As you know, from time to time we get offers to review products that manufacturers may feel are useful to our readers. I like to extend those review opportunities from time to time to other Warriors in my local support group. So, today, we’re publishing another review by Nicole. And the one condition I make when accepting a product is our reviews will be unbiased and 100% honest; no sugar-coating anything.
Ovira reached out to use with their new product, a discreet device that may help with menstrual cramps. But without further adieu, I’ll let Nicole take it away:
Today I’d like to talk about something that a lot of my EndoSisters suffer from: Interstitial Cystitis, also known as IC.
Interstitial what? That’s what I thought the first time I heard of it a few years ago. Heck, my doctor even suspected I had it (we check every time I go in for surgery, and so far: no tell-tale signs). I’ve been telling myself for a few years now that I needed to research and write about it…so today I am!
What is it?
Let’s start off with: it’s been around for quite a while. The first written description of IC was back in 1836 by Philadelphia surgeon, Joseph Parrish.
Some of you may be asking “What is Livia?” It’s been hyped in the news and social media since 2016 and has recently made a comeback in my Facebook newsfeed. Livia recently won the Gold for Women’s Wellbeing at the Edison Awards. Imagine a tiny device that you can wear around discreetly all day. It retails for roughly $150 on MyLivia’s webpage and Amazon and you can purchase additional gel pads to use for future cycles.
Some have compared the Livia to a TENS unit. TENS units can be large, bulky, cumbersome, and not to mention intimidating with all of the buttons, wires, and knobs. Sure, I can figure it out…but then I’d also have to lug that thing to work, out shopping, etc. The Livia is a small, discreet, and incredibly user-friendly medical device. It supposedly works by tricking the mind by keeping it busy with a little electric pulsing that deflects or confuses the pain signals going up to your brain…I had my doubts.
A study of 163 women who suffered from severely painful periods was conducted, and 80% of them reported that Livia either “helped to either significantly or completely eliminate their use of pain medications while menstruating.” There was a recent 2018 study conducted on the effectiveness of Livia to treat painful periods, and those results will hopefully be released by the end of the year.
As a side note regarding Endometriosis pain (which, as we know, can be far more severe than normal menstrual cramps), Livia’s manufacturer can’t recommend Livia for use in treating endometriosis until an independent clinical study among endometriosis patients is completed in 2019. However, dozens of endometriosis suffers have posted messages reviews on Amazon and other places saying that Livia is very effective in reducing or eliminating their endometriosis pain.
On June 17, 2018, I wrote Livia to inquire if I could connect with someone at the company to discuss their product and how it has helped women with Endometriosis. I also asked if they’d be able to provide me customer testimonials by women who suffer from Endometriosis. I explained who I was and that I suffer from Endometriosis and write a blog about the illness.
A day later, I had a response. After answering a few questions about my blog and my intentions, Livia offered to mail me a unit in exchange for my unbiased opinion and review.
I jumped at the chance!
It arrived from Israel on June 27, 2018. I took copious notes and wanted to share my experiences with you!
The Great Unboxing!
As of the writing of this blog (July 9, 2018), I used the Livia from June 28, 2018 through July 4, 2018. I expected to start my period the week of June 28, 2018. I experienced all sorts of cramping and PMS symptoms, but alas, my period never came (sometimes I skip a month). But, my pain was elevated enough where I believe the Livia got a good test run. And I look forward to testing it out on future painful days. I also had another excision surgery on July 18, 2018, so it will be a few months before I will be well enough to test the Livia again. But test I shall! Stay tuned!
I also learned that Livia is only intended to be used for menstrual cramps and lower back pain associated with menstrual cramps. Due to my Endometriosis and resulting scar tissue, I also experience pain on the lower edges of my pelvic region near my hip bones, and along the underside of my ribs. The Livia is not intended for use in those areas. In fact, any placement of the Livia gel pads near the thoracic region is strictly forbidden. And I asked about the use of Livia for neck or shoulder pain: again, please do not use the Livia for any other area of the body except menstrual cramps and menstrual-related lower back pain.
Okay, on with the show! Below is a summary of my experiences (unless you’d rather read my detailed notes).
June 28, 2018: It tickles. But you soon forget about the tickle and pretty much forget you’re wearing it. For me, my ideal setting was hitting the + Button twice. So, let’s call it Level Two. Anything beyond a pleasant tickle is too much, according to the user manual.
June 28, 2018: PMS cramping pain was a 4-5 out of 10. It dropped to a 1 out of 10 just 17 minutes later. Within an hour of turning it on, I had zeroPMS cramping. I turned off the unit, and my pain returned an hour and 15 minutes later.
June 28, 2018: PMS cramping pain was a 4 out of 10. Within 45 minutes (took some time to adjust the settings), the pain had reduced to zero! Sometimes it crept back up to a one but dropped back down quickly to zero. Turned off the device an hour after turning it on.
June 28, 2018: PMS cramping pain returned within an hour of turning off the Livia. It was a 4 out of 10, but within 15 minutes of wearing the Livia on Level 2, it had once more reduced my pain to a zero out of 10!! Turned off the device after an hour of having it on.
June 28, 2018: Pain returned within 10 minutes of shutting off the device. It was now a 5 out of 10. Turned it back on to Level 2 and within 20 minutes, pain reduced to zero…again! Kept it on for about an hour.
June 28, 2018: My biggest tip to pass on about the Livia? When you have to use the restroom, instead of unclipping the unit from your pants or dress or shirt, simply turn the device off and unplug the gel pads cable from the unit. Mind the dangling “tail” as you pee, then reattach it when you’re done.
June 29, 2018: PMS cramping returned at a 5 out of 10 and I reached for my trusty Livia, turning it on to Level 2. Within 15 minutes, the cramps subsided to a zero out of 10! It turned off the Livia five minutes later. While driving, my Livia pad felt a little squiggly on my skin, and I pulled over and looked down. It had peeled half-way off. Not off of my skin, but off of the flower pad. So I peeled it all the way off and stuck it back on, smooshing real hard. It remained on the rest of the day.
July 3, 2018: I didn’t have any cramps for the past few days, but they came back at a 6 out of 10. So I turned my Livia on to a Level 2 for 15 minutes and my cramps were reduced to a 1 out of 10.
July 4, 2018: Cramping was a 6 out of 10. I grabbed my Livia, slapped on my pads, and plugged it in, turning it up to Level 2. I couldn’t feel the usual buzzing-tickle on Level 2, so I bumped it up to Level 3. About 20 minutes later, my cramps were back down to a wonderful 1 out of 10.
All of the pain I’ve felt since July 4th has been in areas that I was recommended not to use my Livia: my lower pelvis near my hips, my under-ribs, and a weird spot near a cyst that I know exists.
I never tried the Livia on my lower back since that pain was been super manageable at a 1-2 out of 10. But, when that pain exceeds a 2 or 3, I’ll be sure to try it out.
I am the most skeptical person you’ll ever meet. Especially when it comes to products that are marketed specifically for conditions that a large population suffers from: like painful periods. But this device was truly incredible. I’m elated. And flabbergasted. And amazed. And excited.
But was it worth it? Of course, it was for me since I didn’t have to pay. But would it be worth it for $150? I’d like to say, “Yes.” At least for me. Livia offers a 120 Day Money Back Guarantee, although some online reviews mention that you have to pay a sometimes hefty international shipping charge to send it back to Israel. And there’s a 2-year warranty on the product when you purchase it, so if it breaks during that time, you’re covered!
It’s easy to use.
It recharges on any mini-USB charger.
And, for me, it worked like a charm!
Granted, I couldn’t give it the 100% Endometriosis-period test…but it did help with a lot of my PMS pain and cramping. And I also will be doing another full review after my surgery if my painful Endometriosis symptoms return. Again…stay tuned!
Would I recommend it? I’m gonna have to say Yes…but I will also highly recommend you keep your own notes and evaluate how well it works (or doesn’t) for you. And take advantage of that money back guarantee if it doesn’t. There is no shame in returning something.
what others thought:
A few of our blog readers have also started using the Livia unit with mixed results. Everyone’s bodies are different and, of course, not everyone will have the results that I did. So I wanted to share their experiences here:
4/24/19: A fellow EndoWarrior, Kitty, purchased a new Livia unit and calendared the date she had to return it in order to get her refund, if needed. Here’s her short report: My pain was not too bad this month, but uncomfortable enough that I had to take Advil. There are times when Advil doesn’t work. I used Livia a few days straight and a few hours at a time. I can no conclude that Livia or TENS does not work for me. Not even slightly. I am returning the device and I am glad that I am able to ship it back to Atlanta and not Israel.
If YOU would like to share your review of the Livia unit on our blog to help others make their own decisions to try it out, please contact me.
(Updated April 24, 2019)
Clinicaltrials.gov – The Effectiveness and Safety of LIVIA Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) in Women Suffering from Primary Dysmenorrhea.
HealthcareDive.com – (Press Release) Livia – Drug Free Solution for Menstrual Pain Now HAS FDA, CE, and Health Canada
~ Again, I am a layman. I do not hold any college degrees, nor mastery of knowledge. Please take what I say with a grain of salt. If curious, do your own research 😉 Validate my writings. Or challenge them. And ALWAYS feel free to consult with your physician. Always. Yours ~ Lisa
Michelle was diagnosed with Endometriosis when 20. Now 35, and living in La Mesa, California, Michelle shares her Endo story with us.
Michelle’s Journey: My endo story I first got my period at 10 years old. I remember I was still in elementary school, playing in PE when I got my first one. From there, my periods became increasingly more and more painful.
By 15 years old I remember rolling around on the ground in the bathroom, sometimes in so much pain that it made me throw up. I would miss school sometimes but most of the time tried to tough it out. My periods were always at least 7 days long, super heavy and lots of huge clots. I thought that was normal…..I was taught to believe this was all normal.
One of our readers (who shall remain anonymous) asked if we could look into a topic: “Pudendal nerve pain-when is it endo and when is it not? Or is there even a way to know?” So, here I go off to learn things and hopefully share a bit of that newfound knowledge. And since this blog entry is Endometriosis-related, I’m going to keep the anatomy female (although men have a pudendal nerve and can also suffer from these symptoms).
Where’s the Pudendal Nerve?
The pudendal nerve is located back by the tailbone, and extends along the pelvic floor and around the pelvis, toward the rectal, gluteal, and clitoris areas. There’s two: a right and a left pudendal nerve. One or both pudendal nerves may cause issues, which we’ll get into right now!