Kenyan doctors create device to reduce menstrual pain

A group of Kenyan medical specialists has developed a novel device to treat women with menstrual problems.

The device, which is already on the market for a reasonable price, has leads that are attached to adhesive pads known as electrodes, which help transfer small electrical impulses to the uncomfortable area of a woman’s body and, as a result, relieve pain.

One of the device’s primary innovators, Peter Arina, who is also the CEO and co-founder of Swift Wellness, claimed that seeing a friend struggle with menstrual pain prompted him to design a solution.

“Leads are attached to electrodes, which are sticky pads. You place the pads directly on your skin and turn the gadget on to relieve pain. “The pads will provide mild electrical impulses to the painful location,” Arina elaborates.

The electrical impulses, according to the inventors, are capable of lowering pain signals sent to the spinal cord and brain, which may assist reduce pain and relax muscles.

They may also increase endorphin production, which is the body’s natural painkiller.

“The client regulates the impulse on the device based on the pan impulse,” Arina explains.

The device’s functioning mechanism, according to the health informatics specialist, is based on a concept known as gateway control theory, which states that in the human body, an external impulse takes precedence over an internal impulse.

The pain from menstrual periods is an internal impulse that travels all the way to the brain. When the electrodes are placed and the impulse transmission begins, the external impulse is sent to the brain, forcing it to focus on the external impulse, reducing pain in the abdomen.

Dr. Jane Wavinya, a co-author of the innovation and a general practitioner at Karen Hospital, described menstruation misery, also known as primary dysmenorrhea in scientific terminology, as a severe worry for women.

“During menstrual periods, substances called prostaglandins are created, which induce discomfort,” she explained. Uterine contractions and ischaemia, which occurs when the blood arteries in the uterus constrict, limiting blood supply to the uterus, also produce pain.”

She pointed out that women who have a higher tendency to create blood clots are more likely to experience pain since the uterus has to contract more to eliminate these blood clots. She says that the electrical stimulation not only disrupts the pain pathway to the brain, but it also encourages the synthesis of endorphins, the feel-good hormones that reduce pain and improve mood.

“So far, we’ve sold 207 units.” In the evenings, we’ve gotten orders from clients who are glued to their seats due to agony. Mr. Arina says, “We’ve made deliveries late at night and had to deal with people who were irritated due to discomfort.”

Dr. Irene Onyimbo, a physiotherapist at Aga Khan University Hospital, believes the device’s mechanism is safe and similar to those used in physiotherapy to relieve pain.

“To address body ailments, we use Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation technology,” she explains.

Although TENS is generally safe, physicians advise pregnant women to avoid using it in the abdomen and pelvic regions while applying electrodes to those with epilepsy’s head or neck, as this may cause seizures.

It should also be avoided by people with cardiac problems and those who have another form of electrical implant. The time it takes for pain to go away after utilizing a TENS device varies.

Some people may experience pain immediately after turning off the device, while others may enjoy relief for up to 24 hours. The device is not for use by children or teenagers under the age of 16, and it cannot be used underwater.

The device costs Sh3,500 and comes with a manual, electrodes, and a charger. Its battery lasts six hours if used continuously, and it must be fully charged before use.

“Depending on your pain, use it for 30 minutes, then take a one-hour break before using it again.” You can vary the frequency by pressing the M (mode) button, depending on your pain. Dr. Wavinya says, “You can use it at work, while working exercise, and even while sleeping.”

The device, dubbed Jolly, is a transcutaneous electric nerve stimulator that helps women with period discomfort.

“When she connected the electrodes of the device on her lower tummy, it provided sensations that felt like a massage,” said Jacinta Nzyuko, an Embakasi resident who tried the device on her. The pain had reduced in less than 10 minutes.

Nzyuko stated that she has been using it since then.

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