Anti-Science

New Video! Is That a Magnet in Belinda Carlisle’s Pants?

Here’s the sort-of transcript:

Belinda Carlisle, beloved lead singer of the Go-Go’s, has hit menopause, which yes, should make all of us feel old.

It seems that if there’s one thing worse than bleeding out of your crotch for four or five days a month for 30 or 40 years, it’s menopause. There are emotional swings, anxiety, depression, low-energy, migraines, osteoporosis, and apparently your boobs can get smaller. And, of course, the ubiquitous hot flash, which apparently is known as “hot flush” in the UK.

I know this because Carlisle decided to tell the Daily Mail that she was experiencing hot flushes, that annoying symptom in which you get all sweaty for no apparent reason.

The most effective treatment for menopause symptoms is hormone therapy, which used to be prescribed as a matter of course but now it’s only recommended for particular women, like those who get early menopause, due to it coming with its own set of side effects, like an increased risk of blood clots and breast cancer. For some people, though, the increased risk of those side effects is a good tradeoff for keeping their bone density and not becoming suicidally depressed.

Carlisle didn’t want to bother with the flawed-but-effective treatment, though. Instead, she chose to put magnets in her underpants.

I didn’t even realize this was a thing, but UK skeptic Simon Perry wrote about Boots selling underwear magnets for menopause back in 2011, noting that they made claims that the magnets could “reduce or completely eliminate symptoms of menopause,” a phrase they removed after complaints.

Several studies have been done on these “pussy magnets,” a phrase I promise to never use again. These studies have shown zero efficacy at reducing symptoms like hot flashes or depression compared to placebo, possibly because people don’t actually have subtle energy forces that can be manipulated by tiny magnets in your underpants.

But of course, there will always be people whose symptoms subside at around same time they start a new and otherwise useless therapy, and so we have Belinda Carlisle who has gone public promoting this therapy.

I feel for Carlisle and women like her, because menopause seems to suck for a lot of people, and there is no easy cure-all. For most women, the solution is to just grin and bear it or to work closely with a doctor to get hormone therapy at a level that helps the symptoms but doesn’t significantly increase the danger of other ailments. It would be so nice if there really was a simple, effective, and side effect-free fix. But all the science tells us that as of right now, there isn’t one, and people would be better off talking to their doctors than wasting money on magical underpants.

To conclude here are some alternate titles for this video:

Heaven is a magnet in your underpants

Head Over Heels Because I’m Stuck to This Tin Roof

The Oh-No’s

Her Lips are Sealed with Magnets

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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13 Comments

  1. July 15, 2014 at 1:18 pm —

    I Feel the Magic seems pretty apropos.

  2. July 15, 2014 at 1:38 pm —

    Rebecca Watson,

    Underpants magnates to fight menopause?

    Why does this remind me of “Spirit Science”

    The Spirit Science
    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/The_Spirit_Science

    Spirit Science Tests Spirit Science
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8b3XuPq0nY&list=UUx3s3t5kpD4VMfJjDi5keXw

    • July 18, 2014 at 4:28 pm —

      Steiner defined Anthroposophy as a ‘spiritual science’. That includes things like ‘solar people’ (white Christians) and ‘lunar people’ (everyone else) who can only reflect the solar people’s light but can’t make light of their own. Seriously.

  3. July 15, 2014 at 1:40 pm —

    Rebecca Watson,

    Sorry I don’t know why I ended up posting a link to that playlist instead of the individual video, but the one dealing with “spirit science” is number 4.

  4. July 15, 2014 at 4:55 pm —

    I wonder if the magnetic strips on the credit cards in my pocket had the same effect and that is why I never experienced “male menopause”. No Porsche for me!!

    • July 15, 2014 at 6:41 pm —

      Jack99,

      I think the Mythbusters did an experiment once to see if magnets would destroy credit card data.

      • July 15, 2014 at 8:22 pm —

        Actually, they were looking at eel-skin wallets, the magnets were the controls.

      • July 16, 2014 at 5:26 pm —

        Critical, I vaguely remember that one. Nice link above, as usual!

        If y’all want to try it, put the cards in your left hand pants pocket with the black strips towards your front and facing in.

        Caution: do not reverse the polarity or you may find yourself posting on PUA sites and sitting in nightclubs wearing an open neck shirt and with a gold medallion hanging from your neck.

        I’m thinking of marketing a neodymium magnet for your belt buckle to increase your chi. Can’t fail!

  5. July 15, 2014 at 7:02 pm —

    As Jesse Pinkman would say, “Yeah, bitch, magnets!”

  6. July 15, 2014 at 10:06 pm —

    She blinded me with pseudo-science?

  7. July 16, 2014 at 12:43 am —

    This was particularly good.

  8. July 18, 2014 at 4:33 pm —

    Magnet woo is nothing new, but this is the first I’ve heard of this. I thought it was more often hormones or vitamins that supposedly let you stay young forever.

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