What causes menstrual cramps?
The body has a group of substances called prostaglandins, which are vital for the body’s functioning. The most common cause of menstrual cramps is an excess production of these substances. The excess prostaglandins cause the muscles of the uterus to cramp, which leads to poor oxygenation of the muscle, which causes pain. Anyone who has had a cramp in another muscle knows how much it can hurt.
There are several treatments for menstrual cramps. For many women, heat and over-the-counter medications help. It is a well-known fact that taking birth control pills usually relieves menstrual cramps, but not all women want to or should take them. For those women, other methods are needed. One method is to use drugs to reduce the amount of prostaglandins in the uterus, which should reduce the cramping and therefore the pain. But as with all other drugs, there is a risk of side effects.
Now you can relieve menstrual cramps with TENS, which has no side effects and is very effective. This type of treatment uses a stimulator that sends electrical impulses through electrodes on the body. The impulses block the pain impulses to the brain so you don’t feel them. TENS uses the body’s own analgesic systems, and is believed to eliminate the lack of oxygen in the uterine muscle, which is what causes the pain.
Consult your doctor, gynecologist, a family planning center or midwife for more information on TENS treatment of menstrual cramps. This is how the treatment works: You attach two small electrodes on the skin over the painful area – either on either side of the uterus or on the lower back. The electrodes are connected to a stimulator that sends out impulses. You turn up the intensity of the stimulation very high for one minute. For most people, the pain disappears after one minute of treatment. If it doesn’t, you can repeat the treatment after 2–3 minutes. Do not do more than three treatments. If this doesn’t help, you can try a lower, more pleasant stimulation intensity for about 20 minutes.
It’s best to start treatment as early as possible, as you feel the pain is just starting. Often one treatment is enough to break the pain cycle. Sometimes a couple of treatments during a period is needed. Most women find the first treatment unpleasant, so it’s important to have the help of a professional the first time. After that, you can do the treatment yourself at home, work or school. The equipment is small and easy to take with you.
Note: People with pacemakers must not receive TENS treatment.
Recommended unit for effective treatment of the above condition: Cefar Femina