With a tagline of ‘the off switch for menstrual pain’ it’s not surprising that many of us with endometriosis had our interests peaked.
I reached out to the people behind Livia to find out more information about this seemingly miraculous device, and to gauge whether it was too good to be true. My questions to them were centred around how this unit helps to relieve pain from endometriosis specifically. Currently, the company are unable to make specific claims in relation to the Livia unit being a source of relief for endometriosis as they would need to conduct a thorough clinical study amongst endometriosis sufferers. A study on this matter is due to start within the next few months and they are hoping to have FDA approval, and the ability to make the claim against endometriosis pain, within a year. However, they did also say that they have been contacted by ‘literally hundreds of endometriosis sufferers who say that Livia is in fact extremely effective relieving their pain’.
All of this sounded very promising, so when they offered to send me a Livia to try out for myself and to review, I jumped at the chance! I also wanted to make sure that I answered all of your questions about it so if there is anything you want to know that I haven’t covered, please just ask me!
Does it work?
This was definitely the most common question I was asked about the Livia, and while everyone is different, with different pains and different responses to pain relief, what I can say is it did work for me. I found the result to be almost instantaneous. The area between the two flower pads became pain free for me within 20-30 seconds depending on the pain level I was experiencing at the time. The downside for me is that I tend to get pain in multiple places during a flare up and the Livia only allows you to focus on one area at a time.
Is it worth the money?
This is a tough one for me to fully answer, because everyone will have a different budget and considerations. For me, the fact that everything can fit into a compact case is a big bonus, as is it being very discreet whilst wearing it. But there are many cheaper alternatives on the market that do the same thing. Livia do offer a 120 day money back guarantee on their product, so that if it does not work for you a full refund can be issued back to you. If you are considering trying a TENS machine for your pain I would recommend either starting with a lower priced one (there are loads on Amazon) and then buying a more expensive unit such as the Livia once you are confident that it works for you. Or, buying the Livia straight away, and making sure you put it through its paces well within the 120 day guarantee period so that you are able to claim your refund back if it does not work for you.
How soon after surgery can you use it?
I was using my Livia almost immediately after my surgery, but while my wounds on my stomach were healing I only placed the electrodes on my back. I was concerned about doing any lasting damage to my wounds, causing an infection if there was something on the electrode or affecting the healing process. Once the glue was away from my scars and my stitches were out I started to use my Livia on my abdomen when needed – this was roughly two weeks post op. However, I still don’t place the electrodes on my scars (I am currently 10 weeks post op) and I don’t think I will for a very long time.
What does it come with?
The contents in the Livia box are:
– The Livia device
– A skin for the Livia (you choose the colour when purchasing)
– Electrodes: the Livia has only one port to attach the wire two meaning that you can only use two electrodes/sticky pads at one time. There are other TENS units available on the market that have four electrodes and allow you to target more areas at one point.
– 3 month supply of gel pads. Sometimes I manage to make one set of gel pads last longer than the recommended one month as I’ve had a good month and not been in as much pain. This is an additional cost that may not be considered during the initial purchase, as they are only available from Livia because of the shape of the gel pads.
– Travel case for you to carry the Livia around in. My handbag is always absolutely full of junk, and if I didn’t keep my Livia in its case I’m sure the Livia and the wires would have been damaged quite a lot by now.
– Charging cable. This is very handy because the cable plugs into a USB port like most devices and also has the same charging port as many devices currently sold so if you loose the charger is it very easy for you to get your hands on another one!
Does it help pelvic pain as well?
I have never used the Livia to help with pelvic pain, but I have used it for lower back pain and it works very well. Although I can’t say for sure, I would think that if a TENS unit helps with your pain in general that it would help specifically with pelvic pain.
How does it compare to other TENS units?
I have only tried one other TENS unit, and I found that the sensation and the effect was the same as with the Livia. The pain relief provided from both TENS units was the same also. The difference I found was that the Livia was smaller and more discreet and clipped onto my jeans waistband easily. Whereas the other TENS unit was larger and less discreet, bulky and because of the bulk/weight of the TENS it did not sit as easily on the waistband of my jeans.
How may settings does it have?
The literature provided with Livia does not specify how many settings it has, however when you increase the intensity the LED lights increase. I have checked the device and found that once I press the increase intensity button 23 times the limit is reached and the LED lights no longer change. So I would estimate that it has 23 settings, although I’ve never got anywhere near needing to use level 23!
What does it feel like?
It’s a strange sensation to describe, the lower levels feel like a gentle tickling sensation, as the intensity increases the sensation becomes stronger – more like a tingling sensation. This will increase to a feeling kind of like a numbness (although you’re not numb in the sense that the part of your body is useless, just that you can’t feel anything). I have found that when I need to go to the higher levels of intensity I would feel a slightly sharp jolt/sting under the electrodes as my body was surprised by the increased intensity. This was for less than a second and then the numb tingling feeling continued. It is a very similar sensation to pins and needles.
I hope I’ve managed to cover all your questions about the Livia, but if there is anything that I haven’t covered feel free to ask me!