Is that a Magnet in Your Panties or Are You Just Happy to See Me?
If you've been suffering from distressing menopause symptoms like hot flashes and sleeplessness, there's a new cure for you - panty magnets! Yes it's really that simple! You don't have to chart your symptoms, go to doctors, visit menopause clinics, eat healthy, get more exercise or even consider hormone therapy. All you have to do is slap a magnet on your panties. Who knew it was that simple?
I discovered the panty magnet - which is my flippant name for it, it's actually called a 'Ladycare Menopause Magnet' - when I opened an article on my Facebook about new must have gadgets. Honestly, I think I'd get more use out of the toilet night light than this thing.
Apparently, according to the people who made and market this thing, magnets are the absolute bomb! They can help with pretty much any health problem, so why wouldn't they help with menopause symptoms? The website claims that it works by balancing the autonomic nervous system - which they say goes all wonky when you get to the peri-menopause stage. According to them, balancing the autonomic nervous system will help improve all of these things:
- hot flushes
- night sweats
- sleeping problems
- weight gain
- foggy brain
- heart palpitations
- skin tone
Neat! They even have a doctor that vouches for this, and three studies that show that most women who use the panty magnet see significant results.
It sounds impressive until you take a closer look at this supposed research. First, they openly admit that they do not know how it works. They say that magnets balance the autonomic nervous system but they don't know how and why. It just does, they say.
Second, the studies they cite aren't as convincing as they claim.
The first study was actually about dysmenorrhea (painful periods) not perimenopausal symptoms. In that study, only 35 of the 65 women enrolled completed the study. Of those 35, 17 wore the panty magnet; the rest had a placebo (I guess they wore something in their panties that was not magnetic? The study doesn't say). Of those 17, about half reported a 75% or more reduction in pain and about 30% reported some pain reduction that was less than 75%. Not exactly staggering results, in a very small number of people, for something completely different than what they are marketing this magnet for.
The second study is a summary of a self-report questionnaire by women who received the Ladycare for free after responding to an ad in the Daily Mail. No placebo group in this one. All self-report. All by people who got a product for free by responding to an ad. Ya, just a few red flags there. People who would go to the trouble of responding to an ad to get this thing for free might be people who are actively seeking a solution to a problem that's been quite distressing for them and thus might be highly susceptible to placebo effect. Just saying that might be the case. Still, about 25% of the people who used it reported no effect at all after using it for 3 months. Of those who reported some effect, the results are not impressive, with the majority reporting a 30% to 50% reduction for most symptoms.
The third study is not a study at all, but rather a summary of the second study.
So yes, they do have a doctor involved and there has been some research. It seems impressive if you don't actually click any of the links. But if you read the studies, there is really no conclusive evidence. About three quarters of people say that it did some helpful things for them. Yay!
The website however, pretty much promises that this little panty magnet will change your life. Their FAQ's are loaded with assertions that it will boost your libido, help you sleep, make you lose weight, help you find the love of your life, make you win the lottery (okay I made those last two up, but you get the picture).
The only thing that's good about this is that I don't see how it can really cause any harm. The only major harm I see in this is the same with any of these bogus cure-all products - that some people will ignore signs and symptoms of serious medical issues because they think the panty magnet will help. Other than that, the most serious side effects seem to be that it irritates some people's skin and some people reported feeling a little floopy while wearing it (floopy is my scientific word for dizzy or disoriented). There is one serious side effect that I don't think they anticipated. One of the women who's testimonial I read said that while she was grocery shopping, she discovered that, for her, the magnet sits exactly at the same height as the grocery cart handle. She became stuck to it and had a difficult time freeing herself. So just a heads up about that one!
The upside is that it's very pretty. It's purple (so you know its for women) and sparkly. It might be fun to have a sparkly purple plastic thing attached to your undies.
The other upside is it isn't as expensive as I would have guessed. It's $59 plus about $14 to ship it from the UK. Now, I'm not saying that's cheap, considering I'm guessing it costs about $2 to manufacture it and the packaging for it. But buying this magnet is not going to break your bank. And if it doesn't work, it's a purple sparkly magnet; you can use it to hang takeout menus on your fridge (believe me, when you get to peri-menopause, there will be times when you really need those takeout menus).
If you're thinking of trying this at home, just be aware that you can't simply go out and buy some magnets at the dollar store. The site warns of knock-offs from China that are not the correct power and will thus not work. Yep, that's why they won't work.