First For Women

Is there a natural fix for period pain?



My periods have gotten so painful lately. My friend mentioned there’s a drug-free patch that might help. Is this true?


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 using one 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.


Since menopause, my vaginal odor has changed. It doesn’t smell bad, just different. Should I be concerned?


There’s no need to be! All healthy vaginas have a slight odor. Prior to menopause, the vagina is naturally acidic, but declining estrogen levels cause pH to rise, so it becomes more alkaline. An alkaline pH triggers a reduction in lactobacil­li and other beneficial vaginal bacteria, and this shifting microscopi­c population causes a change in odor. Though most vaginal odor isn’t cause for concern, be alert to any changes: If it becomes fishy or foul-smelling and/or you have a grayish-white discharge, burning or itching, it could be a sign of a bacterial infection, which your doctor can treat with antibiotic­s.

To keep your vagina healthy and minimize odors, wash with a mild, unscented soap, wear loose cotton underwear and avoid douching, which can wash away your vagina’s healthy bacteria.

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