Female hygiene in Italy

written by Tiana Kai

Men, you’re not invited to continue reading this post unless you really want to know your fellow gal pals more intimately and not in the sexy time kinda way.

Ladies, or rather ladies living in Italy, what’s with the short supply of tampons in Italy?
Not to get too personal, no actually lets… I would love to ask a fellow Italian for a tampon without her getting an embarrassed look on her face telling me “oh, let me see… I don’t have one, but I have this” as she proceeds to fork over a 12 inch long 4 inch wide boat that resembles something that I used to wear in high school. I hated high school for many reasons and wearing pads was one of them.

So, what is with the 96% of Italians who don’t want to wear something that can help them swim faster, ride horses and be happier—don’t they want to ride horses? The Egyptians and Greeks were known to use them, so why not modern day Italian women?

Is it a catholic thing? I’ve heard that the church is not particularly against tampons although priests have spoken out associating them with birth control. I kind of (not really) get it if you’re not sexually active, but all the women who’ve offered me boats, I mean pads, are clearly sexually active.

The most common response that I’ve heard is that tampons are unhealthy. The TSS deaths from the 80’s and a few deaths a year in the States seems to be the main reason as to why these ladies stick to pads.

If anything wear tampons during the day and revert back to those boats at night. It’s summertime, so you sure as hell don’t want this to happen to you…

American gals, if you’re traveling to Italy anytime soon don’t forget to pack a box of your preferred female hygiene products (and these other random objects!) because more than likely you won’t find much here. Luckily for me there’s o.b. and one style of Tampax at my closest grocery store… since we just got personal.

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Kaley July 1, 2013 at 2:34 pm

It’s the same in Spain. Don’t get it either!

Tiana Kai July 1, 2013 at 4:32 pm

Ha, I’m starting to think that Americans may use them way more than most… at least that’s what I read while conducting my really super duper intense research. 😉

Elizabeth Knight July 1, 2013 at 4:45 pm

I have often remarked about this!!! I think I mentioned it in a blog once and a commenter living in Rome said she’d never noticed. I was like, you’ve never noticed, whaaaa????? I bring them from the states. SUPER PLUS.

Tiana Kai July 1, 2013 at 5:23 pm

Haha!! You are funny. They have one size fits all here in Florence, so ridic! I told Carmen to pack tons before she moves here.

Becky Padmore July 2, 2013 at 3:56 pm

Who would have thought cultural differences stretches to feminine hygiene as well! Love the boat joke by the way!

Tiana Kai July 4, 2013 at 3:31 pm

Ya, right? Another reason could be price since they are a tad bit more expensive.

Rachel McDonald July 10, 2013 at 3:11 pm

Actually, bring tampax back to Italy with you for a second reason: customs people (always men) never search boxes of tampax. I have brought back a live Mexican agave plant, a taser, pepper spray and various seeds for hot peppers and tomatillos…

Tiana Kai July 11, 2013 at 12:11 pm

HAHA Rachel, boarder patrol is out for you! Great tip though. 🙂

Jill July 10, 2013 at 4:25 pm

An italian girlfriend was bragging to me about her pretty metallic pad (incognito) holding case and so I asked “why do you buy those things in the first place?!”…It seems that they firmly believe that it is unhealthy/unnatural to have a tampon in. “You can die from it. The blood needs to exit the body!” explained my friend.

Tiana Kai July 11, 2013 at 12:10 pm

Ya, I feel it is more of a health thing than anything else… I guess they don’t realize that they can change them many times during the day!

t breazy August 2, 2013 at 4:55 pm

It’s because they don’t have those AMAZING tampax commercials here, informing us ladies of all the fun hardcore adventure activities that can be done while wearing a tampon! I love the ones with women wearing white pants … no woman wears white pants during their period, come on ! I don’t care how big that tampon is.

; p

Tiana Kai August 2, 2013 at 5:59 pm

Haha, so many great points. Maybe an ad agency needs to put money into some action commercials involving horses and diving. Sales would increase incrementally!

The "Must Pack for Italy" List for any expat February 26, 2014 at 6:39 pm

[…] for the ladies, depending on where you live in Italy I would recommend some female products, since not all the stores sell what you […]

fiona February 26, 2014 at 8:41 pm

bluergh,I hate pads too!! Just to throw another idea into the mix, I started using a mooncup instead of tampons a few years ago – wish I’d figured that out sooner as I love it – so convenient and never have to worry about whether I have tampons when “that time of the month” is approaching. I switched mainly for ecological reasons, but mooncups are also supposed to be healthier for you.

Tiana Kai February 27, 2014 at 11:11 am

Oh I’ve never heard of those before, will Google and check it out. Thanks! I prefer the eco route as well, which is why I HATE buying plastic applicators in Italy.

Valeria April 8, 2014 at 5:08 am

i am a Roman born and bred and have never used tampons nor i know of any of my friends using them either. I barely have any anyway because of the pill but with the super thin pads that are out on the market i really have no problem with using them at all.

Tiana Kai April 8, 2014 at 4:02 pm

Women in America take the pill as well, so not sure that is the main reason. I’ve just noticed that it’s more of a culture thing than anything else…but that’s my experience. Lucky you for not needing much during that week! 🙂

Vanessa July 13, 2014 at 4:37 pm

Hey Tiana, i have a simple question 😀 Tomorrow i’m in Florence and i looking for o.b. . So where can i find the grocery store in the you buy them?!
Lovely Greetings Vanessa

Tiana Kai July 13, 2014 at 11:16 pm

I shop at Esselunga, but grocery stores should carry at least one type. Pharmacies may have them too, but since they are smaller you may find one last box left for sale. If you don’t see any just ask for “assorbente”, “tamponi”, or “prodotti femminili”.

Vanessa July 14, 2014 at 8:53 am

Thanks for your help! And another question, it’s raining in Florence ?! 😀

Tiana Kai July 15, 2014 at 2:30 pm

Not right this minute 😉

Deby May 11, 2019 at 8:15 am

They sell tampons in every supermarket, drug stores and pharmacies (a wee expensive). I’m Italian, and I have never used one. But I have many Italian friends and family who do. For me to be honest I’m a lil scared. Maybe in the future ?


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