Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is an electrical therapy that potentially could relieve pelvic pain caused by endometriosis.

How TENS works

TENS therapy can reduce different kinds of pain and also may reduce endometriotic pain. TENS uses a mild electrical current to stimulate nerve cells. Electrical impulses seem to influence the pain signals that are sent to the brain and increase the pain threshold.

TENS also may stimulate the release of endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkillers.

A TENS machine is a small device with electrodes or pads. The pads are applied directly to the skin in the affected body area. The procedure is not painful, but the electrical pulses that are sent through the pads cause a tingling sensation.

TENS in clinical trials for endometriosis

Although the effectiveness of TENS has not been tested in clinical trials for endometriosis specifically, the approach has been somewhat effective in other kinds of pain, such as neuropathic (nerve) pain.

Some women with endometriosis have reported that TENS leads to pain relief, suggesting that the procedure may be helpful.


Last updated: Aug. 4, 2019


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