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 a heating pad, to use for menstrual cramps, endometriosis, and lower back pain.
In this post, you’ll find the 7 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.
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Does a Heating Pad 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.
How to Choose a Heating Pad for Period Pain
There are different types of heating pads such as electric, cordless, adhesive, and microwaveable.
Choose the type that suits your lifestyle and needs.
- Small electric heating 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||Best Budget|
|✅ $20 on Amazon|
|UTK infrared Wrap||🥇 Best Overall|
Deep Penetrating Infrared
|✅ $70 on Amazon|
|Sunbeam Cordless Heat Belt||Best for Endometriosis|
|✅ $61 on Amazon|
|Sacksy Thyme Aromatherapy Heating Pad||Best with Aromatherapy|
|✅ $29 on Amazon|
Activated moist heat
|✅ $13 on Amazon|
1. UTK Infrared Heating Wrap Best Overall
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 ($79 for the XL size)
2. Sunbeam XL Heating Pad Best Budget
The Sunbeam heating pad uses UltraHeat Technology to maintain 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 Cordless Heating Pad Best for Endometriosis
The Sunbeam Cordless Heating Belt is a good option for those looking for a portable and rechargeable heating pad for pain relief in the abdomen or lower back area.
However, it may not be the best option for those who require a very hot heating pad or an automatic shut-off timer.
We like that it can be wrapped around the body and that you can move around with it without being stuck next to an outlet. And, it is just as hot as a corded heating belt.
It can extend to 55 inches through the strap, and it is machine washable!
And now, for the ultimate portable heat wraps for menstrual pain:
4. ThermaCare HeatWraps Best Stick-On
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.
5. Thermalon Microwave-Activated Heating Pad Best Moist
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!
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 ($13)
Microwaveable Heating Pads for Cramps
Here are two more high-quality heating pads found during my research, both are microwaveable:
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.
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 most of cramping discomfort is felt.
You can also place the heat pack on your lower back since 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.
Can a Heating Pad Stop Your Period?
There is no scientific evidence that a heating pad can stop your period.
In fact, a heating pad, which increases blood flow in the uterus, may slightly increase your period bleeding and make your uterus “clean up” faster.
This process happens while the heating pad effectively helps relieve menstrual pain naturally.
More Ways to Relieve Menstrual Cramps Naturally
In my experience, Ginger, turmeric, and magnesium oil 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