How do these self-heating stick-on thingumajigs compare to the good old hot water bottle? Reviewed by Catherine Redfern
I’m a sucker for novelty. And what novelty the menstruation industry is providing us with nowadays! Ever since one of the major companies brought out pantyliners for string underwear, the big brand names have been literally falling over themselves with new weird and wonderful novelty sanitary items to win our loyalty. Never has it been so enlightening and interesting to take a wander down the ‘feminine hygiene’ aisle. You have to be grateful we live in a time which caters for the minority of women who want to use sanitary towels and wear a g-string at the same time.
So, imagine how thrilled I was to see that Lil-lets had jumped on the bandwagon and brought out a couple of products to help soothe away those monthly blues and make the whole experience of bleeding even lovelier! One of them is a special ‘soothing’ pot of cream to rub on your tummy to ease the cramps. Wasn’t too bothered with that, to be honest. Any ancient, dusty bottle of massage oil you dig out from the back of the bathroom cabinet will do that job just as well, so I didn’t bother spending my hard earned cash on that one. However, what did catch my attention was the intriguing Heat Soother.
The Heat Soother is a patch about the size of a postcard that you stick to your tummy. It stays in place with a gentle adhesive. Then, says the blurb, it “will gradually warm up to approx. 40°C and provides soothing, comforting heat for up to 8 hours.” You get two patches in one packet.
The patch is supposed to be useful when you can’t wallow at home, curled up in bed clutching a hot water bottle to yourself. Instead you can slap on the patch and just carry on as normal with a secret heat source glowing away keeping those cramps at bay! Well, I didn’t need much more encouragement to give it a go.
So it was that I ended up in a changing room in Dorothy Perkins, peeling away the wrapper and sticking it to myself. My period pains have seemed to get better with age, but they are still bad enough to make me walk around grinding my teeth, looking as though I’m sucking a lemon. Anything that helps has gotta be good.
Well, it did seem to heat up. Once I’d got over the paranoid feeling that I could smell burning, it seemed to sit there nicely giving off a very gentle heat. I admit, I did start to feel better, although the two Nurofen I took at about the same time may have had an influence.
Basically, it was okay. It was good for the novelty factor, and the idea of something magically warming up – and staying warm – was vaguely exciting in a childish kinda way. I kept wanting to put my hands down my trousers and touch it (now there’s innuendo for you), thinking ‘Oooh! Still warm!’ The problem was that I found I couldn’t really notice whether it was warm or not until I put my hand on it. If I put my hand on, I could feel some warmth coming through. But it wasn’t as noticeable through my skin.
It didn’t seem to last as long as 8 hours, and it didn’t stick very well. It was a strenuous day, and my stomach ended up looking sweaty and creased (sorry if this is too much information!). Also, I would have liked it to have given off more heat than it actually was. Maybe I’m just desensitised from too many freshly boiled, scalding hot water-bottles! However I can understand why Lil-lets are cautious of hoards of women with second-degree burns suing them for thousands. The other problem with it is that really, it is pretty expensive, wasteful, and probably not environmentally friendly or bio-degradable. When it comes down to it, you can’t beat the good old hot-water bottle.
But, as I said, you gotta be grateful that the menstruation industry seem to be trying to make life better for us. Let’s hope we see more and more innovation. It’s about bloomin’ time.