Medical Science
March 31, 2021

Bioelectronics: Period Pain & The Future of FemTech

FemTech Science & Info Team
FemTech Science & Info Team

Bioelectronics: Period Pain & The Future of FemTech

Dysmenorrhea is the term given to the presence of discomfort and pain associated with a menstrual period. Primary dysmenorrhea describes period pain that occurs in the absence of an associated condition, whereas secondary dysmenorrhea has a specific underlying cause that can be identified. These are most often conditions that affect the uterus, with endometriosis  reported as the cause in approximately 70% of adolescents suffering from dysmenorrhea(1). Risk factors for dysmenorrhea can include a genetic predisposition, stress and depression(2).

What Causes Period Pain?

The underlying mechanism of primary dysmenorrhea has been described as contraction of the uterine muscles that also induces local ischemia to the surrounding tissues(3).  It has been shown that women who suffer from primary dysmenorrhea have increased activity of the muscles of the uterus, which includes a higher level of contraction and an increased frequency of contractions(4). The release of inflammatory mediators such as prostaglandins can also cause systemic symptoms such as bloating, nausea, headaches and even migraines(5). 

Prevalence

Reported prevalence rates of Dysmenorrhea have been significant, with higher rates found within the adolescent age group. On average it affects more than 50% of menstruating women globally and is the primary cause of absenteeism from work, school and other activities. A systematic review of studies in developing countries found that 25-50% of adult women, and about 75% percent of adolescents experienced pain with menstruation, with 5-20% reporting severe dysmenorrhea or pain that prevents them from participating in their usual activities(6-10 ). 

Management of Period Pain

Despite the high prevalence, Dysmenorrhea has for a long time been poorly treated, often disregarded and accepted as a normal part of the menstrual cycle. When seeking medical advice for the for relief of period pain the recommendations and treatment options commonly include;

  • Pain Medication in the form of analgesics and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
  • Hormonal Oral Contraception
  • Applied Heat e.g. hot water bottle.
  • Warm Baths
  • Gentle Exercise
Period pain relief

With such limited choices many women have reported feeling helpless, unempowered and without an adequate solution for the ongoing burden of regular menstrual pain. 

The future of pain management

Bioelectronics are forming the next wave of device therapeutics, and are fast closing the gap between conventional pharmaceuticals and personal pain management technology. Considering basic forms of electrotherapy such as high frequency TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) have shown to be useful for the management of Dysmenorrhea(11), the next generation of bioelectrical treatment therapeutics will increase personalisation, improve treatment specificity and enhance efficacy whilst aiming to help reduce the usage of long term pain medication.

Sufferers of period pain will soon be able to experience the multiple benefits of NuroKor’s unique combination of Microcurrent (MCS) and Peripheral Nerve Stimulation (PNS)  external neuromodulation, formulated into the most advanced treatment therapeutics.

As a world-first, women will have the power of dynamic treatment modalities in their optimal form, with PNS and MCS modalities developed specifically for the management of Dysmenorrhoea.
Microcurrent:

Microcurrent technology can be used to help the body to positively respond and overcome pain in multiple ways. Specifically selected Microcurrent parameters are known to reduce inflammation, support cellular and tissue function, support cellular metabolic processes, facilitate healing and support endogenous bioelectrical processes.

PNS:

Highly effective and evidence based pain management formulations developed to counteract the painful effects of prostaglandin production, whilst aiding circulation to the muscles and soft tissues.

Whilst many existing formulations could be beneficial for other types of female-specific causes of pain, bioelectronics also has the potential to be further optimised for other specific therapeutic areas such as;

  • Endometriosis Pain
  • Pelvic Floor Weakness
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Postpartum Recovery
  • Chronic Pelvic Pain. (Prolonged, non-cyclic pain affecting the structures of the pelvic region that has persisted for longer than 6 months). A systematic review found 7 studies that reported the prevalence of chronic pelvic pain among women worldwide, with rates of 6% to 27%(12-13).
  • Perimenopause & Menopause. A recent study has found that women with menopause symptoms are nearly twice as likely to have chronic pain diagnoses, such as fibromyalgia, migraine, and back pain (14).

The future looks bright

NuroKor’s FemTech division is making vast strides and rapid progress in the design, development and optimisation of our period pain technology. This will be closely followed by a pipeline of innovation to address the other areas of female health that are under-served and inadequately addressed due to the lack of effective therapeutic interventions. 

In addition to the existing Lifetech series product line which is already helping many people around the world to better manage pain, NuroKor’s FemTech division is set to make a significant Impact on women’s experience of menstrual pain and more. By utilising new and existing expertise in the field of bioelectronics and electroceuticals, the future of female pain management is looking brighter than ever.

Keep up to date with NuroKor’s latest news and developments by subscribing to our newsletters here.

*Women who have any health concerns should always seek medical advice from a healthcare professional or their primary physician

About NuroKor

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.

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References:

  1. Janssen EB, Rijkers AC, Hoppenbrouwers K, Meuleman C, D'Hooghe TM (2013). "Prevalence of endometriosis diagnosed by laparoscopy in adolescents with dysmenorrhea or chronic pelvic pain: a systematic review". Human Reproduction Update. 19 (5): 570–82. 
  1. Hong Ju, Mark Jones, Gita Mishra, The Prevalence and Risk Factors of Dysmenorrhea, Epidemiologic Reviews, Volume 36, Issue 1, 2014, Pages 104–113.
  1. Rosenwaks Z, Seegar-Jones G (1980). "Menstrual pain: its origin and pathogenesis". The Journal of Reproductive Medicine. 25 (4 Suppl): 207–12. 
  1. Harel Z (2006). "Dysmenorrhea in adolescents and young adults: etiology and management". Journal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology. 19 (6): 363–71. 
  1. "Dysmenorrhea". www.hopkinsmedicine.org. Retrieved 2019-10-04.
  1. Andersch B, Milsom I. An epidemiologic study of young women with dysmenorrhea. American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology. 1982. 144:655-60.
  1. De Sanctis V, Soliman AT, Elsedfy H, Soliman NA, Soliman R, El Kholy M. Dysmenorrhea in adolescents and young adults: a review in different countries. Acta Biomed. 2017;87(3): 233–46. 
  1. Jamieson DJ and Steege JF. The prevalence of dysmenorrhea, dyspareunia, pelvic pain, and irritable bowel syndrome in primary care practices. Obstetrics and Gynecology. 1996. 7:55-8.
  1. Parker MA, Sneddon AE, Arbon P. The menstrual disorder of teenagers (MDOT) study: Determining typical menstrual patterns and menstrual disturbance in a large population based study of Australian teenagers. BJOG 2010;117(2): 185–92.
  1. Prevalence and impact of dysmenorrhea on Hispanic female adolescents. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2000;154(12):1226–29.
  1. Proctor M, Farquhar C, Stones W, He L, Zhu X, Brown J. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation for primary dysmenorrhoea. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2002.
  1. Ahangari A. Prevalence of chronic pelvic pain among women: an updated review. Pain Physician. 2014;17(2): E141–E147.
  1. Latthe P, Latthe M, Say L, Gulmezoglu M, Khan KS. WHO systematic review of prevalence of chronic pelvic pain: A neglected reproductive health morbidity. BMC Public Health 2006;6:177. DOI:10.1186/1471-2458-6-177.
  1. Gibson, C., Li, Y., Bertenthal, D., Huang, A. and Seal, K., 2019. Menopause symptoms and chronic pain in a national sample of midlife women veterans. Menopause, 26(7), pp.708-713
  1. Gagua T, Tkeshelashvili B, Gagua D, McHedlishvili N. Assessment of anxiety and depression in adolescents with primary dysmenorrhea: A case-control study. J Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol 2013;26(6): 350–54.
  1. Jamieson DJ and Steege JF. The prevalence of dysmenorrhea, dyspareunia, pelvic pain, and irritable bowel syndrome in primary care practices. Obstetrics and Gynecology. 1996. 7:55-8.
  1. Latthe P, Latthe M, Say L, Gulmezoglu M, Khan KS. WHO systematic review of prevalence of chronic pelvic pain: A neglected reproductive health morbidity. BMC Public Health. 2006; 6:177. 
  1. Proctor M, Farquhar C. Diagnosis and management of dysmenorrhoea. BMJ 2006; 332(7550): 1134–38.