Electrical stimulation for menstrual pain | Case Study
Between 50% and 90% of women suffer from menstrual pain (dysmenorrhea) and it is the main cause of missed work and school among women and adolescent girls. NuroKor’s Medical Science Director, Dr Irem Tezer Ates, and Dr Esen Ertur of Sakarya Government Hospital recently conducted a study on how electrical stimulation can be used to manage menstrual pain, delivered with NuroKor’s bioelectronic technology.
The results are impressive, with participants reporting up to 12 hours of pain relief after using NuroKor’s technology.
The impact of menstrual pain
Before we examine the study and its results, it is important to understand the effect of menstrual pain and the need for better treatment options.
For a condition that is so prevalent - 50% of women say that it interferes with their daily activities (1) - there are few consistently effective treatments. Painkillers like paracetamol and ibuprofen are often used for pain relief and to try and (in the case of ibuprofen) tackle inflammation that can accompany menstruation and cause pain. Hormonal contraceptives are also commonly used with the aim of suppressing menstruation itself along with pain relief.
However, these treatment options are not without side effects. For example, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, cause indigestion, headaches and drowsiness in 11%-14% of those taking them (2). And this is still with only a roughly 50% rate of effective pain relief (2). Current non-pharmacological options include using a hot water bottle or taking a hot bath, which are not practical for use while still going about daily activities.
A large number of people are affected by menstrual pain to an extent that it leads to missing work, school, and social activities. These missed opportunities can have consequences of their own, particularly in education, where missed lessons can lead to educational inequality and have an impact on later life.
When we consider the potential impacts of menstrual pain and the inconsistency in effectiveness of treatment options, the need for better solutions is clear.
Electrical stimulation for menstrual pain - a case study
Aim: To assess the effectiveness of electrical stimulation for menstrual pain.
Participants: Four nurses from the same hospital in their late 20s. All four nurses had been suffering from menstrual pain since their early teens and reported that the pain limited their daily activities. When asked about what they used to manage their pain, the nurses all said that they used NSAIDs and three of them also used hot water bottles. None of them found these treatment methods to work 100% of the time.
Methodology: The nurses used the NuroKor Lifetech mibody for sessions of 20 minutes for at most six times per day whenever they felt the need for a painkiller. The pain that the nurses experienced before and after using the device was recorded on a scale of 0-10, and the nurses were also asked about their quality of life, daily activities, and whether there were any problems.
Results: All the nurses had reduced pain after using NuroKor (Lifetech mibody), even up to 12 hours afterwards. They were also all able to increase their daily activities and their overall quality of life improved.
What do these results mean?
At their most fundamental, preliminary findings are supporting the direction that electrical stimulation can be an effective, consistent treatment for menstrual pain. All four nurses had reduced pain for extended periods of time, were able to do more, and were able to carry on working during menstruation.
There are some added nuances to this information, which we’ll look at now.
As we’ve mentioned, the nurses were pain-free for up to 12 hours after treatment. By comparison, ibuprofen, one of the most common NSAIDs, lasts about 6 hours and sometimes longer. Even the nurse who experienced pain relief for the shortest time did so for 6-8 hours, so in this case, mibody was at least as effective as the other common painkillers used for menstrual pain. Furthermore, paracetamol generally lasts only about 4 hours.
mibody was effective at reducing even severe pain among the nurses. Three of them rated their pain as very severe (8 or 9 out of 10) before using mibody. After treatment, it dropped to 5 or 6, along with also an improvement in quality of life. As well as the effectiveness, it should be noted that they all experienced a reduction in pain, which is particularly important when considering the potential of electrical stimulation for widespread use. By contrast, they all said that other pain management methods only worked sometimes.
With NSAIDs, there is a chance of headaches and indigestion in 11%-14% of people who take them. The only noted observation from using mibody was a tingling sensation in the area that the treatment pads were applied. This is normal with most forms of electrical stimulation and is not known to be unpleasant. However,the sensation usually diminishes when the intensity of the stimulation is lowered to a more suitable level for that individual.
Using NuroKor for menstrual pain
In summary, NuroKor’s technology signals a positive future for sufferers of menstrual pain. This study, using the mibody, showcased how even severe menstrual pain can be reduced for extended periods of time. Electrical stimulation manages pain by itself, but can also be combined with other treatment options like drugs.
One of the greatest requirements for treatments for menstrual pain is that they be practical and that they not interfere with daily life. After all, if you have treated the pain but with side effects or in a way that prevents you from going to school or work or seeing friends, then that is not an ideal solution. NuroKor’s technology is designed not only to give a personalised treatment - each device has multiple settings so you can find the one best for you - but it is also delivered through ultra-wearable devices that you can use on the go.
Have a look at our science page if you would like to learn more about our technology, or at the Mihna website to see how we’re furthering treatments for menstrual pain.
Founded in 2018, NuroKor is a company committed to the development of bioelectronic technologies. NuroKor develops and formulates programmable bioelectronic software for clinical and therapeutic applications, in a range of easy to use, wearable devices. It provides the highest-quality products, delivering personalised pain relief and recovery support and rehabilitation to patients.
- Ferries-Rowe E, Corey E, Archer JS. Primary dysmenorrhea: diagnosis and therapy. Obstet Gynecol 2020;136(5):1047—58)
- Marjoribanks J, Ayeleke RO, Farquhar C, Proctor M. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for dysmenorrhoea. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015 Jul 30;2015(7):CD001751. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD001751.pub3. PMID: 26224322; PMCID: PMC6953236.