Endometriosis affects more than 10% of Australian women at some time in their life1 making it a relatively common condition.
While knowing that you’re not the only one suffering from the condition might give you some comfort, it probably won’t help relieve the intense pain. Nor will it help bring back the days or moments of joy that you’ve missed out on around period time.
Endometriosis Australia quotes an Australian government report, suggesting that endometriosis costs us $7.7 billion annually, resulting from of lack of productivity as well as $2.5 billion in direct healthcare costs.1
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a condition where the cells (endometrium) that normally line the inside of your uterus find their way outside of the uterus and grow – most commonly in the abdominal cavity. Ordinarily, the endometrial cells are shed during menstruation, but because the cells that have ‘escaped’ the uterus, they no longer have an easy way out. Over time, the cells can form fibrous scar tissue, causing the bowel, bladder, uterus, ovaries or fallopian tubes to stick to each other.
Endometriosis can cause severe pain before or during a period, but some women have pain that persists beyond those days.2
Managing the pain of endometriosis
The most common treatment for managing endometriosis is pain relief in the form of an analgesic, such as paracetamol, or an anti-inflammatory agent, such as ibuprofen. Some women also turn to herbal or traditional Chinese medicines.
However, there is an alternative that doesn’t involve taking medication – TENS machines.
TENS is an acronym for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. Transcutaneous simply means through the skin.
TENS machines have been safely used for decades to help treat pain.3
The machines usually comprise a battery operated stimulator that sends electrical impulses to the site of the pain, via electrode pads that are applied to your skin.
It is not exactly certain how TENS relieves pain. Scientists believe it could be one of two ways, or a combination of the two.3,4
The first theory involves the gate control theory of pain. Under normal circumstances, pain signals travel from the nerves at the site of the pain through the spinal cord and up to the pain centre in the brain.
Scientists suggest that there are gate-like mechanisms in the spinal cord that let the pain through if the ‘gate’ is open, and block or diminish pain if the ‘gate’ is closed.
It is believed that the electrical impulses generated by the TENS machine help close the ‘gate’, thereby blocking pain messages being sent to the brain by the nerves in the affected area.4
The second theory suggests that the TENS electrical pulses stimulate the body to produce its own pain killing chemicals called endorphins.3,4
TENS machines can be used alone or in conjunction with pain killers and anti-inflammatory medication, and they may help reduce the need for as many tablets.
- Endometriosis Australia. https://www.endometriosisaustralia.org
- Better Health Channel. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/ConditionsAndTreatments/endometriosis
- Australian Pain Management Association. https://www.painmanagement.org.au/2014-09-11-13-35-53/2014-09-11-13-36-47/183-transcutaneous-electrical-nerve-stimulation-tens.html
- My Dr. https://www.mydr.com.au/pain/tens-transcutaneous-electrical-nerve-stimulation
*Your healthcare professional will advise you whether this product is suitable for you/your condition. Always read the label and instructions. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist see your healthcare professional.
Do not use the Ova+ with any electronic medical devices e.g. pacemaker; or if you have heart rhythm problem; if you have, in the area being treated: active or suspected cancer; or have undiagnosed pain with a history of cancer; if you have poor sensation in the pelvic region; if you are or may be pregnant; or in the first 6-8 weeks after childbirth. Caution should be used if you have suspected or diagnosed epilepsy. Consult your healthcare professional before use if you have diagnosed pain or have had recent abdominal surgery.
This blog provides general information and discussion about health and related subjects. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately-licensed healthcare professional.
The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never disregardful professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog or in any linked materials. Always seek the advice of your healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.