Wellness

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Photo courtesy of Helena Haro

Shopping with a Scientist:
Gerda’s Period-Support Essentials

Gerda Endemann

Gerda Endemann, our senior director of science and research, has a BS in nutrition from UC Berkeley, a PhD in nutritional biochemistry from MIT, and a passion for cherry-picking from our wellness shop. She hopes her selections are helpful and would love to hear your feedback; email her at [email protected]

Your period is a reminder of what a crazily amazing woman you are with such a complex physiology. It can also be uncomfortable and an inconvenience. Treating

yourself nicely and using organic tampons, essential oils for aromatherapy, and a great multivitamin can help. Menstruation can be depleting, physically and mentally, with ups and downs in mood and energy. There is a fair amount of research around the benefits of essential oils during menstruation, so I’ve included two essential oil products in this list. You might also be interested in herbal support around your period.

Your period is a reminder of what a crazily amazing woman you are with such a complex physiology. It can also be uncomfortable and an inconvenience. Treating yourself nicely and using organic tampons, essential oils for aromatherapy, and a great multivitamin can help. Menstruation can be depleting, physically and mentally, with ups and downs in mood and energy. There is a fair amount of research around the benefits of essential oils during menstruation, so I’ve included two essential oil products in this list. You might also be interested in herbal support around your period.

As a nutritionist, I’m obsessed with making sure that you aren’t tired and weak because of low iron levels, which is why I like The Mother Load. Getting enough iron isn’t always easy for women with heavy periods, so keep an eye on your blood ferritin levels. Eating a lot of red meat is one solution, but most women I know don’t want to do that. Including a little meat and/or vitamin C can increase the absorption of iron from beans and greens. Note: Tea, unless it’s herbal tea, hinders iron absorption.


  1. For Iron—and More

    Not a mom? You still deserve a great, comprehensive multivitamin like The Mother Load because menstruation can be pretty tough on your body. It’s not trivial to replenish the iron you lose with every period, especially if you don’t eat much meat. Iron is essential for energy and endurance and strength. The Mother Load is a combination of supplements—so you don’t have to deal with multiple bottles—that contains all the vitamins and minerals of special concern for women who menstruate, including vitamin B6, folic acid, iron, calcium, choline, and omega-3 fats. Bonus: selenium and iodine for thyroid support.

    goop Wellness the mother load
    goop Wellness the mother load
    goop Wellness
    the mother load
    goop, $90/
    $75 with subscription
    SHOP NOW
  2. Not a mom? You still deserve a great, comprehensive multivitamin like The Mother Load because menstruation can be pretty tough on your body. It’s not trivial to replenish the iron you lose with every period, especially if you don’t eat much meat. Iron is essential for energy and endurance and strength. The Mother Load is a combination of supplements—so you don’t have to deal with multiple bottles—that contains all the vitamins and minerals of special concern for women who menstruate, including vitamin B6, folic acid, iron, calcium, choline, and omega-3 fats. Bonus: selenium and iodine for thyroid support.

  1. Sustainable Game

    What a great way to up your sustainability game. Just the right balance of soft and sturdy, this cup fits right in with your desire to reduce waste—and to save money. The medical-grade silicone is BPA-free, and this model for light to normal flow can be worn up to twelve hours at a time. We’ve heard anecdotally that some women experience cramping with tampons, which was true for me. See if you find this option more comfortable.

    Lunette MENSTRUAL CUP
    Lunette MENSTRUAL CUP
    Lunette
    MENSTRUAL CUP
    goop, $40
    SHOP NOW
  2. Period-Proof

    Attractive, smooth-fitting, and period-proof underwear is a long-overdue concept. Thinx uses four super thin layers of light, cool micromesh fabric to absorb, wick, and stay dry. The underwear can be used as a backup to a tampon or menstrual cup or can take the place of those products. Just imagine: no more running out of meetings to change a tampon.

    Thinx Hiphugger underwear
    Thinx Hiphugger underwear
    Thinx
    Hiphuggers
    Thinx, $34
    SHOP NOW
  3. Organic Pretty

    Give yourself a pretty box of SHE Organic Tampons with three sizes of organic cotton tampons. We deserve organic for everything we put inside our body—chemicals can enter the body via the vagina. And supporting organic farming helps heal the world. Tip: If you have to change a super tampon every half hour, talk to your doctor and make sure to replenish the lost iron—for example, with The Mother Load.

    she organic tampons
    she organic tampons
    SHE.
    ORGANIC TAMPONS
    – 18 COUNT
    goop, $8
    SHOP NOW
  4. Soothing

    Treat yourself to aromatherapy with vitruvi’s Lavender Essential Oil during your next period. Research is validating what healers have been telling us: that essential oils can be soothing when cramps are impacting you. Add a few drops to a vitruvi diffuser. Or dilute the essential oil with olive or jojoba oil, spread it on your hands, and inhale. Try using the diluted oil for a gentle belly massage, too.

    vitruvi LAVENDER ESSENTIAL OIL
    vitruvi LAVENDER ESSENTIAL OIL
    vitruvi
    LAVENDER
    ESSENTIAL OIL
    goop, $18
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  5. Dream Blend

    This blend of essential oils and jojoba oil has an elusive scent—rose with something fresh and delicately herbal. This can be used in a diffuser, or a few drops can be massaged directly onto the skin, for instance on your belly, when you need comfort. Lavender, sage, and rose are among the essential oils that are most soothing during your period.

    uma pure bliss essential oil
    uma pure bliss essential oil
    UMA
    PURE BLISS
    goop, $85
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  6. Orgasmic

    Some women say that orgasm is helpful for cramps. If you need a reason to own this fun, waterproof vibrator, I’d say that’s a good one. And: It’s soft and discreetly quiet.

    Smile makers the tennis coach vibrator
    Smile makers the tennis coach vibrator
    Smile Makers
    THE TENNIS COACH
    goop, $55
    SHOP NOW
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