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If you’ve ever had cramps during your period, you know they can range from mild to totally debilitating.

While there are lots of ways to soothe them, one common tactic is to use a heating pad. It not only feels comforting, but it can also help relieve pain.

Ready to try one? We gathered 10 of the best heating pads for cramps to help make your period less of a pain. Plus, we’ll dive into to how, exactly, heat works its magic on cramps.

From warm compresses to hot water bottles of decades past, heat has long been a home remedy for menstrual cramps. But it turns out that science supports heat as an effective treatment for the pain.

When you apply heat to the lower abdomen or lower back, uterine contractions are relaxed, which in turn means less pain.

Additionally, a 2018 research review noted that heat increases blood flow, which can also reduce pain.

To find the best heating pads for menstrual cramps, we looked at reviews for different types of heating pads. We kept in mind a variety of needs and lifestyles. You’ll find the following types of heating pads on our list:

  • cordless
  • electrical
  • adhesive
  • microwaveable

Additionally, all the products included have been vetted to ensure they meet Healthline’s medical and business standards. You can read more about our process here.

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $20
  • $$ = $20–$50
  • $$$ = over $50

Best weighted heating pad for cramps

Sharper Image Calming Heat Massaging Weighted Heating Pad

  • Price: $$$
  • Type: electric

This heating pad is best for those looking for a bit more intervention for their cramps. With a total weight of 4 pounds, it helps put pressure on the lower abdomen or back, offering comfort to those experiencing menstrual cramps. Vibration helps relax the muscles.

Reviews are mostly positive, though some say they wish the vibration feature worked better.

Best rechargeable heating pad for cramps

Sunbeam Goheat Cordless Heating Pad

  • Price: $$$
  • Type: cordless

This heating pad comes with a rechargeable lithium battery that can run up to 4 hours. It also heats up really fast — within just 30 seconds. You can even spray the pad with water if you want to turn it into a warm compress.

Reviewers seem to love the ability to walk around free of a cord while receiving hours of continuous heat. It’s ideal for people who don’t have time to stop and relax while trying to soothe cramps.

Best budget heating pad for cramps

Attmu Classic Rubber Transparent Hot Water Bottle

  • Price: $
  • Type: hot water bottle

Old-fashioned? Perhaps. But a hot water bottle is a tried and true way to keep heat on your lower abdomen or lower back.

Available in eight colors, each bottle includes a cozy knit cover. The bottle should fit up to 2 liters, though you may want to fill it a little less full depending on where you want to place it.

Some reviewers note that the bottle has a strong chemical smell when it’s first opened. If you’re sensitive to smells, you may want to let it air out before using it.

Best adhesive heating pad for cramps

Rael Heating Patch

  • Price: $
  • Type: adhesive

The Rael Heating Patch is not technically a heating pad, but the budget-friendly adhesive patches offer some serious cramp relief on the go. They’re made to start heating up as soon as you open them.

While you’ll want to avoid attaching these straight to your skin, you can place them on the underside of your shirt or on your underwear. They’re small, discreet, and well-loved by reviewers.

Best washable heating pad for cramps

Sunbeam Premium Machine Washable Integrated Heating Pad with Compact Storage

  • Price: $$
  • Type: electric

This heating pad has four unique settings so that you can customize your pain relief. It also has handy straps on the end, so you can roll it up neatly for storage.

But, perhaps best of all, it’s totally washable. Just disconnect the controller, and you can toss it in the machine.

One reviewer who says they bought the heating pad for cramps notes that it heats up quickly — and that it works great for muscle aches, too.

Best automatic shut-off heating pad for cramps

Homedics Heating Pad

  • Price: $$
  • Type: electric

With a 9-foot cord and an automatic shut-off feature, this 12 x 24 inch heating pad will keep you comfortable and safe as you drift off to sleep.

One reviewer who bought this for cramps praises the removable sponge pad that provides moist heat. They also say the removable cover is “super soft.”

Best microwaveable heating pad for cramps

Natural Life Shaped Heating Pad, Sloth

  • Price: $$
  • Type: microwaveable

This pad can be heated or cooled, making it a versatile pick.

It’s filled with rice and relaxing lavender. And, while the sloth design is adorable, the kidney bean shape is also practical for soothing menstrual cramps.

Reviewers praise the cute design and say the pad retains heat nicely.

Best wearable heating pad for cramps

CHICIRIS Special Protection Sets Menstrual Heating Pad

  • Price: $$$
  • Type: cordless

This wearable heating pad is designed specifically for warming the lower abdomen. It uses infrared heat, meaning it emits electromagnetic waves invisible to the naked eye.

Studies done in 2011 and 2012 found that this type of heat is effective for cramp relief.

Best large heating pad for cramps

Western Nest Therapad

  • Price: $$$
  • Type: electric

This is another infrared heating pad, except it’s designed to be laid across your body rather than worn like a belt. At 23 x 12 inches, it can be used to cover your back, stomach, or other large areas of the body.

Most reviewers say they love the consistent delivery of infrared heating from this pad. Some say they like wrapping it around their back and stomach at the same time.

Best whimsical heating pad for cramps

Huggable Uterus Cooling + Heating Pad

  • Price: $$
  • Type: microwaveable

It’s a uterus-shaped uterus warmer. We couldn’t resist.

Enjoy the silliness of the shape of this heating pad while calming your menstrual cramps. Laughter is the best medicine, after all!

Heating pads are wonderful tools for alleviating menstrual cramp pain, but there are some safety caveats.

You can put the heating pad on your lower abdomen or your lower back, but make sure to not place any heating element directly on your skin. If you choose to use a higher heat setting, limit your direct contact to under 15 minutes in order to avoid burns or overheating.

Additionally, if you’re using an electric heating pad, be sure not to fall asleep while using it. You may want to opt for one that includes an auto shut-off feature.

In addition to heating pads, here are other ways to relieve menstrual cramps:

  • Over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers. You can try ibuprofen or acetaminophen for cramp relief, or talk with your doctor to see if a prescription-strength option may be right for you.
  • Light exercise. While working out may be the last thing you want to do on your period, getting some movement into your day may help relieve pain.
  • Ice therapy. If heat doesn’t appeal to you, cold packs may help.
  • Orgasms. Having sex or masturbating on your period could help cramps, thanks to the rush of pain-relieving hormones.

Can a heating pad make cramps worse?

Unfortunately, yes.

Overuse of a heating pad can backfire, causing worsening menstrual cramps. Try to alternate between heat and cold therapy to find a balance for yourself.

How long can you use a heating pad for cramps?

This varies by individual. But, generally, the lower the temperature, the longer you should use the heating pad.

Try starting with 15 minutes on a lower setting. If you can tolerate this and find it helps, slowly increase the time and the heat.

Where do you put a heating pad for cramps?

For menstrual cramps, heating pads can be applied to the lower abdomen or lower back.

While many people experience cramps in their abdomens, tolerating a heating pad on that spot may be difficult, so try the lower back as an alternative.

A heating pad can be a great tool for relieving period cramps. Just be sure not to apply it directly to your skin or fall asleep while using it.

If heat doesn’t help, talk with your doctor about other pain-relief options.