Friday, May 20, 2011

For The Ladies

This post discusses issues strictly relating to the female realm. Though not graphically detailed, the boys may not be super interested in continuing down the page. However, if you happen to be a husband or boyfriend, you will score BIG brownie points for having read this and applying the advice within.

Since I had had my son nearly three years ago, that special time of the month has gotten progressively worse. In the days leading up to the main event I am exhausted, nauseous, headache ridden and am generally not the nicest person to be around. And though this has always been the case since it all started 15 years ago, the birth of my son seemed to be a catalyst of some sort, upping the ante and sending me straight down the path to premenstrual hell.

Last month was the WORST visit from Aunt Flo I have yet to experience. The worst. At one point I actually thought I might have contracted the flu. The pain was unspeakable. I couldn't stand up straight and spent THREE DAYS hunched over, clutching at my aching insides, whimpering and yelling and then ultimately, breaking into tears. I'm not one to pop pills but I kept the ibuprofen coming in a steady stream. I broke out the well loved aromatherapy book and slathered myself in the recommended oils. I took warm baths and drank herbal teas but I could not get rid of the spasms that started in the front of my belly and spread like fire to my lower back. It was like being in early labor!

As I was writhing in pain one night, trying desperately to sleep, my husband suggested I try a heating pad. Genius! Unfortunately, we don't have one. I rifled through our medicine chest looking for something, anything, that might produce heat. I came across an old Thermacare Heat Wrap that my Mom had left on her last visit. I have no idea what makes them heat up or stay hot...probably some weird chemical reaction that does who knows what to us when we wear them. But at that point, I wasn't too concerned with absorption of chemicals or the environmental impact of such an intervention. I strapped that bad boy on backwards across my belly and as it began to radiate gentle heat, I was finally able to drift off, blissfully pain free.

Heat, it seems, is my answer. After last month's experience, I don't want to be caught without something to warm and soothe my angry uterus. I thought about buying a heating pad but I'm not too keen on the idea of having to plug it in. It's a waste of electricity and  I don't want to fall asleep with "live wires" in my bed. I want something safe, that uses minimal wattage to power, and is as natural as possible. I googled those very terms and came up with a variety of solutions, most in the form of "rice bags." Basically, rice (or flax, or buckwheat or whatever) is sewn into a bag, put in the microwave and applied to the affected area. I couldn't believe what some of these people are charging for what is essentially rice in a bag. So I decided to make my own. Here's what I did:

  • First, I scented my rice. This isn't necessary but I figured if I'm in pain, I could use a little relaxing aromatherapy while I wait for the heat to work. According to my trusty aromatherapy book, geranium and lavender are perfect "women's oils". I used 10 drops of each on one huge bowl of basmati rice.
  • I measured from hip bone to hip bone to determine the finished length of the bag and from hip to belly button for the width. For example, my finished bag needed to be 12" x 6". This is by no means a particular measurement.  I just wanted to make sure it covered  my cramp prone area.
  • I  cut two rectangles from my fabric, adding to my measurements for seam allowances. For my bag, I used a fabric remnant I got for a song. Some people like to make an outer case for their bag so that it can be washed but I wasn't feeling that fancy.
  • I sewed around my bag twice to make sure the seam was good and sturdy. I filled 'er up (not too want to be able to mold it around you!) and sewed it closed. That's it! Period pain be gone! Put the bag in the microwave for about three minutes and revel in it's healing warmth.
I told her to give me her best tummy ache face and this is what I got. HILARIOUS!



  1. Micro bean bags are brilliant. When MKid had growing pains, it was the only thing that would soothe him enough so that he could sleep.

    Guess when we're really off grid I'll have to resort to an old fashioned hot water bottle again - we won't have a microwave.

  2. That is such a great idea! I need to learn to sew! I love this project!