Pain, more pain and hellish cramps. For Period! editor Yayeri, menstruation isn’t exactly the highlight of the month. Taking loads of painkillers of course helps, but there must be alternative ways out there to make your menstruation a more pleasant affair. This time she tries: relief patches.
Menstrual pain relief patches (also called menstrual symptom relief patches) are patches that you stick on your tummy. They come in various shapes, sizes and makes. I try the Luna Patch and Webvrouw’s Succsion’s SincereGel patch.
‘No drugs, no smell, no pain.’ At least, that’s what Luna Patch promises. Now I don’t mind the first two, but if it makes true on its thirds promise, I’ll buy a lifelong supply. Webvrouw’s Succsion’s SincereGel patch just states that it’s for women’s monthly pain. And that it can be used against menstrual cramps, irregular menstruation, lower abdominal bulge, lower backache and chronic gynaecological inflammatory pain. Don’t think I’m suffering from that last one, but if they do something against my menstrual cramps, I’ll be more than happy.
Why stick a patch on your tummy? Simple reason: it’s healthier for your stomach. My preferred painkiller, Naproxen, comes with a long list of warnings. ‘May cause severe allergic reactions in people allergic to aspirin’, followed by symptoms you don’t want to get like asthma and a shock, is the least worrying one (as I’m not allergic to aspirin). Scarier is the warning that’s written on the package in bold, which states that it contains a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), which may cause severe stomach bleeding.
Other NSAIDs include aspirin and ibuprofen. Indeed, all painkillers that are available over the counter. However, they can take a heavy toll on the user’s digestive system and liver, especially if you take too many. Chances of wrecking your stomach are higher if you have some alcoholic drinks or if you take more painkillers than directed. Seeing as I take, uh, well, double the recommended Naproxen dosage for at least three days a month, followed by a massive glass (or two) of wine to numb the remaining pain, a patch definitely seems the healthier option.
‘Lunapatch uses Half-Cell Technology to deliver Naked Electron Therapy’ says the website. I don’t have a clue what that means and I’m slightly worried – electron therapy? Further reading claims it’s simple: ‘Lunapatch contains magnesium which corrodes and gives off solvated electrons which neutralize free radicals. By doing so, this targets the source of pain and reduces pain in a localized area.’ Chemistry was never my strong subject, so I’m not 100% sure what solvated electrons are. Actually, I don’t care how they do it, as long as the pain stops.
‘…purified water, ginger essential oils, basil, chamomile, jasmine, juniper and lavender. ‘Sounds like an interesting gin-tonic,’ is my boyfriend’s comment’
The active ingredients of Webvrouw’s Succsion’s SincereGel patch include polymer gel material, purified water, ginger essential oils, basil, chamomile, jasmine, juniper and lavender. ‘Sounds like an interesting gin-tonic,’ is my boyfriend’s comment, who has obviously not heard the first ingredient. I have to agree with him, apart from the chamomile perhaps. Anyways, I’ll happily stick an entire botanical garden on my tummy if it helps against cramps.
Both patches come with simple instructions that are easy to follow. They’re very thin so they won’t show under a tight dress (not that I’d ever want to wear a tight dress when on my period, but hey, if this is the miracle cure against cramps then who knows).
The Luna Patch includes some small metal discs that have to placed in the hydrogel centre first, whereas with Webvrouw’s Succsion’s SincereGel patch it’s just a case of peeling off the protective film and sticking the patch on your skin. Best place: over the uterus, so around 3 inches below your belly button.
The Luna Patch feels a bit warm, which is a good thing. After half an hour I’m still in pain, not such a good thing. Fast-forward two hours later and still not that much, if any, real improvement. Since the package says you can safely attach two metal discs to the hydrogel at the same time, and even wear multiple patches at once, to increase effectiveness, I stick on another disc. And another patch. And just one more because those cramps are truly horrible. Soon I’ve covered myself in patches, hoping that I’m soon able to ‘operate at my typical peak performance’ as promised by the Luna Patch website. The only performing I end up doing that day is eating chocolate, reading a book and suffering from menstrual pain. Which, to be honest, is very typically me on day 1 of my cycle. At least I’m warm.
‘Before I know it I’ve spent half an hour trying to work out how to exactly describe the sensation of the patch. Without success. However, that was 30 minutes barely noticing my period pain as I was concentrating too much’
Next period, it’s time for Webvrouw’s Succsion’s SincereGel patch, which smells very intense, like a cross between a herbal tea store and a candy shop. Sticking it on my tummy, it feels weird. Not warm, but more of a tingling sensation. It’s a strange feeling, not unpleasant, and before I know it I’ve spent half an hour trying to work out how to exactly describe this feeling. (Without success.) However, that was 30 minutes barely noticing my period pain as I was concentrating too much on the sensation of the patch and how to put this into words. It’s not the miracle cure I’ve been hoping for, as the cramps are still there, but it has caused a distraction by helping me to focus on something else entirely. After a few hours, the smell gets over-powering and makes me a bit nauseous.
Maybe I’m expecting too much, or maybe my period pains are just too horrible for relief patches to deal with. Although the Luna Patches will come in handy when I’m cold, and Webvrouw’s Succsion’s SincereGel patch I’ll certainly keep for day 4 when the cramps aren’t so horrible, both haven’t been the miracle cure I’d hoped for. I’m afraid it’s back to the stomach bleeding causing combination of Naproxen and wine. However, it’s been certainly worth trying out the healthier option. Try it yourself? Get the Luna Patches here and order Webvrouw’s Succsion’s SincereGel patch here.
Freelance journalist Yayeri van Baarsen (32), managing editor of Period! Magazine, is also founding editor of Enjoy the Algarve magazine. Do you have a product that you would like to be tested by Yayeri? Please contact us via redactie <@> period.nl. Special thanks to: Kyle Rodriguez (portret Yayeri).