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

PMS TENS Unit: Can It Alleviate Menstrual Pain?

Woman holding her stomach while leaning on the sofa

Many women experience symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) every month. It can range from bloating and mood swings to severe cramps. Dealing with these symptoms can be exhausting. While there are various ways to manage PMS, one option that is showing effectiveness is Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS). A PMS TENS unit is a portable device that uses mild electrical pulses to relieve pain. It reduces pain signals to the brain, alleviating menstrual cramps and other discomforts.

PMS is a normal part of the menstrual cycle. Many women can experience the symptoms a week or two before their period. Therefore, effective pain relief is vital to manage the symptoms. A TENS machine can help relieve period pain as well as treat a wide range of chronic conditions. In this article, we will delve into what a TENS unit is, how it relieves PMS, and how to operate the device.

What is a TENS Unit for PMS?

A TENS unit for PMS is a small, battery-operated device that emits gentle electrical currents to the body. It consists of a pulse generator and adhesive electrode pads. Standard types are wired units, while some modern devices have wireless capability. When the electrodes are placed on the skin, they transmit the pulses to reach the underlying nerves.

A TENS unit can be a helpful tool in providing temporary relief from abdominal cramps and other pains associated with PMS. It also helps reduce reliance on medication intake. Thus, individuals can avoid the side effects of drugs. They may also use the device anytime, whenever needed, without worrying about potential risks or complications.

TENS devices have adjustable settings to control the stimulation effects based on individual comfort levels or preferences. Most advanced units also have preset programs for specific conditions. Thus, users can simply select a desired treatment mode from the menu to start a therapy session. Many devices include modes for abdominal cramping, massage, or muscle relaxation, which can help relieve PMS symptoms or period pain.

Benefits of TENS Therapy

  • TENS therapy can help reduce the intensity of menstrual cramps that usually affect the abdomen and lower back.
  • A TENS machine is non-invasive, drug-free, and ready to use anytime.
  • Users can achieve pain relief without additional strain on the body.
  • TENS therapy can provide quick relief from pain symptoms as needed.
  • The relaxing effects of TENS help ease tension, headaches, and stress, usually associated with PMS.
  • A TENS machine is customisable to suit various levels of pain.
  • TENS therapy helps reduce the need for medicines and avoid their potential side effects.
  • TENS is a versatile pain management method.

The iTENS wireless TENS machine in large wings

How Does a TENS Unit for PMS Work?

The PMS TENS unit delivers low-voltage electrical impulses to the nerves. It helps disrupt the pain signals from reaching the brain. This mechanism of action is based on the Pain Gate Control Theory, which suggests that certain nerve fibres in the spinal cord can control sensory signals like pain. The electrical stimulation causes these nerves to close, thereby blocking the transmission of pain signals.

Another method that works is stimulating the release of endogenous opioids like endorphins. They are natural chemicals released by the brain that have analgesic effects. They bind to the opioid receptors in the peripheral nervous system and inhibit them from sending pain messages. Consequently, it produces therapeutic effects, reduces stress levels, and enhances well-being.

Additionally, the mild tingling sensation from a TENS unit can help improve blood circulation in the area. It further reduces inflammation and swelling associated with PMS or menstrual cramps. Likewise, it relaxes tense muscles, providing extra relief from muscle spasms and lower back pain.

Understanding Frequencies and Intensities

Understanding the TENS settings is vital when operating a TENS machine for effective relief. The frequency refers to the number of electrical pulses per second. Low frequencies (2-10 Hz) are ideal for relaxing the muscles. Conversely, high frequency is more efficient for reducing severe pain.

Intensity, on the other hand, is the strength of the electrical currents. The intensity should be strong but not cause further pain or discomfort. Most TENS devices allow users to adjust the intensity level to a comfortable setting. The right combination of frequency and intensity is the key to effective pain relief with TENS therapy.

Woman holding her lower back in bed

How to Operate a TENS Unit for PMS

Operating a TENS unit for PMS is relatively simple. The first step is to clean the area of electrode placement. The skin must be clean and dry to ensure good contact. Peel the protective cover and stick the TENS pads near the painful area. Also, make sure the lead attachments of the device are secured. For wireless TENS machines, enable Bluetooth connection on the unit and a smartphone.

Once the electrodes are in place, turn on the TENS unit and adjust the settings. Set the frequency and pulse duration to the desired or recommended levels. Additionally, start at the lowest intensity, gradually increasing it to a level that is strong but comfortable. Allow ample time to experience the effects of the TENS treatment.

Set the timer, if available, to 15 to 30 minutes. After the session, ensure the device is off before removing the electrode pads from the skin. Remove excess gel from the pads and store the device properly. It is essential to follow the instructions provided for safe and effective use. For example, do not use it while in water or sleeping.

Pad Placement Guide

The TENS pad placement for PMS relief is typically located on the lower abdomen, below the belly button and above the pubic region. Most of the discomfort, such as cramping, originates in this area. Furthermore, place one or two sets of electrodes depending on the location or severity of pain.

In some cases, women may place the pads on the lower back between the rib cage and the buttocks. Position the electrodes on either side of the spinal cord to cover a wide area. It is also advisable to alter the placement of the pads depending on where the pain is mostly felt.


Overall, using a TENS unit for PMS relief can be an effective and non-invasive method to manage pain and discomfort associated with menstrual cramps. The portable device utilises adjustable electrical pulses to block pain signals, release endorphins, and improve blood circulation. Therefore, it helps reduce the intensity of abdominal cramps, muscle spasms, and lower back pain, which are common symptoms of PMS. Moreover, it offers numerous benefits, such as being non-invasive and drug-free.

Understanding the frequencies and intensities of the TENS settings is crucial for optimal pain relief. Nevertheless, they are easily adjustable to suit individual comfort levels. In addition, proper electrode placement is vital for a successful treatment. By following these guidelines, women can experience significant relief from PMS symptoms without the need for medication. TENS machines for menstrual periods or chronic pain conditions are available online, such as the wireless iTENS, from iTENS Australia.

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