Uncramping my style

I used to gobble handfuls of Advil when period pain knocked me out. But thanks to a magical heating pad, I'm ditching the pills



Lynn Harris
July 13, 2005 7:39PM (UTC)

Someone engrave me a silver tampon. As of last August, when I turned 35 1/2, I have been getting my period for 25 years. A quarter-century. Your math is correct: I got it when I was 10 1/2, and I don't even have the giant rack to which I am thus entitled. (Historical note: I am old enough to remember those pads with belts, which, since you asked, are like wearing a hammock.)

But only in the last few years have I started to have monthly bouts of Really. Bad. Cramps. The kind that feel like my midsection's locked in a vise. The kind that wake -- and keep -- me up at night, toggling between Spike and Animal Planet until the drugs kick in. The kind that -- especially since I've been trying to get knocked up -- are pretty much my uterus' way of saying, "BWAAH HAH HAAAAAH!"

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So lately, I'd been dreading my period in more ways than one.

(Gentlemen, if you've made it this far, keep reading. If you, in a Sensitive Guy Unafraid To Purchase Lady Items moment, introduce the product I am about to describe to the woman you love, I am telling you, she will be yours forever. They're actually not even in the Lady Items aisle, so you're golden.)

Then a friend recommended ThermaCare Menstrual Heat Patches. They're like cordless heating pads -- "portable heat therapy" -- and in fact, ThermaCare makes several kinds, designed for lower back, knees, etc.; the Lady kind adheres to your underwear, a big white swath of succor.

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Supposedly -- like those little pouches you put in your ski gloves -- they contain iron and charcoal that heat up when they're exposed to oxygen in the air, but I'm pretty sure they're magic. At the risk of sounding like a PSA ("Hey, kids! Try getting high on life!"), they are so much better than drugs. Not only do they not dissolve your stomach lining, like the handfuls of Advil I used to take for relief, but they also actually work. They heat up almost instantly, and soothe the pain almost as fast. I go to bed with one on, I sleep through the night, I wake up, it's still warm. I walk around with one hidden under my clothes, thinking, "Too bad all you poor slobs don't have a secret toasty little friend like mine!"

I am telling you, it's enough to make you look forward to that time of the month.


Lynn Harris

Award-winning journalist Lynn Harris is author of the comic novel "Death by Chick Lit" and co-creator of BreakupGirl.net. She also writes for the New York Times, Glamour, and many others.

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