It’s a sensation most women are all too familiar with—nearly half of all women experience it at least once a month. Period cramps (dysmenorrhea, in medical lingo), whether they feel like aching, throbbing, or stabbing, are a struggle that too many women accept as an unfortunate reality. But that doesn’t have to be the case, thanks to a number of highly-effective ways to manage menstrual pain that have come to market recently.
Women today have more options than ever before to minimize or even eliminate the discomfort associated with their period, thanks to breakthroughs in technology and medicine. The capacity to successfully manage period discomfort from home is assisting millions of women in improving their quality of life and wellness, not to mention the abrupt mood swings, and any social fallout that comes with them.
In this article, we will review the top four methods for managing period pain, covering wearable devices, prescription medicines, PMS supplements, and heating patches to help you determine which at-home solution can work best on your cramps. Before we dive in to explore the top products for period pain management, here’s a quick primer on what cause cramps in the first place.
But first: What causes period cramps?
Menstrual cramps occur when the muscles in your uterus contract, usually just before or during your period. Prostaglandins, which are produced in the uterine lining (or endometrium) and are responsible for the painful contractions, get released when endometrial cells are broken down throughout your monthly cycle. These prostaglandins are indirectly tied to estrogen levels.
Menstrual cramps are different for every woman. They can range from slightly unpleasant to couch-condemning. This can be attributed to various factors including higher bleeding (heavier flow), health issues such as adenomyosis (endometrial tissue invades into the muscle layers of the uterus), variances in pain tolerance, and even blood clots being forced through the cervix.
Menstrual pain typically begins a couple of days before the onset of one’s cycle and peaks during the first 24 hours of menstruation, slowly subsiding over the course of a few days. In the most severe cases, the pain can be so severe that it triggers nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.
If your discomfort is incapacitating, you’re not alone; 1 in 10 women claim to have pain so severe that they can’t go about their daily activities for 1 to 3 days each month. According to one study, 13.8% of women missed school or work due to menstrual discomfort. Another, conducted by the National Library of Medicine found that 84.1% of women reported acute period pain, with 43.1 % reporting severe pain every cycle. So, if you’re in agony, you’re not alone—and luckily there are solutions that can help. Let’s review the top menstrual pain products that are discreet enough for use at home and at work.
What’s the best way to manage period pain at home?
So what’s the best way to relieve period pain from home beyond just standard over the counter painkillers like Motrin or ibuprofen? Below we’ve listed the top doctor-recommended and patient-praised ways to manage period pain, in order from most effective. See how they compare and choose the one that best fits your lifestyle.
1. Livia – a discreet wearable device for period pain
The drug-free, compact, and portable Livia device claims to be the “first scientifically proven wearable solution” for period cramps, employing a patent approved technology with impressive results. Livia’s SmartWave™ Pain Blocking technology uses gentle micro-pulses to keep the central nervous “occupied” and hence unable to receive menstrual pain signals. Also, these micro-pulses activate the body’s natural pain control response by releasing beta-endorphins to further suppress pain.
On the product’s website, three clinical studies are highlighted, all of which reveal how Livia significantly decreases menstrual pain for the majority of its users. We’ve previously compared it to several alternative period pain relief devices, and have received a ton of (unsolicited) positive feedback about how well Livia works in particular. The word that keeps coming up is “life saver” as its helped many bed-ridden women enjoy life again at that time of the month:
The little gadget is designed to be inserted in a pocket or fastened to the wearer’s waistband and connected to electrode gel pads that are then adhered to the user’s lower abdomen. When activated, Livia employs high-frequency electrical impulses to lessen and, in some cases, eliminate menstruation discomfort by blocking pain signals at the source.
If you’re worried about how the device will feel, don’t be. Most users report a “light, pleasant tingling sensation” or vibration as the electronic micro-pulses work their magic, blocking pain signals and activating the body’s natural pain control response (i.e. releasing beta-endorphins) which relieves muscle pain.
Livia is our #1 recommendation for anyone looking for natural, drug-free menstrual cramp relief. It has virtually no adverse effects, works for the vast majority of users, and has complete approval from the FDA, Health Canada, as well as the European Union. Livia’s creators are so confident in their product’s capacity to alleviate period pain that they provide a 2-year warranty and a 120-day return window in which you can send your Livia back for a full refund if you’re dissatisfied. That means you basically have nothing to lose giving Licia a shot, except of course for your debilitating menstrual pain.
|Product||Price||How it works||Pros||Cons||Delivery areas||Website|
|Livia||$199 One-Time Payment |
Monthly Subscription Service (includes the full Livia kit, extended warranty, lifetime supply of gel pads and a new Livia every 3 years) for $49 upfront and then $8 per month
|A wearable device that sends micro-pulses to block pain signals in the nervous system. Read our full Livia review for more details.||– Drug-free pain relief|
– Portable and discreet
– No side effects or drug interactions
– Unit is rechargeable and reusable
-2-year warranty & 120 day return window
|– Requires further purchasing of gel pad replacements|
– Relatively high initial cost ($199)
2. Wisp – prescription medication for menstrual cramps
When over-the-counter pain relievers aren’t doing the trick for your period cramps, stronger prescription meds may be the right next step. Anti-inflammatory pain relievers, particularly diclofenac, ibuprofen, and naproxen, are frequently used to treat period pain. These are all nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs).
For just $30, Wisp allows users to schedule a same-day one-on-one consultation with a U.S. licensed and board-certified physician, regardless of insurance status or background. Your provider will analyze your symptoms within three hours and send a prescription for the necessary medicine to your local pharmacy, meaning they’ll typically be ready for same-day pickup. Every second matters when you’re suffering from debilitating menstrual pain.
Wisp was founded in 2018 to provide hassle-free, accessible, and inexpensive treatment to everyone. They offer a wide range of online healthcare options, including reproductive care, primary care prescriptions, and lab referrals, but today we’ll just focus on their menstrual pain relief care.
Users can choose to receive a $30 one-time consultation or join Wispcare for just $10 per month, giving them no-wait access to unlimited online medical consultations, making wisp a fantastic alternative for anyone looking for prescription-strength pain management at an inexpensive price point.
|Product||Price||How it works||Pros||Cons||Geographic availability||Website|
|Wisp prescription||$30 for one-time consultation; |
$10/month for unlimited consultations (individual prescription prices may vary)
|Users schedule a same-day virtual consultation with a wisp medical provider, who can prescribe appropriate medications. Read our full Wisp review for more details.||– Same-day service|
– Access to consultation from a qualified healthcare provider
|– Prescription medication costs depend on the pharmacies affiliated with Wisp||All 50 states of the U.S.||Wisp|
3. Over-the-counter PMS supplements from FLO or HUM
Those looking for an all-natural answer to period pains may find relief with popular supplement brands such as Flo or Hum, which both provide distinct formulas aimed at preventing symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). We’ve already done a side-by-side comparison of some of the most popular PMS supplement brands, but here’s a brief rundown:
Hum’s Moody Bird supplements contain two PMS-fighting ingredients: chaste berry and dong quai. Aside from being used for millennia in traditional herbal therapy, modern trials have shown that chaste berry can assist manage women’s psychological and physical health during their menstrual cycles, alleviating hormonal acne, mood swings, and breast pain. Dong quai, commonly known as female ginseng, has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to relieve period cramps and restore female hormone balances.
Hum did a study of Moody Bird customers and discovered that 88% of users were happy with their results. Hum’s supplements, taken twice daily in tablet form, may be purchased on their website or via several online and in-store shops.
Similarly, Flo sells PMS vitamins in pill and gummy forms that are meant to be taken twice daily and promise to relieve cramps, acne, and mood swings. Their formula also contains chaste berry and dong quai, and two more ingredients: vitamin B6 and lemon balm. Aside from being a well-known stress reliever, one study revealed lemon balm to be beneficial at reducing pain related to menstrual cramps in 100 participants. Vitamin B6 has been proven to be more beneficial than placebos in alleviating general PMS symptoms and, in particular, in assisting individuals suffering from depression related to their menstrual cycle.
If you’re currently using any prescription drugs, especially hormonal birth control, talk to your doctor before starting any new supplements. If you’re looking for a natural cure to typical PMS symptoms, either of these vitamin products are worth a try, but just note that they are mostly preventative, rather than reactive. Thus they will help you relieve period pain tomorrow, but if you’re looking for something to help you alleviate debilitating cramps YESTERDAY, you may want try Livia or Wisp (#1 and #2 above).
|Product||Price||How it works||Pros||Cons||Delivery areas||Website|
|Hum Moody Bird||$26 for a 30 day supply or $19.50 with a 3 month subscription||Twice daily capsule vitamins containing herbal extracts that work to relieve PMS symptoms naturally||– All-natural ingredients|
-Vegan & gluten-free
|– Potential for side effects & drug interactions||Globally||Hum|
|Flo PMS vitamins||$30 for a 1 month supply|
$49.98 for 2 months, or $24.99/month with subscription
Twice daily gummy or capsule vitamins containing herbal extracts that work to relieve PMS symptoms naturally.
Read our full review of PMS supplements.
|– All-natural ingredients|
-Vegan & gluten-free
|– Potential for side effects & drug interactions||All 50 US states||Flo|
4. Rael heating patches for cramp relief
One tried-and-true method for at-home pain relief is applying heat to relax the muscles and soothe cramping. Rael’s Heating Patches are small self-heating patches designed that are stuck to the user’s undergarments to promote blood flow to aching muscles, keeping them warm for up to six hours.
Infused with lemon balm, juniper berry, jasmine, dandelion root, and rosehip, Rael claims their patches work with the power of botanicals to “soothe abdominal discomfort, reduce bloating, and improve mood and energy” without irritating the skin or disrupting the body’s natural hormone production.
In terms of effectiveness, heat is a no-brainer. Studies have found the use of heat wraps to relieve menstrual cramps to be just as (and sometimes more) effective than acetaminophen, a common over-the-counter pain reliever used in medicines like Tylenol.
As for the herbal ingredients? Many of them have long been associated with easing period pain and encouraging relaxation whether consumed orally as teas or applied on to your skin as essential oils. There have been some studies that indicate the effectiveness of lemon balm and jasmine in relieving the discomfort associated with menstrual cramps, however, Rael’s website does not offer a ton of scientific proof for their efficacy in patch form beyond the oils’ soothing aromatherapeutic value. Regardless, the soothing heat and portability of Rael’s patches make them a fantastic drug-free alternative for pain relief — both at home and on the move. And the brand has a ton of happy customers who claim the patches help a lot. Whether that’s placebo, real, or some combination of the two, it hardly matters.
We recommend giving Rael’s heating patches a try for women with low-intensity, constant cramps. Or for anyone who hates ingesting supplements and wants to alleviate their period pain without breaking the bank.
|Product||Price||How it works||Pros||Cons||Delivery areas||Website|
|Rael heating patches||$6 for a pack of 3 patches |
$30 for a pack of 18, with discounts available if buying on a subscription basis.
|Sticky self-heating patches attach to undergarments around affected areas, providing gentle relaxing heat to soothe pain||– Drug-free|
-Offers convenience of a subscription service
|– Lasts only up to 6 hours|
– One-time use
– May trigger reactions in those sensitive to botanical oils/fragrance
|All 50 states of the U.S.||Rael|
The verdict: how should you manage period pain at home?
So, which product should you get to relieve period pain? With so many options, making a decision might be challenging, but hopefully we’ve done some of the legwork for you. Naturally there are many more options than just the four we’ve listed, but we strongly believe these are your best options. Let’s look at some major comparisons between these four options to see how they stack up:
|Product||Price||How it Works||Best For…|
|Livia||$199 One-Time Payment OR Subscription – $49 upfront and then $8 per month||A wearable device that sends micro-pulses to block pain signals in the nervous system.||Women seeking reusable, scientifically-backed, drug-free pain relief|
|Wisp||$30 for one-time consultation; $10/month for unlimited consultations||Users schedule a same-day virtual consultation with a wisp medical provider, who can prescribe appropriate medications.||Women seeking prescription-strength pain relief at an affordable price point|
|Hum Moody Bird||$26 for a 30 day supply or $19.50 with a 3 month subscription||Twice daily capsule vitamins containing herbal extracts that work to relieve PMS symptoms naturally||Women seeking all-natural supplements for PMS relief|
|Flo PMS vitamins||$30 for a 1 month supply, $49.98 for 2 months, or $24.99/month with subscription||Twice daily gummy or capsule vitamins containing herbal extracts that work to relieve PMS symptoms naturally||Women seeking all-natural supplements for PMS relief|
|Rael heating patches||$6 for a pack of 3 patches or $30 for a pack of 18, with discounts available if buying on a subscription basis.||Sticky self-heating patches attach to undergarments around affected areas, providing gentle relaxing heat to soothe pain||Women seeking portable, drug-free pain relief|
Our #1 top pick is Livia as the best period pain reliever for the average menstrual cramps sufferer. Its portable, discreet, and durable design makes it an excellent choice for both at home and on the move, and its absence of side effects and drug interactions ensures that it is safe for all users. And with a 2-year warranty and a 120-day return window, there is virtually no reason not to give it a shot.
How do you manage your period cramps pain? Have you tried any of these menstrual pain products or others? Let us know in the comments below.