A Doctor’s Advice: ‘Is There a Natural Remedy for Period Pain?’
Turns out, a heating pad works wonders.
The average woman has around 480 periods in her lifetime. That’s a lot of hours spent bleeding and cramping, not to mention shelling out for tampons and pads (those things aren’t cheap!). Period pain might be normalized and expected — but that doesn’t mean you have to suffer in silence. If you’re sick of popping Midol and want to find a more natural fix for period pain, keep reading to see what our expert recommends.
Q: My periods have gotten so painful lately. My friend mentioned there’s a drug-free patch that might help. Is this true?
A: She’s likely referring to reusable patches like Jovi and Kailo, which you stick on your body at the source of the pain — in this case, your lower abdomen. The premise is that the patch’s “nanocapacitors” disrupt pain signals before they can reach your brain. Small studies have shown these patches are safe and may bring some pain relief, but if you decide to try one, know that they’re pricey ($120 to $149) and not FDA-approved.
Another less-expensive remedy you may want to try to ease your cramps: a heating pad. A study published in the journal Evidence-Based Nursing found that heat therapy relieved dysmenorrhea (the medical term for painful periods) as effectively as ibuprofen. Try placing one on your lower abdomen for 15 minutes several times a day during your period. Start on low heat, slowly increasing the temperature and duration as needed.
Put FIRST to work for you!
Barbara DePree, MD, is a gynecologist in private practice and director of Women’s Midlife Services at Michigan’s Holland Hospital. A Certified Menopause Practitioner, she is the founder of MiddlesexMD.com, an educational resource for women’s sexual health in perimenopause and beyond. To ask her a question, send an email to email@example.com.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.