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AU Registered Medical Device
12-month warranty
Same day dispatch
Professionally endorsed

Period Cramps TENS Machine – What Is It And How Can It Help With Pain?

A woman holding her stomach because of pain

A period cramps TENS machine is a medical device that helps treat menstrual pain. It utilises Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) therapy that provides instant relief through mild electrical impulses. The machine works by targeting the affected nerves through the adhesive electrodes placed in the area. By stimulating the nerves, it interferes with the transmission of pain signals and promotes endorphin release. These actions create positive effects on people experiencing severe cramps.

Menstrual cramps are uncomfortable sensations that occur in the lower abdomen during the menstrual cycle of a woman. The pain can range from mild to severe and can lead to difficulty performing everyday activities. The intensity of the cramps varies from person to person, and some may need more pain relief than others. This article will provide information on what a TENS machine is, how it works, and how to use it for period pain.

What is a Period Cramps TENS Machine

A period cramps TENS machine is a battery-operated device that generates low-voltage electrical currents and delivers them to the body through electrode pads. The machine is portable and can be worn on the affected area for targeted relief. Most devices have wired electrodes that attach to the control unit. However, frequent use of the device tends to wear out the cables and pads, requiring replacements.

For people who want to avoid the inconvenience of cords, they may opt to get a wireless TENS machine. This type is Bluetooth-capable and connects to a smartphone app to control the stimulation. In addition, the absence of wires and a handheld controller makes it more compact and lightweight than traditional units.

Moreover, TENS machines have adjustable settings. This allows the users to control the frequency, intensity, and duration of the electrical pulses based on their needs. Advanced devices also come with preset programs to help the person facilitate convenient relief through optimal settings. This enables the device to cater to different types or levels of pain.

Benefits of Using the Device

  • A TENS machine provides a non-invasive and drug-free method of pain relief.
  • The electrical stimulation from TENS is safe and does not lead to adverse side effects or potential dependency.
  • The device is customisable to suit different pain levels.
  • The TENS device is portable and easy to use. Individuals can manage their abdominal cramps while allowing them to continue with their normal activities.
  • TENS help reduce inflammation, relieving muscle spasms and soreness.
  • Using the device for painful periods helps minimise reliance on oral pain relievers.
  • The machine can be used as a standalone treatment or with other pain relief methods like stretching.

Finding the right TENS settings through an app

How a Period Cramps TENS Machine Works

A period cramps TENS machine works by activating the natural mechanisms of the body against pain. When placed on the pain area, the device sends electrical currents to the sensory nerves. This causes the closure of the pain pathways in the spinal cord, hindering the pain signals from reaching the brain.

Another benefit of TENS is stimulating the production of endogenous opioids like endorphins. These hormones act as natural painkillers by suppressing pain sensations. Endorphins also reduce stress and anxiety, which may increase during menstrual periods. Furthermore, it helps boost circulation and relax the muscles that contribute to menstrual cramps and muscle pain.

Moreover, the tingling sensations of the device can serve as a distraction from muscle cramps. However, it is important to note that while TENS may be effective, it may not work the same for everyone. The effectiveness can vary depending on the individual and the severity of the pain. It is always recommended to consult with a health professional before using TENS or any other form of period cramp relief device.

Finding the Right Settings and Levels of Intensity

The TENS unit allows users to adjust the programs to match their level of pain or treatment needs. Since pain relief may vary, there are no fixed settings for menstrual pain. However, there are general guidelines that may help individuals get started. For acute pain, high-frequency (50-120 Hz) is suitable.

To find the right intensity, people with period pain may start at the lowest level. Then, increase the setting gradually until the pain lessens. The stimulation should be strong but painless. Additionally, ensure that it does not cause rigorous muscle contractions. If it causes more pain, reduce the intensity to a more comfortable level.

iTENS wireless TENS machines with refill pads

How to Operate a Period Cramps TENS Machine

Using a period cramps TENS machine is relatively simple. To operate the device, start by placing the electrodes in the pain area. Ensure that the skin is clean and dry for optimal adhesion. Then, turn on the unit and set the desired programs. Most TENS machines have increase and decrease buttons to control the pulse rates, duration, and intensity settings.

Alternatively, some devices have treatment modes for period pain relief. It has fixed patterns of pulse delivery to relieve severe cramps effectively. This selectable option allows users to choose the program to start the therapy without adjusting the settings manually. The duration of pain relief may differ with each individual, but the ideal time is 15 to 30 minutes.

After the treatment session, turn off the device and carefully remove the pads. For people with severe pain, they may use the device several times a day. However, ensure not to exceed one hour for each session and give a 20-minute break in between. It is essential to follow the instructions of the manufacturer or the recommendations of a healthcare provider.

Pad Placement and Safety Considerations

When using the TENS unit, position the electrodes near the area of pain, as close as possible to where the cramps are located. Depending on the severity, two or more pads may be used at a time. For best results, position the electrodes on the lower abdomen, below the belly button and above the pubic region.

Some individuals may also place the TENS pads on the lower back for cramps that extend to the area. Avoid placement in sensitive areas, including the spine, joints, chest, throat, and head. Moreover, do not use the device near water or while sleeping and driving.


A period cramps TENS machine offers a non-invasive and drug-free solution for menstrual pain relief. The portable device consists of adhesive electrodes that deliver mild electrical pulses to the skin. It works by stimulating the nerves with these currents, interrupting the pain signals from reaching the brain. It also induces the release of endogenous opioids, minimising the severity of intense sensations. Furthermore, it has adjustable settings to cater to different levels of pain.

The TENS device is easy to use with no risk of adverse side effects. For effective relief, users need to identify the proper electrode placement area and modify the settings accordingly. To get the most out of the device, experiment with different stimulation levels. Nevertheless, it is advisable to consult a health professional for guidance. Individuals with endometriosis pain or other chronic pain conditions can also benefit from the device.

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