets.

Mexico – Pads are widely available.  Tampons available at most major supermarkets, with and without applicators.  It is easier to find lower-absorbancy tampons, though “Super-Plus” were available at Mega supermarkets during the author’s last visit.

Nicaragua – Sanitary pads are widely available, but it is difficult to find tampons.  Your best bet for tampons is a pharmacy in a larger town.

Panama – Pads are widely available.  Tampons are available in large cities (Panama City and David, mainly), at supermarkets and pharmacies.  Thong pantyliners are very hard to find.  One writer reports that a local teacher asked her to teach her female health class students about tampons, because the teacher was unfamiliar with them!

Trinidad – Pads, and tampons with and without applicators, are widely available.

United States – Pads, and tampons with and without applicators, are widely available.  Reusable menstrual cups are also available, most often at health food stores.

Pads and tampons in South America

Argentina – Pads are available in every supermarket, pharmacy and corner store.  The Great Argentinean Tampon Crisis of 2015 has ended, and tampons are once again widely available (though brands without applicators are more common).

Bolivia – Pads are everywhere in all different shapes and sizes.  Occasionally you might find tampons (without applicators) in a major supermarket, or if you ask at a pharmacy, but don’t expect to find a variety of brands or sizes.

Brazil – Pads are widely available in Brazil.  It is also easy to find tampons without applicators at supermarkets and pharmacies, but you might have to ask at a few different pharmacies to find tampons with applicators.

Chile – Most women in Chile wear pads, so you’re likely to find them anywhere you need them.  Tampons with and without applicators are becoming more common, too.

Ecuador – It is easy to find many kinds of pads.  Very few women use tampons, so while you can find OB-style tampons (no applicator) in a supermarket or pharmacy, you  might get some weird looks.  If you want tampons with applicators bring them from home!

Peru – Major supermarkets like Plaza Vea have a wide assortment of pads, and a limited variety of tampons.  Smaller supermarkets, pharmacies and even corner stores have fewer pads and may also sell one or two types of tampons.

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  • Superbly unique. That no other female traveller has thought about this one. Should trend better than sleeping in airports.

  • I usually devote a section of my backpack for the mini tampons (with applicators)… Not sure what I will do when I travel indefinetly…. I’ve actually considered having them (and my beloved deodorant) sent from home…. Love the adventure– but a girl has gotta feel good… Great concept for the blog, btw, glad I’m not alone 🙂

  • Laura

    Found your blog through Jezebel and I just added your first 2 African countries!!
    Really cool project and so useful.

  • Vivien

    Great idea! I just submitted some Africa and Asia input. Thanks for starting this section of the blog!

  • Thanks to everyone who has submitted tips so far! Every tip submitted through the end of August 2012 has been added- keep them coming and I’ll keep posting!

  • What a helpful post!

  • Michelle Diana

    I’m preparing to study abroad in Morocco and have been terrified thinking about this! Thank you so much!!!!!!!!

    • Hello This is Wubbies Wonderful Thank you so much for liking my post it just that in two days I’m going to camp so I minus well get a haul over with.

  • I grew up in Newfoundland, Canada in a very small community and “super” absorbency and any other kind of tampons were available everywhere (you can get them in gas stations and grocery stores even). Any kind of liner, pad, tampon, etc.

  • This is really useful! Though I have to say, as a Malaysian myself, I never knew they sold birth control pills OTC

  • A needed post. Good on you

  • I am not concerned with tampons but with panty liners. I have difficulty working which are they when I cannot read the language or even worse the script. I have made some inappropriate purchases. Any ideas travellers!

  • Desertrose

    I live in Qatar and I can unreservedly say that Tampons are a rare commodity and astonishingly expensive when you can buy them – particularly Tampax. OB are now available more widely than they used to be but they are still quite rare – certainly higher absorbencies. In all seriousness, my advice is bring your own, I always bring them back from the UK with me.

  • Fca

    Hi, great idea! Just to mention that I live in the UK and we do have vending machines with pads, tampons, condoms etc in the majority of public toilets!

  • Wanderlust

    This is an amazing idea for a travellers website, so helpful to women who like the backpacking lifestyle. I’m planning on going to South America soon so this blog has been really helpful. I done a google search about feminine hygiene products available there, and I’ve looked at some of the products online, but my main concern is tampons with applicators with a low absorbency, they don’t seem to be available anywhere in the world apart from the UK. If you’re travelling indefinitely, how much do you take with you? Looks like I’ll have to sacrifice some clothes for tampon space in the backpack!

  • This is an awesome resource! More than happy to contribute my knowledge of sanitary products in Cambodia. On a recent school trip I was lucky not to need them but was keeping an eye out for the unfortunate girls who needed them whilst we were away.

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  • MommaL

    Panama – Started early on the Island of Bocas del Toro. Fem. Hyg. was only available at the pharmacy and was very limited and expensive. One small box of tampons was over $9USD. I have learned that my periods are heavier and less predictable in the tropics.
    I travel a lot and am planning on being abroad for most of a year. I’m still hoping for some type of reusable device that works for me. The Diva cup just doesn’t fit right. Would love to hear about other women’s experiences.
    Thanks

  • Rachel

    Travelling indefinitely sounds fun!
    But when you have a health issue and need to go to the doctors 3x per week even when travelling it gets very expensive.
    2 weeks away from Canada adds $4,000 to any trip for me.

    when I do travel I bring feminine products, soup mix, coffee and tea packets and some cereal pakets as often airport food sucks or has been closed when i am there.

  • Hayliee

    in chile you can find tampons with applicators in any “walmart” or lider…

  • Tammy

    This is excellent! This is definitely something girls need to know!

  • I LOVE this, what a great idea! Do you need one for Costa Rica? Or do you have one in the works?

    • I haven’t been to CR yet so I’d love to know what’s available!

      • I’ll do a little research and get back to you!

  • Laurice

    Hi, in the Philippines it’s mostly pads that are available in the shops and supermarkets. S&R is a members-only supermarket, and they import a lot of products, tampons included.

  • I cannot believe that in all my years of reading travel blogs I’ve never come across something like this. THANK YOU in advance!

  • Luv this post!!! Very interesting!!! 🙂

  • Just a quick note to explain all of the funny comment logos – I moved to Disqus in May, 2014 but wanted to preserve all of the original comments that you left. From this point forward your Disqus avatar should appear next to your comments. Thanks!

  • Feli

    Just want to add my frustrations with living in Bolivia to the list! Pads are everywhere every corner store in all shapes and sizes but tampons seem to be taboo! I have found in random super markets th OB kind with no applicator and only in one size so they only last me about 2 hours! I recently went into a random store and was excited to find a new brand was making them (Kotex) and now in different sizes and even a few with applicators-very expensive and I haven’t been able to find them again!

  • sarah martin

    This is a very exhaustive list! My first trip to Japan I asked for tampons in a pharmacy, only to be confronted by 3 giggly girls who eventually found some hidden away in another room. Obviously too embarrassing to put them on general display. I later found this was common in Asia.
    It’s true what you say about China; where tampons are on display they are normally on the top shelf, clearly there only for us Western giants.

  • LeezaLoo

    Hey everyone! I am currently living in Guatemala and submitted some info about Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Costa Rica (information is already published about Nicaragua, and I haven’t yet been to Belize and Panama). Tampons are difficult to find in all of Central America (they are considered somewhat of a societal and religious taboo), and of the ones you can find, there is a very limited selection and they are ridiculously expensive. I have been living here for several years now, and always make sure to bring several jumbo boxes of tampons back with me whenever I visit the States. Hope this is helpful and keep up the great work!

    • lipglossandabackpack

      Thanks! Something went wonky with my comments so I don’t think your comment is showing up, but I can read it and I’ve added in the info you shared!

  • Loli

    I just want to mention that in Spain tampons with applicator are VERY common. You will find Tampax in supermarkets and pharmacies and in some stores the own store brand is also available. I don’t understand why the post says otherwise.

    • My original post was based on a submission from someone living in Spain, but I guess different products are available where they live than when you are! I’ll update shortly, thanks!

    • Teo

      Hi! I am a tourist, currently in a small seaside resort in Spain and I’ve been in at least 4 ‘mercados’ and couldn’t find a single tampon. It’s driving me crazy. Back home (that is Romania) you can find tampons, pads or whatever it is that you need – everywhere, be that mini-store, supermarket, pharmacy etc. It is so frustrating that I’m at the beach and I have to wear pants just because I refused to include some OBs in my luggage. 🙂

  • I definitely encountered this issue when I was doing a homestay on Amantani Island in Lake Titicaca this summer! Bringing your own toilet paper is definitely key, and some people also recommend bringing ziplock bags in case you absolutely have to carry your used products out with you.

  • aneli

    Hi people,
    I am French and I can tell you that tampons with plastic applicators are available in all supermarkets in France. Just look for the brand Tampax 🙂

  • Frustrated

    Actually in our nearest supermarket in Hanoi Vietnam (which is a very big supermarket) they have pads but no tampons at all. Really frustrating. I believe that in the countryside in Vietnam it gets difficult to even find pads.

  • A

    I just had to respond to this. I have been using the Diva Cup for several years now, and have not bought a pad or tampon since. These things are amazing and I can’t imagine traveling anymore without one.
    (www.invisiblecompass.wordpress.com)

  • Josephine Assenga

    So i’m wondering, seeing as I come from Tanzania and have used the OB Tampons, I am thinking about possibilities of importing and selling them to the Tanzanian woman. Any ideas on best way to approach this would be highly appreciated. Thanks!

    • I wish I knew about international imports and exports, but unfortunately I don’t have any background in that area. I’ll tweet out your question and see if anyone responds!

  • Erica Laue

    I *love* this list. While I use the DivaCup for a variety of reasons, there have been times when access to something else has been necessary and I really appreciate having this handy reference guide available. Keep it coming!

  • Joan

    This info is really handy for travelers. Well, me, haven’t been to any that much, except in my head. In the Philippines, even the smallest store around the street curb has the sanitary napkins.
    Have yet to try using tampons.

  • Sam

    In Bolivia, tampons are sold behind the counter in pharmacies. Applicator and non applicator available, but you have to go ask! I struggled to find any in China and we were in all the big cities. In Hong Kong, sanitary towels and panty liners are available in all beauty stores and supermarkets everywhere but only a few have tampons and then normally only a choice of one or two types.

  • Lisa

    Regarding Sweden , without applicator is used by 99% and the brand mentioned above I´ve never heard of ever ,OB is sold everywhere .

  • Anon.

    I’m from Malaysia and just to let you know, pads are sold in pharmacies as well as supermarkets but I’m not sure about tampons because I’ve only seen them at pharmacies. The only tampon brands that are available are Playtex (only the gentle glide ones) and OB. They can be found at popular pharmacy chains such as Guardian and Watson and are indeed very expensive. I cannot remember the price of OB but it costs about RM32 (USD 9) for a box of 16 Playtex gentle glides.

  • Nicole

    Thanks for the information but please think about all the waste you’re producing using tampons and pads (up to 17,000 pieces in a lifetime). I can really recommend using a menstrual cup like a Ruby Cup, or Diva Cup, or from Me Luna, or Si Belle, or Yuuki, or Juju or so much more (just search on the internet).

  • Spanish traveler

    Thanks for the information!
    But… you can find easily tampons in all teh supermarquets in spain. Maybe more of them are with applicator, but it exists with out applicator too

  • Tom

    This post is so helpful! My girlfriend and I will be travelling to SE Asia in October and moving to China to teach next year. Even as a guy I sometimes join in using ‘feminine hygiene products. Knowing pads are in supply is comforting! Thanks.

  • Dakota Krienke

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! Awesome post.

  • Tara Fitzgerald

    This was a lifesaver. Although if possible, maybe you could add what pads and tampons are called in the relevant languages? I’m having trouble asking my host mother where the nearest place to buy pads is, and I figure there might be other people with similar problems. Thanks again!

  • Mayara Herrero

    I have never seen tampons with applicators in Brazil, and I live here. Also, tampons are way more expensive. I don´t know why usa people prefer tampons so much.

    • McKenzie

      They have the Tampax Pearl ones but they are super expensive.

    • pinthedonkey

      I’m in tibau do sul at the moment and they do have tampax w/ applicators at the pharmacy.

  • Pineauoleary

    Thanks for this! I’d love it if you could set up a price comparison list. I’m from the UK and on holiday in Canada – I’ve just been into a drug store to buy tampons and wondered if there was a hidden camera filming my reaction to the prices. I mean, $7 for 18 of the cheapest i could find compared to £1 for 12 in Boots at home???? If I’d known I’d have packed an extra case full of the things to sell on the black market!

    • If you’re paying $7 for 18 tampons in Canada then you’re shopping in the wrong places (or buying organic tampons at the health food store?)! I have been all across Canada and $7 is about the normal price for a box of forty Tampax tampons when they’re not on sale. Check drugstores like Shopper’s Drug Mart, or go to a superstore like The Real Canadian Superstore (known as Loblaws in the east) or Walmart for much better prices!

      • Pineauoleary

        I suspected as much at the time. It was a Rexall and not a big branch so probably more than elsewhere. What with the jetlag and the unexpected need I couldn’t be arsed to shop around. At least I still have 15 souvenirs of my trip to Toronto. For the record they were Playtex Sport (they were on offer, and genuinely the cheapest there) and not recommended for comfort or performance!

  • Gigi

    Just a note on France. Tampons with plastic applicators are available in almost all stores these days. Check a Carrefour (similar to Asda in UK or Walmart in USA) and Mono Prix stores (clothing & grocery store). Brands are Tampax and Nett.

  • Wendy Yoong

    Im from Malaysia, n other than tampons & pads being available at pharmacies (as mentioned in one of the comments below), the birth control pills are available without prescriptions needed. I buy mine (Marvelon brand) for rm15.

  • Bec

    This is so interesting and important! I’m Australian so I’ve never understood the whole ‘applicator’ thing. I wouldn’t even know how to use one! Headed to Bolivia from Peru today.

  • Sunflowers

    I find this comment in the article seriously disturbing: “A reader reports that she has never seen a female working in a Pakistani pharmacy, and many men in the country don’t understand menstruation.”

    How on earth can these men NOT understand? They are the other half of the equation that produces babies… this is ridiculous in 2015.

    • Sadly, I live in a progressive, Western country and even here parents are allowed to opt their children out of lessons about sexual health (anything from body parts to contraception to consent) at school if they feel those lessons don’t align with their family’s values. Governments everywhere need to ensure that ALL children receive a proper education, including in matters relating to sexual and reproductive health.

      • Sunflowers

        Except for the fact that these “men” had to have mothers, sisters, and possibly wives. They are not children. If they were functioning adults in paying jobs (article stated they worked in a pharmacy) there is no way they can not understand this! Even those that didn’t go to college and work a farm understand this. Every farmer knows about biological cycles of animals.

  • AmsterdamGirl

    I live in the Netherlands, in Amsterdam, but I have to tell you guys that although we do have tampons with plastic applicators, they are very rare. You have to go to the bigger supermarkets to get them.

  • That Guy in LA

    My girlfriend and I are traveling in Ecuador and her PH is way off. Her GYN told her to find a vinegar douche, but we haven’t been able to- can anyone help?? We’re currently in Quito and it’s putting her in a foul mood (understandably). Help?

  • Thanks for the info!

  • Nana

    Living in Hong Kong, I can say most of the girl uses pads rather than tampons/menstrual cup/reusable pads. When you discuss

    Pads with various kind of brands/cm(we dont use fluids as measure unit) are common to find in supermarket/beauty shops/pharmacies.

    Not all of the maxi pad looks that thick, like KAO Speed+ 35cm/Center-in 30cm. You cant imagine how light they are..lol

    Ob(without applicators),playtex(Gentle Glide) and tampax(card board) are the brands u can find in stores. Sometimes organic tampons can be found in supermarket. Noticed that not many stores(exp the smaller one) sell all absorbency range.

    For the UK/US/JAPAN people who want to use the brand from ur country:
    superdrug(not sure if they import tampons, tho):can be found in parknshop/Taste.
    Always(maxi series): prizemart(However not many stores sell this pads)
    Center-in/Sofy/ELIS:759 store

  • Nana

    Living in Hong Kong, I can say most of the girl uses pads rather than tampons/menstrual cup/reusable pads. When you discuss

    Pads with various kind of brands/cm(we dont use fluids as measure unit) are common to find in supermarket/beauty shops/pharmacies.

    Not all of the maxi pad looks that thick, like KAO Speed+ 35cm/Center-in 30cm. You cant imagine how light they are..lol

    Ob(without applicators),playtex(Gentle Glide) and tampax(card board) are the brands u can find in stores. Sometimes organic tampons can be found in supermarket. Noticed that not many stores(exp the smaller one) sell all absorbency range.

    For the UK/US/JAPAN people who want to use the brand from ur country:
    superdrug(not sure if they import tampons, tho):can be found in parknshop/Taste.
    Always(maxi series): prizemart(However not many stores sell this pads)
    Center-in/Sofy/ELIS:759 store

  • srishty grover

    Hello everyone, this is a hugely informational article! 🙂 Just wanted to ask does anyone know the scene in Slovenia regarding sanitary pads? Didn’t find anything on the internet regarding Slovenia/Ljubljana!

  • pinthedonkey

    Info on indonesia (as per last year when i was traveling there): pads easily available even in villages, just less variety in brand names and types. Tampons are only availavle in bali now, and even then it’s very limited.

  • Kinga

    Hi! I’m from Hungary and I wold like to add that you can find OB everywhere but I have only seen Tampax (regular or super) in Rossmann and Auchan (in the countryside too). Bigger stores (like DM, Müller, ect.) have their own brand, however the most of them without applicators. There are a lot of type of pads like Always, Naturella, Libresse, ect.

  • Tima

    I love this list thank you. Also note that in England they have super plus extra tampons by lil lets I found that to be a lifesaver as I’ve got a heavy flow and Boots in the U.K have the Aussie brand Cottons which is awesome

    • Cargirl

      They also have lil-lets ultra which holds up to 21g. Not in every shop but a large Boots or Tesco may have them.

  • I will be traveling to Honduras. Is it safe to wash my menstrual cup in water that is not drinkable?

  • Brianne Toma

    So should I embarrass myself and bleed all over in public or would you like to not see that mess which results in traumatic humiliation? Females have enough issues to deal with I doubt quitting tampons is a high priority. EVERYTHING causes cancer these days. I’d watch the so-called scientists and doctors about what they say and how they try to control the populace because most of what they say is only to get funding. What are great cancer fighters? Eating healthy and exercising. Oh and not telling a woman what to do.