This is not a paid article and has no links to the My Livia company – these are my personal views and opinions.
Good afternoon friends, followers and readers! I am excited to let you finally read this much awaited post and review about the My Livia (or simply Livia) Device.
I have had the little blue thing for over a week now – I was super lucky to win it in an Instagram competition, but it’s been on my wish list, birthday list and Christmas list for a long time!
WHAT IS IT?
The My Livia device (you can head to their website here) is described as a device that “provides instant, drug-free relief from menstrual cramps. In the touch of a button, the wearable device stimulates nerves to block pain. No pills, no side effects, no interruptions to your day.”
It is described at discreet and its website details how it has been approved by various healthcare boards, there are numerous positive reviews and it talks about how the device is scientifically proven to be effective. The device has also won a lot of awards, so something about it must be good.
My Livia is not purely aimed at Endometriosis patients, although it does mention that “it has shown impressive results with women suffering from Endometriosis resulting in significant pain relief”.
In a nutshell, the Livia is simply a TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) machine. TENS machines use electrical currents to stimulate sensory nerves and nerve endings (the nerves that are responsible for what we feel, e.g. light touch to the skin, tickling), which help reduce pain signals from getting the brain and spinal cord. It works due to the sensory nerve stimulation reaching the brain quicker than the pain ones. (If you’d like more information about TENS, you can read this article I wrote previously).
TENS machines can be used for a variety of conditions and problems, as there are all sorts of settings that can be achieved by adjusting the frequency and pulse width of the stimulation.
Most generic over-the-counter TENS machines that you can buy from the likes of high street stores have a wide variety of settings, however the Livia device is set to have a pulse width and frequency that is purely for the pelvic/lower abdominal regions (thoracic nerves). For this reason, only the intensity of the stimulation is adjustable.
It is important to note that there are some people, conditions and reasons why TENS is not suitable for everyone, so if you are thinking of using one or have one, please consult the instructions or a doctor before hand. The NHS Choices website has further information and advice about TENS here.
The device frequently mentions how it is used for menstrual pain, and how “you need to have a period” to use it. I’ve used it outside my cycle as well and it’s been effective. I think the thing to remember with this is that you may find it works a bit better when you’re having a period than when you’re not.
WHAT DO YOU GET?
The My Livia device and kit retails at £149, but whilst I’ve been watching it for the last year or so, it’s seemingly always on offer for around £120.
I’ve seen a few different kits available for purchase, but in the most common one (and the one I have) are;
- The Livia device (in either turquoise – or Tiffany blue as I call it! – lilac, pink or purple)
- A carry case
- Flower pad electrodes
- “3 months supply” of replacement gel pads (2 sets)
- A charging cord (that fits any USB adapter)
- A detailed instruction booklet
You can buy accessories from £9-£25 which include replacement electrodes and silicone skins. I was unable to find any information about how much shipping costs, but when the device is on offer it appears that shipping is free. Shipping is promised to be within 3 days.
The device boasts a battery life of between 12-15 hours and will last years before you need to replace it. It also comes with a 2 year warranty and a money-back guarantee.
The device comes in a well-presented box that you could actually keep and store the bits and pieces in there for storage. The Livia itself is quite small and lightweight. The carry case is sturdy, but I’ve struggled to fit the device and electrodes in it without feeling like the cords would become damaged. There was no assembly required (other than plugging the electrode connector into the device!) and the electrodes came with a set of gel pads on them.
The device was easy to charge, wear and use, and was something that I found I was turning to quite frequently. I could wear it for long periods of time without worries (the instructions advise that you can wear the device for 10 hours, but no more).
I already know that TENS is an effective form of pain relief for myself, so it came as no surprise that the Livia device was effective for me. And by effective, I mean it reduced my pain. The instructions advise that after 10-15 minutes of use, you will feel your pain dramatically decrease or disappear. I would say take this with a pinch of salt – everyone’s pain level and pain perception is different, so don’t be disheartened if it takes a bit longer for yourself.
I found the device was so easy to wear that I wasn’t hesitant to go out of the house with it – the clip on the back of the device to attach it to clothing was strong and sturdy, so I wasn’t worried about it falling off. I was able to wear the device whilst walking, sitting and doing small activities around the house (I was only 1 week post-op when I started using it, mind!) without it falling off, the gel pads moving or the intensity of the stimulation changing.
The fact that you can only change the intensity of the stimulation by pressing the “+” (to increase the sensation) or “-” (to decrease the sensation) buttons meant I wasn’t having to spend time working out which setting was best for me. On previous devices meant I had this problem, so it was nice to be able to wear it without having to mess about with it.
At times I forgot I was wearing it.
The electrode wires are at a decent length, meaning that I wasn’t trying to discreetly tuck in lots of excessive wire, but also worried about it pulling.
Perhaps one of the best things about the kit I received was the extra gel pads, as the instructions advise that the gel pads can be used for about 15 uses – so I’d have almost needed to buy more by now! Again, I would take this 15 uses with a pinch of salt – as long as the pads are adhesive to your skin and are in tact, in theory they should be fine.
The charge time of the device was also impressive – before using the device for the first time you have to charge it for 12 hours regardless, but after that the instructions advise it taking no more than 75 minutes.
(I wouldn’t really call it a “con” but you know what I mean!)
The most frustrating thing for me about the Livia device is the battery life. Despite the instructions, website and instruction videos advising that the battery life lasts for 12-15 hours, this is not the case. So much so that I contacted the My Livia support team as my device was running out a lot quicker and I thought something was wrong.
The help I received was borderline useless – it took me 3 emails to 2 different people to get an answer, as I was just being directed to an online version of the instruction booklet which didn’t help at all.
What they advised me was that the Livia device actually had a battery life of 6-12 hours, very much dependent on the settings. Basically, if you had it on the lowest setting then you’d get the much longer battery life. I was using the device on the 4th or 5th setting (4 or 5 clicks of the “+” button) and the battery lasting around 7 hours.
This is frustrating for me because this meant that My Livia wouldn’t last me the whole day at work or on an outing, places where I would be unable to charge it.
I have also found that the device is not as discreet as it promise, as on the front of the device when it is on, is a bright blue flashing LED light. Whilst this may be a small thing to some people, to me, if I was wearing it at work or out and about, I wouldn’t want people asking me what was flashing beneath my clothes. I have also found that this is a common annoyance among other users.
My final minor issue with the Livia device is the carry case. Why? Because I cannot for the life of me get the TENS device and electrodes into it without the wires being all bent and squashed. This worries me because if the electrode cords/wires are damaged, then it is likely to stop working.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Before any of you start thinking I’m moaning or ungrateful, STOP, because the bottom line is that the My Livia device has worked for me and it is something I would recommend to others.
The “pros” 100% outweigh the “cons”, but I can’t write an article like this without being honest, especially as I have had so many of you get in touch with me about it and are considering purchasing it – after all, it is a lot of money.
And I think really, my main concern with the My Livia device is the cost. It advertises itself as being something so useful and effective for patients like us – those with Endometriosis, chronic pelvic pain and other menstrual disorders – but I think it needs to be more accessible.
We are a population that struggle to work or maintain being at work, are sick frequently and undergo operations, so spending up to £149 on something may be out of reach for some. Whilst you can buy other similar devices for less than £50, they don’t have the evidence and support behind them like My Livia does. My Livia works better than the cheaper similar devices I’ve used.
I found My Livia really really effective for me and my pain. I found my pain reduced and at times disappeared whilst wearing it, and on some days I even found that my pain took ages to return when I stopped using it.
This is something that I would recommend to people with and without Endometriosis.
If you’re thinking of purchasing the My Livia then I think it is a great investment, it works really well and it does do pretty much all of what it promises (and if anyone can figure out how to fit the electrodes and device into the carry case, then please, let me know!).