Why Do Heating Pads Help Cramps?

Do you dread those days when all your motivation goes into getting up and doing your daily chores? But many women feel powerless when they get their period. Frequent cramps negatively affect the quality of sleep and life in general. You need relief in time. Using a heating pad can help relieve cramps. Not so long ago, there was a heating pad in every home. Today it has been replaced by central heating, newfangled bags with tricky chemistry inside, electric sheets, and electric blankets, and even insoles with batteries charged from a computer.  This article will tell you why heating pads can relieve cramps.

What causes period cramps?

In order to understand how to relieve pain during periods, it is necessary to identify the true cause of the appearance of these sensations.

With primary dysmenorrhea, there are no pathological changes in the genitals. The reason is that the woman's body produces powerful hormone-like substances, prostaglandins. In the absence of pregnancy, there is a hormonal shift that triggers the onset of the menstrual period and the release of chemicals. These compounds are called prostaglandins, and they cause uterine muscles to contract to push out the detached endometrium. The higher the prostaglandin level, the more muscles contract and the greater the sensation of pain. During menstruation, their content increases dramatically, resulting in marked spastic contractions of muscles and arteries in the uterus. 

In the womb, toxic metabolic products that irritate nerve endings, causing a pronounced pain syndrome. Because the uterus is located in the pelvis and close to the ovaries, bladder, and intestines, pain sensations along the nerve endings are transmitted to these organs. Thus, menstrual cramping is a physical sensation that a woman gets when uterine muscles contract to expel unused tissue. 

In secondary dysmenorrhea, pain is associated with the presence of gynecologic diseases, the most common of which are:

  • Pelvic inflammatory diseases;
  • Uterine myoma;
  • Endometriosis;
  • Pelvic varicose veins;
  • Ovarian cysts and tumors;
  • Inflammation of the urinary system;
  • Peritoneal adhesions;
  • Intestinal diseases.

Another set of reasons may not be associated with gynecological disorders at all. After all, in the lower abdomen there are intestines, ureters, peritoneum and other organs that can also trigger such a symptom. Therefore, in the process of gynecological examination, it may be necessary to consult doctors of related specialties. Perhaps, in order to understand how to get rid of pain during periods, it will be necessary to undergo a comprehensive examination of the body.

why do heating pads help cramps

Heating pads and period cramps.

A heating pad is a device that provides dry heat. A heating pad allows you to activate blood flow in a given area of the body. This can help restore heat exchange in the event of hypothermia, or accelerate the healing process of damaged tissue. In addition, the heating pad has an anesthetic effect. And this is a completely separate function, which is not always associated with increased blood flow. Studies have shown that when warming a painful area with a heating pad with a temperature above 40 ° C are activated heat receptors located in this area. That is, activation of heat receptors blocks the sensation of pain.

Exposure of the body to heat can alleviate cramps. At the moment when under the influence of a heating pad the temperature of the skin of the area becomes higher than 39-40 ° C, heat receptors begin to activate. As a result, the synthesis of biologically active substances such as bradykinins, prostaglandins and histamine is blocked. It is these compounds that cause pain sensations in the body, lead to spasm of the uterine muscles and deterioration of blood flow in the tissues. Therefore, a heating pad for period pains may be an alternative to medications. 

But, scientists point out, heat can only provide temporary relief. If you do not take other measures, the pain will return, and it can't be stopped so easily. Perhaps, in order to understand how to get rid of period pain, you will have to undergo a comprehensive examination of the body.

What to look for in a heating pad for cramps?

Heating pads are designed to warm the human body, improving your well-being. But they must be used correctly to be effective and extend the life of the heating pad.

  • Heating pads should not be used on the surface of heating devices, radiators, lamps, hair dryers, in the presence of any flammable liquids, or in the presence of excessive humidity.
  • Bedridden people, infants, or people who are not sensitive to heat should not use a heating pad.
  • A heating pad can be applied to the body to warm yourself. It is essential that the part of the body in contact with the heating pad is not sore or inflamed. 
  • Remove the plug when the heating pad is not in use. When leaving the house, do not leave the heating pad switched on and do not allow children to play with it. 
  • Do not use a wet or damp pad. Do not wash it. Make sure it is completely dry before using it.
  • When using a heating pad for therapeutic purposes, a doctor's consultation is also necessary. 
  • If you are pregnant, have a high fever, bleeding or an acute inflammatory process in the body, use of the heating pad should be postponed until you consult a doctor.

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