TENS for Painful Menstrual Cramps (Dysmenorrhea)
TENS, or Transcutaneous Electrical Neve Stimulation, works by sending low-voltage electrical currents through electrodes placed on the skin. These FDA cleared devices work by preventing the body from transmitting pain signals by overwhelming or “distracting” the nervous system and releasing endorphins. TENS devices were originally designed to alleviate pain from minor ailments such as arthritis and sports related injuries. However, as these devices grow in popularity it is interesting to see what new use cases develop from them. Our team came across a recent article that discussed several TENS devices that are being marketed to help relieve the pain from the female menstrual cycle, alleviating cramps and pelvic pain.
According to a 2020 study published in the International Journal of Women's Health, the TENS unit is effective for relieving pain caused by menstrual cramps or pelvic pain conditions. Since that study was published, a few devices have come to market (Ovira, Vush, and Livia), some even having FDA approval. Though it is possible that the use of TENS devices can reduce pain, it is worth noting that with continuous use it is also possible your body gets used to the stimulation and the device will lose its effectiveness. There are ways to potentially combat this, and that involves using different intensities and durations so your body does not get used to the stimulation. Overall, if you suffer from mild to severe menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea), then using a TENS device specifically designed for the pelvic region could be a new option for you.
To learn more about these devices and how they work, read this article “Do Devices Aimed At Relieving Period Cramps Really Work?”