Last updated on June 29th, 2021 at 06:43 pm
The American Academy of Family Physicians has found that up to 20% of women suffer from period pain severe enough to interfere with their daily lives. If that sounds about right, you’re probably all too familiar with menstrual pain relief and the myriad of suggested remedies such as Midol or caffeine pills, light exercise, heating pads, plenty of rest – to keep the discomfort at bay.
But what if you don’t have the option of staying in bed all day when the cramps hit? Alternatively, what if you’d love nothing more than to go out and celebrate a friend’s birthday, but the idea of leaving your couch and wearing anything but sweatpants is completely unfathomable? All too often painkillers don’t cut it and you either have to power through your day grimacing or cancel plans because of discomfort during your period.
Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to alleviate the debilitating pain of cramps in your lower back or abdomen before it has the chance to ruin your day? Luckily new devices from startups Livia, Monthli, Ova+ by TensCare, and Ovira are helping women everywhere find relief! If you’re in a hurry, jump ahead to our comparison table.
How do these revolutionary devices work to relieve menstrual pain?
While each of these products is fairly similar, they have important nuances to understand, so we’ll cover the important details in this article. First, what is TENS technology vs Livia’s SmartWave technology, and how do they both work? We’ll also dive into the differences between the devices, the cost, features, customer reviews, and the company missions. Let’s get started.
As we mentioned, Monthli, Ova+, and Ovira work through the use of TENS technology making them devices that provide instantaneous period pain relief to many women. While similar, Livia is not a device that uses TENS technology. Instead, Livia uses a patent approved technology called SmartWave. 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. So while this treatment is similar to TENS, it is the only one of four to utilize innovative technology.
Are period pain relief devices safe? What are the side effects?
Let’s talk safety: Out of the four devices, only Livia is FDA and CE (Certified Europe) approved for menstrual pain relief. In three clinical trials, Livia has been proven to deliver safe and effective relief of pain caused by menstruation.
While TENS treatment, in general, has been widely used for a while now and there’s a body of scientific evidence supporting claims of efficacy, it is not FDA approved specifically for menstrual pain relief, but rather only for pain relief in general. That said, neither users of Livia nor any TENS device for that matter need to worry about an overdose or build-up to tolerance. The first electro-pulse is as safe and effective as the last.
When it comes to treating period pains specifically, TENS has little to no side effects and offers a promising alternative to popping Midol every six hours, which can lead to everything from drowsiness to stomach irritation to liver problems.
Another great thing about these pain-blocking therapies is that now it’s relatively easy to self-administer thanks to discreet, wearable, rechargeable devices like Livia, Ova+, Monthli, and Ovira.
That’s awesome news for any woman that’s eager to reclaim her freedom during that time of the month — but which period pain relief device is best?
How to wear Livia, Ovira, Ova+ and Monthli devices to relieve period pain
Source: Livia – The “off switch” for menstrual pain
The first wearable TENS device was patented in 1974 by Clyde Norman Shealy, MD, Ph.D., an American neurosurgeon and pioneer in pain medicine. Dr. Shealy’s invention ultimately paved the way for modern TENS devices such as the four discussed in this article. Specifically designed to be worn discreetly underneath your clothing, these life-savers allow you to instantaneously target and eliminate abdomen and lower back pain even while you’re on the go.
When it comes to Livia, Ovira, and Ova+, simply clip the device to your waistband and attach the electrode pads to your lower back or abdomen. For Monthli, you can stick the device directly to your lower abdomen with the use of included gel pads that you can use over and over again (once applied, each pair lasts for up to 50 uses!). Whichever device you choose, turn it on, and Voila! You should begin to feel small pulses and the ensuing relief within a matter of minutes.
It is important to note, however, that the devices should only be applied as directed to the lower back and abdomen areas; placing the electrode pads on your neck, chest, thorax, or anywhere on the face could be dangerous. Also, as is the case with the vast majority of electronic devices, keep all devices away from water.
How does Livia work?
Source: Livia – The science behind Livia, a drug-free Class II medical device developed by iPulse Medical.
How does Ovira work?
How does Ova+ work?
Source: Ova+ by Tenscare
How does Monthli work?
Real customer reviews
Ovira Reviews: What are customers saying online?
Ovira received 584 5-star reviews out of 680 total reviews. Not bad! Many women reflected on how Ovira finally provided the pain relief they had been searching for in other treatments and methods and that they would highly recommend Ovira to others dealing with monthly period pain.
On TrustPilot Corenia M., who has endometriosis and Adenomyosis (conditions that make menstrual pain particularly excruciating), writes that after trying countless other therapies to manage her flare-ups, Ovira has by far been the most effective treatment and is now part of her regular self-care.
Another feature lauded by several users was the impressive battery life. The long-lasting charge makes it possible to reap the benefits of TENS throughout the entire day.
I did come across a reoccurring critique of the electrode pads (dubbed “Love Handles”), that they eventually lose their stickiness. To help keep the Love Handles sticky for as long as possible, Ovira recommends wiping them with a damp cloth once a week. Unless you regularly use Ovira during exercise, you should be able to re-use the electrode pads as often as needed for up to a month.
Livia Reviews: what are customers saying online?
Livia has racked up an impressive 5,300+ testimonials on their review page, with a 4.5-star rating on average. The Livia Facebook page also has 5 out of 5 stars based on the opinion of 247 people. To be honest, I can’t remember ever seeing a product with that many glowing reviews! Here is some of their feedback:
Ana P. is relieved that she no longer has to take a ton of pain killers after discovering Livia and is grateful for a treatment that comes with no side effects. Maria is a long-time Livia user and has now been period-pain-free for 3 years. Love that journey for you, Maria! (Schitt’s Creek fans, rejoice).
Livia also features on its website an endorsement by Professor Bari Kaplan. Professor Kaplan is a renowned women’s medicine expert and the Director of the maternity ward at the Mayanei Hayeshua Medical Center. He “strongly recommends the use of the device to treat PMS at any time”.
Based on the overwhelmingly positive accolades from the users of both devices, it’s safe to say these pain relief methods are effective and user friendly for many women and can be safely recommended even for those suffering from severe period pain.
Ova+ Reviews: what are customers saying online?
While the TensCare website that features Ova+ doesn’t have the typical 5-star rating system, they do have a few reviews when it comes to the wearable period pain device.
One satisfied customer, Vickie H, says she is, “Very impressed!! For such a small device it packs a lot of punch… I normally pop a pill to ease my pain but after using this for the first time the relief I experienced is nothing compared to a painkiller. It’s just amazing and worth every dollar. Thank you Ova you’re my new bestie”.
The TensCare website also provides an extensive manual that can answer almost any question you might have about using Ova+. This could be helpful if you happen to be experiencing any issues with the device. It also offers pain relief settings ranging from 1-4. These preset clinically tested programs are displayed on the screen, with each program designed to manage pain differently. Ova+ recommends trying all four programs to find which is best for your body and to change from one program to another regularly to prevent your body from unduly accommodating to any particular program.
Monthli Reviews: what are customers saying online?
Monthli, along with Ovira and Livia has a most standard review and rating system. Of the 160 total reviews on the site, 151 give Monthli 5-stars.
Shirley B. tried out the Monthli Device + Gel Pad Bundle, and raves about Monthli being “hands down the best natural remedy one can ask to ease the most horrific period cramps. I used to spend the first 3 days of my cycle dying in bed and not be able to move, nothing helped, even those extra strength Advil never worked, they would just dull the pain slowly. With Monthli, I can actually get out of bed and do things again when I’m on my period. The pulses work pretty much as soon as I apply the device to block the pain. Honestly cannot live without my Monthli now, I’m so happy I found this drug-free solution!!”
Another satisfied reviewer, Margaux C lists her favorite features which include: “1. No cords, which means I can reach over easily and adjust the device intensity with only one hand. 2. The heating option + different types of pulses, I love to change it up and try different pulses on different areas of the body. 3. The battery lasts forever so I don’t have to worry about running out of relief in the middle of the day!”
While there aren’t quite as many reviews as Livia’s whopping 5,300+ testimonials, Monthli holds its own when it comes to great feedback of their wearable TENS device. Lastly, Monthli claims to be the world’s first wireless period pain relief wearable device to implement rapid heating technology, which the other products do not currently implement.
Livia vs Ovira vs Monthli vs Ova+: Which is best for you?
The following chart makes it easy to do a comparison of what each device has to offer.
Period Pain Relief Device Comparison
|Monthly Subscription?||$8 per month||❌||❌||❌|
|Free Shipping?||Free shipping worldwide||❌||Free shipping worldwide||Free shipping in the US|
|Refund Policy||120-day money back guarantee, plus 2-year warranty||No refunds||60-day money-back guarantee, 1 year warranty||100-day money back guarantee|
|Gel Pads||3-month supply||2 Self Adhesive Electrodes||6-month supply||1-month supply|
|Refill Cost||6-month supply for $29 (included in subscription)||2-pack for $22||6-month supply for $52||3-month supply for $35|
|Additional Accessories (other than gel pads)||Carrying case, skins in different colors||Belt clip, User guide, Storage pouch||Storage disk (for gel pads)||Storage disk (for gel pads) and pouch|
|Colors||12 colors to choose from||White||White and Pink||White|
Let’s unpack the comparisons: If we were to consider what it would cost to use each device for a year the expenses would be more or less the same. Even though Ovira’s refills are more than twice as expensive as Livia’s, assuming you use the gel pads for the recommended amount of time (both devices suggest replacing the gel pads every month), the year-end totals come out to $259 (Ovira) and $257 (Livia). Monthli also offers a 6-month refill supply but a $52 price. Ova+ only offers refills in a 2-pack for $22.
Livia does offer a longer risk-free trial period and a 2-year warranty, something that might be appealing to someone who is trying the wearable device treatment for the first time. Another perhaps less substantial difference between the devices is the color selection. Livia offers the most color choices by far, including a variety of colors (everything from red to lavender), whereas Ovira and Ova+ only come in white. In comparison, Monthli comes in two colors: White and Pink.
What is the biggest difference between the four devices?
As I touched upon earlier, you can purchase Livia on a subscription basis. Here is where all the savings can add up.
There is a one-time sign-up fee for the subscription that will cost you $34 and covers the complete Livia Kit. The package includes the device, your choice of 4 colorful classic covers, a USB charging cable, a protective travel case, a set of Livia flower pads, and a 3-month supply of Livia gel pads. The first month of your subscription is free, and each month after that is only $8. This means the first year of a Livia subscription will run you 117 doll hairs, and $96 every year after that. When you subscribe you commit to a minimum of 4 months but feel free to cancel after that with no penalty if you’re not impressed with the results.
Should you find yourself a satisfied customer, the subscription includes a slew of great perks, such as a lifetime warranty that covers the Livia device and accessories, a lifetime supply of gel pad refills, free shipping worldwide, and a replacement device every 3 years.
The only other notable difference would be the added element of heat in the Monthli device.
The Verdict: Livia vs Ovira vs Monthli vs Ova+ — Which should you choose for period pain relief?
Our top choice is Livia. The extra benefits and savings with the monthly subscription are two very legitimate reasons to consider their unique, patent-approved technology, especially if you plan to be a long-time customer. There are also literally thousands of other great reasons in the form of 5-star reviews that make it obvious that iPulse Medical has successfully developed a real solution to debilitating period pain, changing the lives of women all over the world for the better. We believe that the better technology and overwhelmingly positive reviews make Livia the best period pain relief device on the market.
Ovira is also a great option for a few reasons including their flexible buying options, copious good reviews, and leadership team. From their all women-led team to their marketing, to their consideration of curvy gals (if you need a Y-cable in a different length, just send a quick note to Ovira at [email protected]), you can tell their mission is genuine and inclusive. Motivated by personal experience with chronic period pain, Alice Williams took matters back into her own hands and made it possible for other women to do the same.
In 3rd place, Monthli wins points for offering a a wireless option that also includes a heating element. However, their lack of flexibility on buying options puts them slightly behind Livia and Ovira.
Finally, while Ova+ is a product sold by TensCare and is the least expensive option, it is hard to find much online about how the product works, if it’s the right fit for your needs, or how to make a purchase. If you do invest in an Ova+ you will most likely have to buy from a third-party site, which doesn’t bode well for the ability to return, exchange, or review the product. Although the cheaper option, the customer reviews indicate that when it comes to Ova+, you may get what you pay for quality-wise.
Overall, there are some great choices here when it comes to battling period pain. Let us know which you end up going with and how they work out for you below!
Have you tried Livia, Ovira, Monthli or Ova+?
If you’ve tried or are a current customer of Livia, Ovira, Monthli, or Ova+, we’d love to hear your opinion. Click below to leave your own review and let other readers know as well.
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This was absolutely one of the best gifts I have ever received. My husband got it for me for Christmas one year because he knew how much my cramps would affect going out with friends or missing work. This was three years ago and I could not imagine life without Livia.
This devices has been life-saving for my cramps
Don't know what i would do without Livia!
Been using Livia for almost 2 years now it's definitely a lifesaver. I get through my periods because of this. I am just obsessed with the skins, I wish I had all colors.
I've been functioning even when I'm experiencing my worst cramps because of Livia. I also have friends who have bought and tried it out and this tiny device doesn't disappoint.
I bought this device at the end of 2019 for a trip to Italy in the beginning of 2020 (before the world closed). I usually spend 1-2 days in bed with a heating pad and pain meds and that’s not how I wanted to spend my vacation time. This was a long overdue birthday gift for my husband. So I figured, why not try it? It certainly couldn’t hurt. And OMG am I glad I did. I almost forgot I had my period! My cramps were a complete non-issue! I’ve been using it monthly non-stop ever since. I’m so grateful that I found Livia.
My husband got me a Livia as a gift and it’s definitely a must have if you have cramps. He saw me curled up and struggling to get out of bed, miss events with friends and family, and leave work. I felt so embarrassed letting cramps get in the way. Having my Livia device has helped so much. And it lasts! I’ve had mine for three years and haven’t had a problem yet.
I found out about Livia a few years ago after having really bad period pain. Since then, I've used it every month and it's eased my pain incredibly!
Great product! I highly recommend Livia
I first was introduced to Livia through their kickstarter campaign. Though the technology for TENS units is similar, its the simple things that set Livia apart from the rest. For instance, the fact that it is small enough, and the wires are just long enough to reach what hurts, and the clip to attach to your pants, all make it so that it can be worn on the go, and under your clothes with ease. The simplicity of the functionality is what makes it a unique product. I love Livia's commitment to those who have issues during menstruation. I love that I can wear it all the time, and take it on the go with ease. All the components fit in the carrying case, and it is small and discreet enough to carry with you to work, school, or even while you travel. When I go anywhere, I make sure to grab it, just in case. I wasn't satisfied with other similar pain relief products that were just too large or cumbersome for regular use. I suffer from intense periods, as well as a large amount of pain when I ovulate, and I used this device on about 50% of the power, so I never feel like it would not help with my pain.
The product isn't perfect, I find that I have to replace the wire more regularly than I would hope to, about once every year or so. I also wish the charging port was more similar to a phone charger, I don't like having to have a separate cord for everything, but its a small price to pay, and the cord fits in the case too, so its not an overwhelming hassle. Finally, I wish they would update the website, but all these things are minuscule in relation to the relief that I get from using this product.
A brilliant product that really works. I have had fantastic results
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