Cramps are one of the most common symptoms associated with PMS. Menstrual cramps can range in severity from mildly uncomfortable to downright debilitating. If you’re among the 75-80% of women who experience cramps, you may rely on your hot water bottle and painkillers to get through every cycle. But regularly popping painkillers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen isn’t a great idea. Overuse of over-the-counter pain relievers can cause serious side effects, including low blood pressure, stomach ulcers, and other gastrointestinal problems. 

You need another way to conquer your cramps: one that’s safe, effective, and doesn’t get in the way of your busy life. That’s why we’ve been hard at work to bring you Pixie Relief: our very own fast-acting, discreet, patent-pending TENS unit specifically engineered to target menstrual cramps. (Purchase here!)

Say goodbye to pain meds and say hello to instant period pain relief! 

What does a TENS unit do?

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is a method of pain relief that involves the use of a mild electrical current. A TENS unit is a small device that delivers the electrical current through electrodes, which are placed on the surface of the skin at or near the nerves where the pain is located. Gel pads are used on the electrodes to make them stick to the skin.

How does a TENS unit work?

TENS therapy is thought to relieve pain by blocking the transmission of pain signals to the brain. 

Research has shown that when vibration and pain sensations are occurring simultaneously, the vibration feeling reaches the brain first. This essentially blocks the feeling of the pain from being perceived by the brain.

Another theory is that TENS therapy stimulates the release of endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkillers. Endorphins interact with receptors in the brain to reduce our perception of pain.

What are the benefits of using a TENS unit?

TENS therapy has been used to relieve both long-term (chronic) and short-term pain. Some common conditions for which TENS therapy may be helpful include: 

  • Arthritis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Labor pain
  • Low back pain
  • Pelvic pain caused by endometriosis
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Sports injuries 

Can you use a TENS unit for menstrual cramps? 

A TENS unit is ideal for the treatment of painful menstrual cramps. TENS therapy is non-invasive and safe, with few or no side effects.  

When used for menstrual cramps, the electrodes of the TENS unit can be placed on the lower abdomen or the lower back, whichever is closer to the area of pain. 

Can you use a TENS unit while pregnant?

TENS therapy is not recommended early in pregnancy. If you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant, talk to your healthcare provider before using a TENS unit. 

Can you overuse a TENS unit? 

TENS therapy is safe to use as much as you like, although it’s usually recommended to start with 20-30 minutes. Some skin irritation may occur if the pads are left on the same area of the skin for too long. 

Pixie Cup TENS unit

How many times can you reuse TENS pads?

You can use the gel pads about 8-10 times before the stickiness wears off. When the gel is no longer sticky, you can replace the pads. To extend the life of your gel pads, make sure you are applying the electrodes on clean, dry skin that is free of any substances such as body lotion. 

How long does TENS pain relief last?  

The duration of pain relief following the use of a TENS unit can vary from person to person. Some people report that their pain returns as soon as the device is turned off. Other people continue to experience pain relief for as long as 24 hours after the nerve stimulation has stopped. 

Some studies suggest that repeated TENS treatments can increase the duration of pain relief. However, other studies indicate that individuals who repeatedly use a TENS unit can build up a tolerance to the treatment. 

Can you sleep with a TENS unit on? 

Sleeping with a TENS unit on is completely doable, but use caution. If you move around a lot while you sleep, the gel pads could come off or the cords could become tangled. You may want to set a timer to wake yourself up after 20-30 minutes to remove the electrodes.

Who should not use a TENS unit?

You should not use a TENS unit if you have an implantable device such as a pacemaker, if you have epilepsy or a heart condition, or if there’s a chance you could be pregnant. Do not use a TENS unit if you have a history of cancer in the last 5 years, and do not apply the electrodes to any part of the body where there is known or suspected cancer. 

What else should I know about TENS units? 

TENS units and replacement pads are eligible for reimbursement with a flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA). If you have health funds available through your workplace, take advantage of this benefit to treat yourself to the best drug-free period pain solution on the market! 

Order Pixie Relief now

Karen E.

Karen is a Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant and holds a degree in English and French from Knox College. She has written extensively about topics related to holistic health, clinical nutrition, menstrual health, personal growth, and weight management. Have a question for Karen? Email her at