The first time I got my period, my mother (after crying and then running to tell my father even though I had just asked her not to) got into bed with me and brought a rich, dark chocolate mousse with her. She explained to me that women eat chocolate during their periods because it makes them feel calm and happy. This I found to be true, but when Aunt Flo started visiting with more intensity, mom didn’t coddle, and instead handed me a huge dose of Advil. “Are you crazy?” I shouted. “This will kill me!” “No,” she said, “What’s on the bottle is a safe dose, but they use far more in hospitals when people are in pain. You’re in lots of pain.” And so for years I’ve been shoving Ibuprofen down my throat (usually eight or so a day during ladytime). Clearly, I am not dead from Advil overdose. But I have recently taken a more holistic approach to my life where I try not to go running to chemicals when I need relief. Enter Naturopatch, aromatherapy patches that come in a portable tin. They happen to make a PMS formula that’s supposed to help out with both the physical pain and emotional stress of your period. The main ingredient is rose geranium, which “regulates the mood and diffuses worry and agitation. In a woman the oil can balance hormones in all phases of her life.” Other ingredients include sage (helps with muscle pain) and bergamot (which is warming and regulates mood). Sounds pleasant enough just on its own.
When it comes to major cramps, are you a pill-popper, a “deal-with-the-pain” girl, or a fan of homeopathic remedies like the Naturopatch? [$19, Bigelow Chemists]