Understanding Period Poverty and How it Impacts Women Disabled by ECT

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Many are unable to work after becoming disabled from electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). While some have been able to access disability benefits, the assistance provided is often barely enough to meet basic living expenses.

Fortunately, there are resources and programs designed to help disabled people stretch their limited funds like Benzo Coalition’s extensive resource page that covers everything from getting on disability to student loan forgiveness and Walmart+ and Amazon.com’s discounted grocery delivery programs.

The Hidden costs of Being a Woman

Women disabled by ECT face additional finacial burdens often not talked about openly. On average, women spend $20 per menstrual cycle on pads, tampons, and medications to manage period symptoms.

What Is Period Poverty

Period poverty is described by the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) as the struggle to access and afford menstrual products, facilities, and education. This issue extends beyond just sanitary products to include essential items like pain relief and underwear. The use of unsanitary substitutes such as old rags is a dire consequence of period poverty. This lack of access can prevent women and girls from attending school or work, which can impact their education and career prospects.

The AMWA says this challenge is present in both affluent and developing countries, including the United States, where nearly 17 million menstruating women live in poverty. Those affected often face a higher risk of severe depression and health issues such as urinary tract infections.

Cost-Effective Alternatives

Switching to reusable menstrual products is a good way to save money on this monthly expense.

Period panties, washable pads, and menstrual cups are a sustainable alternative to disposable products. They can also be beneficial fo people those who are allergic to materials used in disposable products.

Although the initial cost may be higher, reusable sanitary products pay for themselves over time. I switched to washable pads during the pandemic when shortages were rampant. Since then I have saved over $500. It’s reassuring to know I will always have what I need even if money gets tight, or there are shortages.


  • Resources like the Benzo Coalition’s support page and discounted grocery delivery services are ways to save money.
  • Period poverty can be another challenge women disabled by ECT face.
  • Switching to reusable menstrual products can help women save money.


[1] Financial Aid Resources and Disability Information https://www.benzoinfo.com/financial-aid-resources/

[2] Discounted grocery delivery programs offer convenience and savings to people disabled by electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). https://lifeafterect.com/discounted-grocery-delivery-programs-offer-convenience-and-savings-to-people-disabled-by-electroconvulsive-therapy-ect/

[3] What to Know About the Pink Tax, Period Poverty and Inflation https://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/spending/articles/the-pink-tax-how-inflation-impacts-the-period-product-industry

[4] Editorial: Period poverty https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9941660/


Anna is a childhood psychiatric drug and a teenage electroshock survivor. She founded Life After ECT to ensure people injured by electroconvulsive therapy have easy access to resources that can help them understand their injuries and find a path to recovery.