* Prices may differ from that shown
I unfortunately suffer from IBS and when I get stomach cramps all I want to do is curl up in a ball with a hot water bottle. However, at work this isn't always possible which is why I tried our heat pads as they work as well (if not better) than a hot water bottle but are more discreet.
These come in a cardboard box with three individually sealed sachets inside. The idea is that you should open each sachet as you need a heat pad (they are air activated so only open them as you need them). The pads themselves are incredibly un-glamorous but they work so I am not going to complain. They have two sides to them a silver sticky side (accessed by peeling off the adhesive strip) and a plain white fabricy side.
The idea is that you stick it to your clothing and it will gradually heat up over the day (I stick them to my knickers as that way I can hide the fact that I am wearing a heat pad) but whatever you don't stick them directly on the skin as the metallic side will get quite hot and you could burn yourself.f
Although I mainly use these pads for IBS I have to say they are also great for any kind of stomach cramp especially period pain and can be used anywhere you have aches and pains but as they are a reasonably large rectangle you may prefer one shaped to other parts of the body. Once on they reach full heat in about 30 minutes and then continue to give off gentle heat for the next 12 hours or so (although after a few hours the heat is not as intense and it gradually peters off). Once on they are very soothing and comforting and far more practical then a hot water bottle. While they don't completely remove c ramps they do sooth them a lot and make it easier to function - for it takes my cramps from only wanting to curl up in a ball and sleep to a mild dull ache making them far more manageable.
They are also quite discreet as you can wear them under your clothes so no one need know you are wearing a heat pad which is great and it's much better than sitting with a hot water bottle on your lap (they also stay warmer longer which is a bonus). The only thing I would say about the pads is because they use what I assume is a gel based formula to heat up after a while as the heat is generated it does get a bit harder and so the pads get a bit more rigid but its only minor and worth it for the pain relief. The sticky side is also not very sticky so try not to keep repositioning it as it will lose adhesiveness and may fall down. Walking around with them on at first feels weird as they can feel quite heavy when you are not used to them but I have managed to get from work home with no mishaps.
At around £3.50 for a pack of three in chemists they are a pretty good solution that lasts a while but to be honest they are the same as any other heat pad despite the branding for IBS so I tend to buy the cheapest on offer - usually Boots own brand- which is why I am knocking a star off.
As a concept though the pads are fantastic - they are drug free and convenient and so far are one of the best solutions for stomach cramp I have come across.
I do not actually have irritable bowel syndrome myself but I do have something similar. I find that whenever I get extremely stressed over something I experience agonising stomach cramps, which get really severe over the time of examinations at university, interviews, etc. I also struggle with extremely bad period pain at these times.
It was when I was struggling with a particularly bad episode of period pains that I decided to go online and search for cures, as painkillers just weren't helping! Everywhere I went I found recommendations for warm baths or heat pads so I decided to give it a go!
I bought these heat pads from Lloyds Pharmacy in Englefield Green for only £3.97 for a pack of 3. This was one of the cheapest brands that were there, some of them were going for £7+! I've also seen these in my local Boots for £3.99, so there seems to be a good availability. Of course, they are also available online from Amazon or online pharmacies so they aren't too hard to get your hands on.
It was really easy to work out how to use them. You simply open the packet and take of the strip and attach the sticky side to to the clothing/underwear over the stomach area. The side against your stomach then warms up gradually over a 12 hour period. It does say not to wear them for longer than 12 hours and I have found that after this 12 hour period that it becomes less effective and progressively cools down until it is at room temperature. I have also worn one for 24 hours to get the most use out of it and I've been fine using it for that amount of time.
It takes about 30 minutes to heat up to its full temperature and sometimes it does get really hot after this! I do wish it would warm up quicker than 30 minutes. The powder inside the sachet is air activated and so I sometimes shake the packet to try and make the air get to it quicker!! But this is my only complaint. It does warn of the possibility of causing burns on the packet, and while this does seem unlikely, a few times I have had to pull it away from my skin for a while in order for it to cool back down!!
The heat has the effect of relaxing the cramping muscles in your stomach. It's also been scientifically proven that the heat can increase your blood circulation so it really helps to relax my cramping stomach muscles, the packet does warm not to put it over your heart and on your genitals so be aware of that!!
Overall I would say that this has provided a great solution to my problems, without having to resort to medication. it's very discreet and nobody will know that you are wearing it. It's good value for money and I have been using it for months! I have tried other, more expensive, brand names and they perform in exactly the same way and do not offer any added benefits so I would stick with Cura-Heat for a cheap solution to cramping stomach muscles.
Thank you for reading :)
*also posted on Ciao under the same username*
Although Cura-Heat Irritable Bowel Syndrome heat pads are sold for IBS symptoms I use them for menstrual cramps. I pick up boxes of three heat pads in poundland but they are also available at Boots and other pharmacies for around £3.79 per packet.
Using a hot water bottle or a microwavable wheat pouch is a brilliant way to soothe many types of pains, the problem is that your hot water bottle is not much use if you are out and about so a smaller air activated heating pad can be useful. Each of the Cura-heat pads is around 3 by 4 inches in size and only a couple of mm thick so can easily be slipped into your bag.
To use the heat pack you remove it from it's plastic covering and remove the backing paper, the pad contains iron, activated carbon and water and these ingredients are somehow activated when air hits them to release heat. The pad itself looks like a large dressing with white perforations on one side and adhesive on the other.
The main problem is applying the pad to your body, the instructions tell you not to stick them directly onto skin so you would need to be wearing huge Bridget Jones style knickers to give them a surface to stick to. Once the pad is in place because of the thinness it is not visible under tight clothing and the strong adhesive means it stays in place.
The pad takes ages to heat up, probably a good hour to heat up to it's maximum temperature. I have no idea what the temperature is but it is warm enough to give a soothing heat without feeling too hot against your skin. I was really surprised that the heat pad does actually give out heat for a full 12 hours as advertised on the box so the pad will last you a full day without having to change it. The pad works well at easing menstrual cramps and I am sure it would work just as well on any type of pain, there's no law that says you need to use it on your belly only!
The problem with the heat pack is that the texture changes as the day wears on, when you have a fresh heat pad it is nice and flexible but the material inside it begins to harden as the day goes on, it is still fairly comfortable though.
I don't think I would pay full price for these Cura-heat pads but they do work well and can be used instead of taking painkillers, grab them in Poundland and you will be getting a good buy. You could also do what my daughter did and stick them inside the front pocket of your hoodie meaning they will both keep your hands warm and provide relief for your stomachache at the same time!
Before I get stuck into writing this review I would first off like to point out that I don't suffer with irritable bowl syndrome (thank goodness) and these patches are called that. However in Boots the chemist I had terrible period pains and was suffering stomach cramps and my stomach was on the move and making all sorts of weird noises! I got talking to the pharmacist in there because I wanted something to elevate the symptoms but because I have an eating disorder, and am on other medications etc I have to be very careful what I take. As he pointed out these can also be used for cramps, aches and pains and there is no saying that you have to use them on the stomach (or around the stomach) anyway (though I did of course!).
Bright orange box with a woman using one of the patches. On the front of the box I'm told that they are Cura-Heat Irritable Bowl Syndromes Air-Activated Heat Packs For Targeted Relief 'New! Non-medicinal warming relief for abdominal spasms, cramps, pain + aches' and I'm told they are ready to use, that my box contains 3 of them and that they offer 12 hour relief. On the back of the box Im told a bit about the product and directions for use are given, warnings are listed as are some precautions, I'm given advice on how to store them and finally contact details for Kobayashi Healthcare (the manufacturers of the product are listed).
Each pack comes in a clear wrapper that looks exactly the same as, and contains the same information as the box.
A Bit About The Product According To The Information On The Box (and packs):
Cura-Heat irritable bowel syndrome is an air-activated heat pack designed to provide 12 hours of continuous non-medicinal warming relief to the abdominal spasms, cramps, pains and aches associated with irritable bowel syndrome. Just open the sachet and attach to clothing/underwear over the stomach area where the heat radiates through, providing a deep comforting heat which increases blood circulation and relaxes the abdominal muscles of the stomach. Portable, thin and discreet Cura-Heat irritable bowel syndrome can be used anywhere and anytime.
Directions For Use:
Open the sachet by hand (do not cut) and remove the Cura-Heat pack.
Peel away the paper strip.
Adhere to clothing/underwear over the stomach area.
Cura-Heat warms up gradually and reaches maximum heat within approximetely 30 minutes.
Cura-Heat is air-activated - do not open the sachet until you are ready to use it.
Me Using It:
Well like I say I was in town and in quite a bit of pain. I felt bloated and yukky, all my back hurt and the pain killers I am allowed to take were at home! Sadly my pain killers work and are prescribed so like I say I really wanted something none medicinal just to tide me over till I could back to them. So I purchased these, nipped to some public loos and used one by which time abdominal pains and cramps were doubling me over!
The patches themselves are quite large, white in colour and made of a robust tissue type of fabric that is soft to the touch. The peel off strip to the back of it peels away easily and you simply put it in position and make sure clothing covers it and pat it on so it securely sticks (which it does really well and gave me no issues at all!). This was easy to do! So when the patch was on it was really discreet because it's not thick and bulky, it doesn't have any aroma and no one knows it's there.
It does take about 30ish minutes to get warm but when it does it really does do it well! Not to hot it simply gives out a very comfortable heated sensation and whats more I left mine on well over 12 hours and when I disposed of it, it appeared as good as new and was still as warm as the hottest it had got on me! Comfortable to wear it never irritated my skin or me and never got too hot or dislodged itself I was really very, very impressed with the quality of these and since have no real use for the patches (I had two left) and as they are only heat patches used them on my lower back where I am prone to really bad muscle pain and general aches.
Do They Work Though?:
Sadly they didn't do much for me but I really was in a lot of pain. I mean I can't categorically say they didn't work! I certainly felt more a little more comfortable with them on, found them easy to use and the only really bad thing I can say is that they take half an hour to heat up and when your in pain and in need of immediate relief that could be 24 hours! I didn't find them a miracle cure but did find them to great quality and very easy to use and I like the way they are portable and discreet I mean who wants a bulge in their pants? lol. Though as I say sadly although I felt they had a nice warming sensation and I even left mine on whilst I slept they didn't help my pain!
Expect to pay about £3.99 (a pack of three) in places like Boots and all good chemists and recommended to try along with medication if need be!
Although I do not have I.B.S I have used these heat pads for cramp and they work brilliantly.
The pack contains three one use pads sealed in plastic wrappers. When a pad is removed from its wrapper it makes contact with the air. This is what activates the heat pad. It does not heat up immediately but gradually heats to the maximum temperature over the first 30 minutes. The box contains multiple warnings that remind to user to place it on clothing, not in direct contact with the skin.
The pads have sticky side which is best stuck to a t-shirt or underwear. Although they do no damage to clothing, it is still best to stick it to something basic and not your favourite top. They stay in place really well and as they can be stuck anywhere, they provide excellent targeted relief. The pack also contains lots of information about proper usage.
They heat up to a very comfortable heat. They are hot enough that you can feel the difference, but also remain at a temperature that is entirely relaxing, not burning. The work beautifully and the heat lasts more the 12 hours.
Cura-Heat IBS pads worked extremely well for my own cramp, however, it would be good to have a review up here from someone with IBS to see if they work well for their symptoms.
Pain Relief. Air activated heat packs that help subside abdominal pains, spasms, cramps, pains and aches.