Women trade unionists in Zimbabwe have appealed for international funds to make sanitary towels available at an affordable price.
The economic crisis in the country has led to a desperate shortage of these monthly necessities.
But the issue is considered taboo, and was played down by MPs after being raised in parliament.
Having failed to get any satisfaction at home, the unions are hoping to get help from abroad.
Before the economic crisis got so bad, one of the big multinational companies manufactured sanitary towels in Zimbabwe.
Society finds it taboo to talk about it, so to them it was just a joke, because everyone laughed when they talked about it
But the factories closed.
Now there are no towels manufactured locally, and no foreign exchange to import them.
South African towels are available at black market prices, but one month's supplies can easily cost half a month's wages - much more if a woman has teenaged daughters at home, who also need them.
Tabita Khumalo of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trades Unions (ZCTU) says they tried to raise the issue at home in Zimbabwe, but no one would taken them seriously.
"One MP within the parliament did raise the issue of the sanitary towels," she told the BBC.
"But society finds it taboo to talk about it, so to them it was just a joke, because everyone laughed when they talked about it.
"And I remember one minister said we should go back to history: somebody's telling us now we should go back and use hides."
The minister's suggestion of using animal hides like their grandmothers was not appreciated.
But Ms Khumalo says women are now reduced to using rags and old newspapers, which are uncomfortable and unpleasant and increase the risk of infections.
They also curtail women's activities if they do not feel confident enough to go out and about on certain days of the month.
With the help of trades unions in Britain and South Africa, she and her colleagues are appealing for funds to buy sanitary towels in bulk in South Africa and sell them in Zimbabwe at a price working women can afford.