Aunt Flo’s An Expensive Monthly Visitor: Breaking Down The Costs Of Your Period

May 19, 2015  |  


Being a woman certainly ain’t cheap. In addition to the so-called “pink tax” for which tend to pay more for certain items than do men, there is the costly monthly personal expenses.

Think about it. Menstrual costs include everything from tampons to pain relievers to heating pads for help with menstrual cramps.  Add to this regular doctor’s exams for birth control prescriptions.

What it boils down to is your period is pricey.

“On average, a woman has her period from three to seven days and the average woman menstruates from age 13 until age 51,” reports The Huffington Post. Crunching the numbers, this means that the average woman menstruates about 456 total periods during a 38-year period, or around 2,280 days, which is equal to 6.25 years.

Let’s look at some of the costs. If you take Midol for cramps, a bottle can cost you $8.99 at Walgreens. Over a lifetime of periods you can spend $1,229.83 just on Midol (12 caplets x 456 periods = 5,472 caplets. At 40 caplets per container, that’s 136.8 Midol purchases x $8.99).

Okay getting to tampons, which  70 percent of women use. A box of 36 tampons costs $7 at Walgreens. Since it is advisable to change your tampon every four to eight hours, HuffPo used the average of six for its calculations. One tampon every six hours equals four tampons daily times five days of a period. That’s 9,120 tampons. At 36 tampons per box, that’s 253.3 boxes x $7 = $1,773.33

If you also use pantyliners, which some women do along with their tampons as a safeguard against staining, that will add another $443.33.

Even with all that, you need to buy new underpants (if you wear them… a different story all together). On average, women own 34 pairs of underwear, and if you stain at least one pair per period at $5 at Target a pop, that’ll run you $2,280 for 456 periods.

You also have to count your chocolate cravings during PMS. Total: $912. And acne medication for breakouts. Neutrogena spot cream will run you $94.87 over a lifetime of periods. And $40 for two heating pads for cramping pain.

Lastly, there is the cost of birth control, probably the most expensive item. It has been found that about 80 percent of women use oral contraception at some point in their lives, and 33 percent of women who are covered by insurance still pay some amount out-of-pocket. That can run you $11,400.

Sum total: $18,171. Sound about right to you?

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