Why More of Us Should Own a TENS Unit
Whenever I chat with anyone within the endometriosis community, I am surprised to see that a TENS unit is not something everyone is familiar with. To be completely honest, I only heard of these little gadgets during my first endometriosis support group. I had been recently diagnosed and felt completely clueless when a fellow endo-sufferer said “The first thing you need to do is get yourself a TENS unit”. Quite doubtful, and with zero expectations, I browsed a popular online retailer and found a tiny, portable TENS. It cost the same amount of cash I’d pay for a t-shirt.
A TENS unit has been a life-saver to me. Overall, it has helped keep my intake of painkillers either low or non-existent. Yet, I don’t think that enough people know how these electronic gadgets are a gift for anyone with ovaries. So here is my case on why more of us should consider using them:
Reducing the number of medications can help prevent digestive issues
In my case, my past dalliances with heavy amounts of ibuprofen resulted in damage to the lining of my stomach. This has made me quite sensitive to many forms of medication. Being able to keep these amounts low, and my stomach free of upset is all down to my TENS unit.
A TENS unit will mean fewer burn marks
Do you ever notice a mottled pattern on your stomach? Those are heat pad burns. I often overdo it with the warmth I apply to my skin, so I know these marks pretty well. Using a TENS unit means my stomach is clear of these stains. The only unpleasant side-effect that comes with using a TENS unit is that sometimes the sticky pads feel slightly too cold for my liking.
On the subject of marks, in fact, with heat pads, the damage we do to our skin is sometimes not visible to the naked eye. Yet those in the know can spot the long-term effects of heat pad use. I will never forget what my ostheopath said on inspection of my skin “Ah, yes, that's an endometriosis stomach. You are literally cooking your skin”. At the time, not only did I have a few of those dark, purplish burn marks. My skin had begun to glisten.
A TENS unit can provide relief even with extreme levels of pain
My period cramps can be quite unbearable. When they are bad, they render me unable to function. I can’t stand up, nor can I speak. I end up bed-bound, contorting like a wounded animal. No amount of medications seems to work, and I only get some relief after I pass out from the pain. A TENS unit is capable of reducing this discomfort. I may not be able to function like anyone else, but the break this gadget gives me, means I am less exhausted after a horrible flare-up.
They are inexpensive
Everyone is free to buy the model they please. But I’ve been targeted with too many ads featuring more expensive gadgets in pastel shades, specifically aimed at menstrual cramp relief. Yet, these are simply TENS units in cute colors. When I've wanted something that works at lessening pain, I’ve discovered that a lower price does not mean less effective pain relief.
Do you own a TENS unit?
I wish more people knew about TENS units. It is rather disappointing that no doctor, nor health professional ever told me about the benefits these little miracles can bring. It is like the best-kept secret of the patient community.
As an endometriosis advocate, I declare myself very pro-TENS. I am a fan of these gadgets, free of any sponsorships, with no hidden agenda, and with no other intention than to ensure there are more of you out there, getting the relief you so deserve.
Do you know someone that has made a difference with endometriosis advocacy?