If you feel like throwing up, try taking a whiff of hand sanitiser.
Yes, weird, but nauseated patients who smelled pads soaked in the distracting scent of isopropyl alcohol, the main ingredient in many germ-fighting gels, felt only half as sick 10 minutes later than a placebo group did, a new study in the Annals of Emergency Medicine reports. “Other strong smells, such as peppermint oil and especially ginger, can also work,” says study author Dr Antonia Helbling.
ASK THE EXPERT
Why does my stomach feel so uneasy when I have my period?
There are a few possible reasons. The hormonal fluctuations that occur around your period can affect the way food moves through your GI tract, leading to constipation or diarrhoea, says Dr Alyssa Dweck, an ob-gyn and co-author of V is for Vagina: Your A to Z Guide to Periods, Piercings, Pleasures, and So Much More. “Overindulging in sugary or salty foods can further throw you off,” she adds.
To prevent problems, she advises drinking 1.9 litres of water and eating 25g of fibre (about the amount in a cup of lentils, an apple and a half cup of almonds) daily.
If you’re on the pill, though, the placebos in your packet may be the culprits. Some brands contain iron because women are at risk of anaemia during their periods. “But supplemental iron can cause constipation, pain or nausea,” Dr Dweck notes. And many women, especially those with light periods, don’t even need it. Try tossing the placebos instead of taking them. If your stomach feels better, ask your ob-gyn about switching to a pill without the added iron.
Hit your zen spot
You’d think being poked with needles would amp up your tension, but acupuncture actually blunts activity in the part of your endocrine system that produces stress hormones, according to research on animals in the journal Endocrinology. The study’s authors say acupressure may have the same effect. Press the spots that help govern your stress level: They’re located about 2.5cm below your knees, just outside your shin bones.