Carolines commentary

College students’ periods are costing them much more than the agonizing pain of menstrual cramps. The cost of necessary feminine hygiene products like tampons and pads and over-the-counter pain medication to alleviate the physical symptoms of PMS add up, making Aunt Flo a very expensive lady.

A box containing 36 tampons costs about $7 at Walgreen’s. Yes, there are other options but 70 percent of American women report they prefer tampons to pads according to For Women Only! (a guide to reproductive health).

If a college student were to use one tampon for every six hours, she would use four tampons a day. The average woman’s cycle lasts five days, meaning she would need 20 tampons per period. Multiply 20 by 12 (months per year and number of periods in a year) and then again by four — assuming she finishes her undergraduate career in four years — and the result is 960 tampons. At $7 a box, that averages to a $186 expense over her undergrad career for a biological function she has no control over (unless she were to choose newer forms of birth control such as a Copper Intrauterine Device (IUD), a Hormonal Intrauterine Device, the birth control patch or shot, which are all far heftier expenses than tampons). This does not include the cost of Midol, ice cream and heating pads — methods women use to cope with pain and carry on with their lives uninterrupted while menstruating.

Last week, the High School for Arts and Business in Carona, Queens (NY) became the first to offer its students free sanitary pads and tampons with the instillation of a dispenser in the girl’s bathroom. UTSA should follow this high school’s example.

Free condoms are distributed to Roadrunners, so why is this other aspect of reproductive health that affects half of the student body not also made accessible to us?

Every girl has experienced that moment of panic when her period comes unexpectedly and she’s caught unprepared. You’ve seen her in the hallway, at the JPL and at the Rec. She’s the one with a desperate look in her eye, frantically seeking out another girl with the supplies that she needs before a stain forms and she’s exposed (and humiliated).

Not every girl’s period is completely predictable; these moments calls for improvisation and toilet paper. And she will then spend the remaining school day anxiety-ridden, strategizing how she will secure a more conventional form of cotton.

I have friends who have missed classes because they were unaware their period would come halfway through Texas Politics.

Providing this necessity would allow half of the student body to better focus on their studies, with the peace of mind that comes from having a backup plan.

A free pad and tampon dispenser in university bathrooms would turn a moment of mortification into one of relief while also relieving the broke college student’s bank account.

UTSA has the opportunity to make women more comfortable and confident; pads and tampons should be made free and accessible on campus. Period.

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