Paula Fischer, 33, says she was "very excited to try it" when she first learned that a bodysuit that can be worn to help with menstrual pain was being developed.
She was looking for an alternative to painkillers, which only temporarily relieved her discomfort during her period, as she does like many other women.
Paula, a resident of Budapest, Hungary, claims: "I was frequently in such pain during my periods that I couldn't get up from the couch to do my work.". Everything was impacted by this, including my attitude, drive, and performance. ".
Then, two years prior, she came across a social media post from a Hungarian start-up called Alpha Femtech asking for volunteers to assist in the testing and development of a brand-new bodysuit that is intended to lessen period pain.
Menstrual cycle questionnaires were completed by applicants, and the most qualified participants were selected by a doctor with expertise in women's health. One of those chosen was Paula.
Later this year, the resulting bodysuit, Artemis, will become commercially available in the UK and the EU. It functions using gel pads for TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) and built-in heat panels.
The latter emit electrical pulses and are frequently used by women during childbirth. According to this, they prevent the brain from receiving pain signals. The uterus and the surrounding muscles are simultaneously relaxed by the heat panels.
The user clips on or inserts a small, palm-sized, battery pack and tens machine into a small pocket on the suit to power the bodysuit. This then establishes a wireless Bluetooth connection with an app on the user's smartphone, allowing them to control the levels of both heat and electricity.
Paula claims that her periods were "a completely different experience" with little to no pain when she wore the bodysuit during testing. The blend of merino wool and synthetic fibers used to make the bodysuit, she continues, makes it "comfortable. nice to wear.
Her period was heavier than usual, which she claims was the only adverse effect. Probably as a result of the effects on relaxing the muscles. ".
Co-founder of Alpha Femtech Anna Zsofia Kormos, who holds a doctorate in wearable smart technology with a focus on menstrual health, is the creator of the bodysuit. Dora Pelczer, her business partner, is a marketing expert.
For the most user-friendly product possible, Ms. Pelczer says, "we talked to 350 women about their menstrual habits.". She continues, "Me and Ms Kormos wanted the €220 ($140; £194) bodysuit to look more like a fashion item than a medical device.".
Rebecca Powderly, a Dubliner, suffers from endometriosis, which makes getting her period painful.
Endometriosis, which is estimated to affect one in ten women, develops when tissue resembling the womb lining grows in other parts of the body, such as the ovaries and bladder. The internal lesions and scars that result from this build-up can be extremely painful.
Rebecca claims that she used to carry a hot water bottle with her as a means of self-comfort. The 28-year-old did it even on nights out, where she claims she received "a few odd looks".
But Rebecca has switched from the hot water bottle to a different wearable tech device that is intended to lessen period pain since September.
A small, wireless tens machine known as the Myoovi is applied to the user's skin either below the belly button or on the lower back.
A tens gel pad, a USB-charged battery, and the control buttons are all housed in a disc-shaped central unit with a diameter of about 8cm (three inches). This fits into a replaceable strip of butterfly-shaped fabric that is sticky on one side like a large plaster and is said to last for 20 to 30 uses before needing to be replaced.
Rebecca explains, "The tens is a strange feeling, yes. It is difficult to describe. The pulses can be quite strong on the higher settings, but they do help with my pain.
"For me, the pain relief begins to work right away. Even though it doesn't completely eliminate my endo stabbing pains, it does lessen them. The constant, dull cramping pain I experience is where I find the most relief. ".
Prices for the Myoovi started at £60 when it was introduced in October 2021. You receive one disc and two sticky strips in exchange for that.
The item is produced by a start-up with the same name based in Manchester. The company's CEO, Dr. Adam Hamdi, had the idea after firsthand experience with tens machines while working for the NHS.
He wanted to develop a wire-free, wireless, portable version so that women with polycystic ovary syndrome, endometriosis, or other conditions could use it anywhere.
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Obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. Karen Morton, the creator of Dr. Morton's medical helpline, explains how tens machines operate. "They use the 'gating theory of pain'," she explains. "By stimulating the spinal cord above the point of origin of the pain, they block the route of the pain from reaching your brain.". The same thing is possible with heat. ".
She emphasizes, however, that any women experiencing painful periods or other gynecological symptoms should have the situation evaluated by a doctor first.
A neurologist, or doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the brain, spinal cord, and larger nervous system, is Dr. Steve Allder.
The use of tens machines, he claims, has potential drawbacks despite studies showing that they are effective at reducing pain. The possibility of habituation and tolerance building up with repeated use of tens makes it unclear what the ideal duration, number, and frequency of treatments are. ".
According to Dr. Hamdi from Myoovi, the length of time that such tens devices can be used depends on how at ease the user is with the electrical sensation.
Paula, who is now in Budapest, declares that she is eager to acquire an Artemis bodysuit that she won't have to give back. "I am eagerly anticipating its release so that I can use it on a regular basis.