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The answer

Period poverty – not being able to afford sanitary protection and missing work or education as a result – sounds like something from the Victorian era, but statistics published by the charity Plan International show it is a very real issue for one in 10 girls in the UK. In addition, the figures reveal that around 15 per cent of girls struggle to afford sanitary products, with the same number saying that they have had to ask to borrow from friends, more than one in 10 have had to improvise sanitary wear due to affordability issues, almost 20 per cent have changed to a product that is less suitable for their needs due to cost, and nearly half have missed at least a day of school because of their period.

An added complication is the embarrassment and shame that many girls feel holding them back from asking for help. This is something that pharmacy staff are in a prime position to address. By talking about periods openly and without any awkwardness, they can help young people feel more comfortable discussing the topic and any related issues with people who may be able to help. Another way in which pharmacies can assist is by making sure the sanitary protection range on offer includes low price products, perhaps with an invitation to buy an extra pack for donation to a local food bank, school or youth group if people can afford to.