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

TENS Period: How It Works to Alleviate Menstrual Cramps

A woman clutching her abdomen due to period cramps

Menstrual pain affects millions of women worldwide. Fortunately, there is a Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation or TENS for period cramps. It is a method of pain relief that uses an electrical device to send electrical pulses to the body. Consequently, this pulse therapy works through different mechanisms. Foremost, the electrical impulses can disrupt the transmission of pain signals. Additionally, it can stimulate the production of endorphins and improve blood flow in the targeted area.

Every month, women experience period pain discomfort due to the contractions of the uterine muscles. These range from mild to severe pain, impacting the quality of life. Over-the-counter medications or, opioid medications, and heating pads are common period pain relief. However, they may have negative effects or may not always provide adequate pain relief. This is where TENS comes in. The following sections will present the TENS machine for period pain, how it works, and how to apply it.

What is TENS for Period Pain?

Menstrual pain, also known as dysmenorrhea, is a common painful condition experienced by many individuals. These cramps occur as a result of the uterus contracting to shed its lining during the menstrual cycle. Nevertheless, this process can cause lower abdominal cramps, lower backaches, and even thigh discomfort. Fortunately, there is a TENS period cramp relief device, providing period pain relief.

TENS is a non-invasive therapy that involves the use of a portable unit to deliver electrical currents to the nerves through electrodes placed on the skin. Accordingly, healthcare professionals and pain specialists often recommend TENS therapy as a non-pharmacological approach to managing menstrual cramps. Additionally, women can utilise and undergo TENS treatment at home or on the go.

Furthermore, TENS devices come in both wired and wireless configurations. Wired TENS units typically require the use of electrodes connected to the central unit via lead cables. On the other hand, wireless TENS units utilise wireless technologies (Bluetooth) to connect the control unit to the electrode pads. Finally, both offer various features to cater for the diverse needs of individuals.

Types and Causes of Menstrual Cramps


  • Primary dysmenorrhea: these are cramps that occur without any underlying medical condition. It is typically felt in the lower abdomen and commonly experienced by younger individuals.
  • Secondary dysmenorrhea: it is linked to an underlying medical condition such as endometriosis pain and pelvic pain inflammatory disease.


  • Prostaglandins: these are hormone-like substances that play a role in the contractions of the uterine muscles.
  • Endometriosis: this is a condition in which the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus grows outside the uterus.
  • Adenomyosis: this can lead to the enlargement of the uterus and result in more intense period cramps.

A small and large wing iTENS and refill gel pads

How TENS for Period Pain Works

TENS for period pain is a therapy that uses low-voltage electric currents as a method of pain relief. Consequently, this electrical stimulation works in several ways. Firstly, TENS treatment stimulates the production and release of endorphins. These are the natural chemicals of the body that act as natural painkillers. Hence, it leads to a reduction in period pain and induces a sense of well-being.

Secondly, TENS therapy works through the Pain Gate Theory. This theory suggests that the nervous system can only process a limited amount of information at a time. When the TENS unit delivers electrical pulses to the nerve fibres, it essentially “closes the gate” on the pain signals. Therefore, it prevents them from reaching the brain and reduces the sensation of period discomfort.

TENS treatment also helps to improve blood flow to the affected area. By stimulating the nerves and muscles with electrical currents, TENS can promote vasodilation. This increase in blood flow can help reduce inflammation and supply oxygen and nutrients to the tissues. Nevertheless, these activities can contribute to the overall reduction of discomfort.

Frequencies and Intensities

The range of frequencies and intensities of the TENS unit are crucial factors that determine the effectiveness of the therapy. The frequency of stimulation refers to the number of electrical pulses delivered per second, measured in Hertz (Hz). Low-frequency TENS typically range from 2 to 10 Hz, while high-frequency TENS have frequencies above 50 Hz.

On the other hand, the intensity setting controls the strength of the electrical impulses. The intensity is typically adjusted by the user within a comfortable range. Nevertheless, high-intensity pulses may benefit deeper nerve issues, while lower intensities are suitable for sensitive areas.

A woman using TENS on her lower back

How to Apply TENS for Period

To apply TENS for period cramps, one should begin by preparing the device. This typically involves checking the TENS unit, its batteries, or its power source. After preparing the unit, identify the treatment area and clean the skin over it. Then, place the electrode pads. Typically, for menstrual cramps, individuals can position it in the lower abdomen and lower back. Follow the proper pad placement for effective usage.

Once the electrodes are in place, turn on the TENS unit. This may include adjusting the settings, particularly the pulse amplitudespulse width, and pulse duration. Also, some advanced models have pre-set programs. Hence, select the one for period cramps. Nevertheless, it is crucial to start with the lowest setting and gradually increase it to a comfortable level.

Throughout the application of TENS therapy, pay close attention to the comfort level and the response to the electrical stimulation. The duration of the session typically lasts for 15 to 30 minutes. After the TENS treatment is complete, turn off the TENS unit and carefully remove the electrodes from the skin. Clean the electrode placement site.

Safety Precautions

Before using a TENS unit, individuals should consult with a healthcare professional. This is to determine if TENS therapy is appropriate for the specific condition. Furthermore, proper pad placement is essential for the safe and effective application of TENS therapy. Thus, it is vital to adhere to the advisable pad placement. Also, avoid positioning the pads on broken skin or open wounds.

Additionally, do not start the TENS therapy with high settings. This can cause electrical shocks and can lead to further discomfort. Moreover, it is recommended to avoid driving or operating machinery while using TENS. The electrical stimulation may interfere with focus.


In conclusion, prostaglandins, endometriosis, and adenomyosis are the common causes of menstrual cramps. Fortunately, TENS for period pain is available to alleviate the discomfort. It is a therapy that uses a wired or wireless device to deliver electrical currents to the body. Consequently, this electrical stimulation can block the transmission of pain signals, trigger the release of endorphins, and improve blood flow. Additionally, the electrical currents can stream in different frequencies and intensities.

Furthermore, applying TENS therapy is straightforward. Begin by preparing the TENS unit. Then, locate the treatment region, prepare the skin, and position the pads. The common electrode placement is in the lower abdomen and lower back. Finally, turn on the device and adjust the settings. However, it is crucial to recognise the safety precautions to ensure optimal TENS therapy. TENS devices are available in the marketplace, including the online retailer iTENS Australia.

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