The Mystery Of The Missing OB Tampons


Something very strange has been going on in the world of menstrual management products. A month after I wrote about OB Ultra tampons being discontinued, it seems any type of OB tampon is impossible to find.

Over at the site Write The Company, an OB tampon post is flooded with comments from women not only searching for OB Ultra, but any OB tampons. The buzz started earlier this year, grew in November, and by early this month, women were posting that their drugstore shelves were bare. Women are “shocked,” “devastated,” and angry. Elizabeth writes, “I think I’m going to write to The First Lady about this. She, after all is a woman who obviously is still within the age range to know how it feels on a monthly basis to worry if you’re leaking or not.”

One young lady claims:

I emailed the company and asked if the ultras are temporarily or permanently discontinued, and this is the response I received today: Unfortunately, our o.b.® Ultra Absorbency Tampons has been permanently discontinued.

Permanently! When I wrote the company, I was told the Ultra had been discontinued temporarily. Permanently is a big deal. Many women with heavy periods rely on OB Ultra to get them through the day, and panic has set in. There’s a petition to boycott (or “girlcott”) the company, and another petition begging Johnson & Johnson bring back OB Ultras. Meanwhile, demand for OB Ultra is so high that four boxes are selling on eBay for a whopping $142.

The thing is, all OB tampons are missing. A Boston news site reports that there are zero OB tampons to be found in Beantown. Consumerist claims that while Ultra absorbency will never return, the other OB tampons should be back on the market sometime in 2011. That’s a very long time to wait when you’re brand-loyal and bleed every month.

I’ve received quite a few emails about the elusive product — Jezebel reader type_slowly calls OB “the unicorn of tampons!” Brooke sent a message to say she couldn’t find any OB anywhere in the Pacific Northwest: “It’s the only product line I can think of literally, that I’ve used for more than twenty years. I’m overwhelmed by this state of things.”

The worst part? There’s no information about the discontinuation of OB Ultra on OB’s website. And not a peep about how, right now, you cannot buy the rest of the product line — which is being “delayed” due to an unspecified “manufacturing update.” You’ll only find that out if you call or write the company.

Oh, and by the way, if you check out information about OB Super Plus, you are greeted with a box asking the question, “Heavy Periods?” Clicking this box sends you to a site called Pelvic Health Solutions, which in turn suggests that if you have heavy periods, you may have menorrhagia, in which case you should find a doctor, go on the some kind of birth control or get a hysterectomy.

As the woman who penned the petition asking for OB Ultra to return writes: “I did find it pretty upsetting that O.B. chose to explain no longer carrying the Ultra tampons by posting a link that implies there is something wrong with those of us who prefer using them.”

Me? I am really really really lucky. A reader named Laura found three boxes of OB Ultra in her local Rite Aid and mailed them to me for Christmas (along with a cute card, as seen in the top image). Thank you Laura!!! Hopefully, those boxes and the Diva Cup will get me through the winter. Still, my fingers are crossed that all OB tampons will suddenly return to shelves ASAP in an unprecedented Christmas miracle!

Sizing Up o.b. Tampons [Write The Company]
Boycott OB tampons/ ALL Johnson&Johnson products [Facebook]
The Great Tampon Mystery: Where Have All The o.b.’s Gone? [Common Health]
Where Did All The OB Tampons Go? [Consumerist]
OB Tampons [eBay]

Bloody Hell: My Favorite Tampon Has Been Discontinued
My Bloody Initiation Into The Diva Cup Cult

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