Menstrual pain can be debilitating – and according to The Guardian¹, an estimated 90 percent of women suffer from this pain, some experiencing its horrible effects every month. From crippling cramps to aching lower back pain, menstrual pain is often unbearable.
Unfortunately, there are few options that can offer relief. Over-the-counter medications have little effect, and there are no other ways to soothe this unique pain. Yet there’s a new technology that’s showing promise, finally giving women hope when it comes to menstrual pain.
Avoid Taking Menstrual Medications
When cramps kick in, you likely reach for over-the-counter pain medications like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to try to get even a small dose of pain relief during your period. And when these medications fail, it’s no surprise. NSAIDs are ineffective for many women when it comes to menstrual pain.
And it isn’t just you – science has also found that NSAIDs are no help. According to a research study published in Informed Health Online², researchers examined whether NSAIDs were effective for treating period pain. Some women who experience severe pain during their periods secrete an excessive amount of prostaglandin, the chemical that controls cramping, during menstruation. Fortunately, NSAIDs are believed to slow prostaglandin production. Yet researchers found that even when women took NSAIDs for menstrual pain, they continued to experience severe pain for several hours. 69 percent of the women studied had no relief on NSAIDs.
So, what’s the takeaway? NSAIDs have weak or nonexistent results on period pain. But NSAIDs are even worse than they seem. In addition to offering zero pain relief, using NSAIDs regularly can cause long-term side effects and a destructive impact on your health.
The very same research study mentioned above also found that three out of 100 women experience immediate side effects from taking NSAIDs. Those side effects included stomach problems, nausea, drowsiness, or headaches. And some of these can be serious.
RxList³ reports the following side effects can appear when you take NSAIDs:
- Swelling of the extremities
- Kidney failure
- Liver failure
With these terrible potential side effects of NSAIDs and the weak effectiveness these medications have in regards to menstrual pain, you should avoid them. Skip the medication and instead look for an alternative method to relieve your pain – one that really works.
Try Nerve Stimulation Technology
A safer and more effective alternative to taking medications for pain relief during your period is using transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. Better known as TENS, this treatment uses electrical currents to ease your menstrual woes.
TENS is designed to stimulate nerves that override the pain signals your body is sending during your period. You simply place small electrodes on the areas where you’re experiencing pain. These electrodes are connected to a small machine that delivers nearly imperceptible electrical signals to your nerves. As you use this nerve stimulation device, you’ll feel a tingling sensation – but it will be gentle, not painful. That tingling sensation and the signals from the electricity travel to your brain much faster than the pain signals your nerves are trying to send. Since your nerves can only handle one signal at a time, using TENS blocks the pain signals so you don’t experience pain.
A study published in the Cochrane Systematic Review⁴ explored using TENS for menstrual pain relief. And it immediately showed promise – researchers found that high-frequency electrical nerve stimulation provided effective pain relief.
So, even more studies have discovered the benefits of nerve stimulation for menstrual pain sufferers. A more recent study published in the journal Medicine5 in 2017 investigated both the effectiveness and the safety of using electrical nerve stimulation and found those who received electrical nerve stimulation treatment achieved pain relief and saw few adverse effects.
Nerve stimulation technology is still a new way to treat menstrual pain, but it’s one all women should try. More and more TENS units are being created, and some are even designed specifically for menstrual pain.
One such product is Livia, a wearable TENS device that allows you to attach the electrodes to your skin and go about your normal life. Livia is currently undergoing FDA approval as an official treatment for period pain. And as this technology becomes more mainstream and more refined, you’ll have increasingly more brands and TENS device options to choose from.
Stop Menstrual Pain With a TENS Device
Dealing with menstrual pain can cause you to miss out of life every month. But there’s no reason you need to keep suffering for entire weeks out of the year – and you don’t need to rely on ineffective, potentially harmful NSAIDs either. Alternative remedies offering nerve stimulation such as TENS units can provide effective relief.
Most importantly, you should conduct your own research to find a remedy that works for your body and that’s 100 percent safe. Search online to learn more about the latest nerve stimulation options and devices, from wearable TENS products to at-home devices. And don’t forget to search for deals and discounts on these new products – as companies and brands work to attract new customers in search of menstrual pain relief, they’re prone to offer specials so you can become a fan of their products.
Like anything, it’s always a good idea to be aware of the latest research. We recommend comparing at least 3 or 4 options before making a final decision. Doing a search online is typically the quickest, most thorough way to discover all the pros and cons you need to keep in mind.