The 7 Best Heating Pads for Menstrual Cramps (2023)
Menstrual cramps can be debilitating and often leave us searching for relief. While over-the-counter pain medication can be effective, many women prefer a more natural approach.
One of the simplest and most natural solutions is heating pads for menstrual cramps.
In this post, you’ll find the 8 best heating pads for cramps, according to hundreds of reviews online. These include portable heating pads (microwaveable), stick-on heating pads, and traditional electric heating pads.
This post contains affiliate links, at no extra cost to you.
Our top pick for 2023 is the UTK infrared heating belt, which costs more due to emitting deep-penetrating infrared heat via Jade stones, and is the highest quality build of all heating pads for cramps. We have it and use it for years.
- Weighted and can be used without clothing
- Stays on (and hot)
- Covers the entire stomach or lower back
- How to Choose a Heating Pad for Cramps
- The 7 Best Heating Pads for Menstrual Cramps
- Microwaveable Heating Pads for Cramps
- More Ways to Relieve Menstrual Cramps Naturally
How to Choose a Heating Pad for Cramps
There are many kinds of heating pads on the market:
- Small electric heat pads
- Large heating pads
- Portable heating pads
- Microwaveable heating pads
- Moist heating pads
- Stick on Wraps
So, which heating pad is best for menstrual cramps and period back pain?
In our experience, a heating pad for cramps should be small, but large enough to cover your low abdomen (or lower back). You’ll need to decide whether you want to use it on the go, or you plan to use it at home while lying down and relaxing.
If you suffer from excruciating and debilitating period pain and cramps (when you can’t even move) – you may not want to choose a microwaveable wrap, because the heat may not last long enough for substantial relief.
The best choice for you would be a regular small electric heating pad (either corded or battery-operated), with either dry or moist heat.
If your pain is bearable, and you want to stay on the move – we suggest a portable heating pad that you can easily hide under your clothes and go about your day.
Regular electric heating pads are usually kept at home, and when you feel the painful cramps starting, you plug them in (or turn them on with the remote if they are cordless), choose a heat level and treatment time, and relax.
On the other hand, heat wraps (patches) are so small you can carry them in your bag, and they don’t need a power supply to provide almost immediate heat to relieve your pain, (but you can only use them once).
The 7 Best Heating Pads for Menstrual Cramps
Here’s our short comparison table. Below you’ll find the full reviews for each heating pad for cramps.
|Heating Pad||Bottom Line||Price|
|Sunbeam Ultra Heat||Budget Friendly|
|✅ Check Price on Amazon|
|UTK infrared Wrap||🥇 Best Overall|
Deep Penetrating Infrared
|✅ Check Price on Amazon|
|Sacksy Thyme Aromatherapy Heating Pad||Best with Aromatherapy|
|✅ Check Price on Amazon|
Activated moist heat
|✅ Check Price on Amazon|
|✅ Check Price on Amazon|
1. UTK Infrared Heating Wrap Best Overall
- Size – 7 x 48 x 0.5 inches
- Weight – 1.02 pounds
- Auto shut off – 3 hours (3 time settings)
The UTK heating belt is the only one on our list using infrared heat therapy through Jade stones.
We’ve found that infrared technology is the best form of heat you can use at home – and the most natural one as well.
Infrared light energy (IR rays) penetrates deeper into your aching lower abdomen and lumbar back and boosts blood circulation to the area.
This promotes the speedy arrival of pain-relieving and healing blood components – without any side effects.
The corded belt is EMF-free, and you can set the temperature (up to 150 F!) with the corded controller.
Another unique benefit here is the above-average weight (caused by the Jade stones), which helps push the heat even better when you use it lying down.
✅ Available on Amazon ($67 for the XL)
2. Sunbeam XL Heating Pad with UltraHeat Technology Budget Friendly
- Size – 24 x 2.95 x 12 inches
- Weight: 1 pound
- Auto shut off – no
The Sunbeam heating pad uses UltraHeat Technology to maintain the consistent heat and has a slide controller with 3 heat settings: Low – 90 F / Medium – 95 F /High – 100 F
It’s a basic (and low-cost) heating pad, with no moist heat therapy option or a timer.
It does not shut off automatically and keeps working on and on until you shut it off – no blasted shut off every so often. Some people are looking for this exact feature. However, you’ll have to remember to turn it off when you are done with it.
We recommend not using one on bare skin.
✅ Available on Amazon ($20)
And now, the best cordless heating pad for menstrual cramps:
3. Sunbeam Body-Shaped Heating Pad Best Cordless
- Size – 11″ x 20.5″
- Weight: 1 lb.
- Auto shut off
The Sunbeam body-shaped heating pad is ideal for cramps and pain because it can be wrapped around your lower abdomen via the flexible Velcro straps (which extend up to 70 inches).
This on-the-go wearable heating pad comes with a removable hot (microwaveable) and cold gel pack or a 9 feet long cord, if you want to use it while resting, and it has 5 heat settings.
Sunbeam Body Portable S Heat Pad Pros
- Moist heat option
- It stays in place thanks to the Velcro straps
- The entire pad gets heated
- Wraps entire stomach
- Feels comfortable
- Heats up quickly
- The gel pack requires heating in a microwave
- Can’t be used on bare skin (too hot)
✅ Available on Amazon
And now, for the ultimate portable heat wraps for menstrual pain:
4. ThermaCare HeatWraps Best Stick-On
- Dimensions: 5 x 5 x 5 inches
- Weight: 3.2 ounces
The Thermacare reusable heat pads for period pain are specifically designed for cramps, because they stick to your underwear discretely, cover the entire painful area, and no one will know they are there.
Through our research, these sticky, small, and cordless heating pads are far more comfortable than heating pads, but while they will last for 8 hours – they are made for one-time use only.
The Thermacare heat wraps are air-activated. You stick them to your underwear, open the pouch and it starts to warm up immediately. They are ultra-thin, comfortable, and discreet.
I would give them my highest rating if it weren’t for the fact that you have to keep buying them over and over and the price can add up.
Thermacare Heatwrap Pros
- Stays hot for 8 hours consistently
- Unnoticeable under clothes allows comfortable mobility – ideal for work and house chores
- It May feel a bit bulky
- One time use
✅ Available on Amazon ($13)
5. Thermalon Microwave Activated Heating Pad Best Moist
- Size: 9″ x 12″
- Weight: 1.5 pounds
The popular Thermalon microwave-activated moist heating pad is flexible (conforms to body shape) and delivers consistent heat distribution – without wires, USB, or a controller.
It even has pockets to warm your hands or feet!
The material (Polyester and Spandex) deters mold or bacteria (which is a side effect of rice heating pads) and can be washed and reused for years.
Users confirm that this budget-friendly heat pad is odor-free and fast-acting, and all you have to do is heat it up in your microwave for 1-2 minutes, and enjoy the heat for 20-30 minutes.
✅ Available on Amazon ($17)
Microwaveable Heating Pads for Cramps
Here are two more high-quality heating pads found during my research, both are microwaveable:
1. My Heating Pad – Hot Therapy Pack – Soothing Heat Therapy
It’s a multi-purpose heat pack (12 X 6 inches) that weighs about 2.5 lbs (to keep some pressure on your abdomen) and feels very nice on the skin.
You simply heat it in your microwave and you’re good to go. It’s handmade in the USA and is eco-friendly and pet safe.
2. Sacksy Thyme Ultra Premium All Natural Microwavable Aromatherapy Heating Pads
This natural aromatherapy sack (22 x 7.5 inches) is best for natural living enthusiasts (plus, it’s cute!).
It’s made with 100% cotton in the USA and the sack contains organic flax seed, cherry pits, and herbal filler (lavender, eucalyptus, cherry, and lemon verbena).
When you heat it in the microwave it smells heavenly, but it can also be used as a cold pack. A great way to relax, reduce stress, and relieve your pain.
How Does Heat Help With Cramps?
Experts in obstetrics and gynecology believe that the heating pad helps to relax the myometrium, reducing constriction of blood vessels and improving blood flow to the uterus.
Researchers tested this theory with a small group of women, all of them used a heating pad for 4 hours.
27% of patients had the pain relieved after 1 hour, 43% at the second hour, and 79% at the end of the fourth hour.
Where Do I Place a Heat Pack for Cramps?
For menstrual cramps, a heat pack can be placed directly on the lower abdomen. This area is where the uterus is located and is often where the majority of cramping discomfort is felt. You can also place the heat pack on your lower back as this can help to relieve back pain that often occurs alongside menstrual cramps.
See where to place a heating pad for a UTI, constipation, back pain, and sciatica.
How Long Should I Use a Heating Pad for Cramps?
According to clinical trials, using a heating pad for 4 hours straight can reduce 79% of the pain by the end of the 4th hour. However, you don’t have to use it for the full 4 hours to experience significant pain relief.
👉 The study has found that the patients felt a 27% pain reduction after the first hour, 43% less pain after the second hour, and 79% pain reduction after the 4th hour.
More Ways to Relieve Menstrual Cramps Naturally
In my experience, Ginger, turmeric, and magnesium are just a few of the natural remedies that are very helpful for me, and they are all backed by science. If the pain is located in the lower back, a massage pillow (with Shiatsu rolling motors) can help very quickly, and practicing relation techniques such as meditation works very well as well.
Cramps caused by menstruation can affect both your lower abdomen and lower back and range from being fairly bearable to unbearable and debilitating.
Heating pads have been used for ages to relieve period cramps and are quite simple considering that heat is well-known to ease muscle contractions anywhere in your body.
In this post, I’ve researched and found the 4 best small heating pads for menstrual pain, including a regular electric one, a portable electric one, and the best heat wrap.
Choosing one depends on your specific needs.
What’s your experience with using heat to relieve cramps? let me know in the comments below.
To your health and happiness,
The Back Pain Relief Products Team
Jo, J., & Lee, S. H. (2018). Heat therapy for primary dysmenorrhea: A systematic review and meta-analysis of its effects on pain relief and quality of life. Scientific reports, 8(1), 16252. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-34303-z
Grandi G, Ferrari S, Xholli A, et al. Prevalence of menstrual pain in young women: what is dysmenorrhea?. J Pain Res. 2012;5:169-174. doi:10.2147/JPR.S30602