There are a multitude of causes for stomach pain, from menstrual cramps to constipation to general tummy aches. The application of heat is a tested method to relax the stomach muscles and relieve any pain you may be experiencing. Many different types of pads are available on the market–from single-use pads, to microwavable wheat pads, to high-tech electric models with temperature control. No matter what type of pad you have, there is a way to use your pad safely and effectively.
Check the pad to make sure it is clean, free of defects and in good working order.
Cover your heating pad with a soft towel, or the cover provided with the heating pad.
Heat your heating pad. If you are using a microwavable pad, heat in the microwave for one to two minutes with a cup of water sitting next to the pad. If you are using an electric pad, turn the pad on, set it to the desired temperature, and wait for it to heat up. Always start with a low setting and work your way up to a comfortable temperature.
Apply the pad to your stomach. Make sure the pad is sitting on top of your stomach and is not trapped underneath your body. If you cannot control the temperature setting, and you find the pad is too hot, try placing another towel between the pad and your skin.
Keep the pad applied to your stomach for a maximum of 15 minutes. When using an electric pad, remember to switch it off and unplug it from the wall after use.
When purchasing an electric heating pad, look for models which have a timer setting. This way the pad will turn itself off after a predetermined period of time, reducing the risk of burns.
Using a heating pad directly on the stomach is not recommended for pregnant women.
Never use an heating pad while sleeping, as you can run the risk of burning your skin or setting a fire.
Charlie Higgins is journalist, editor and translator based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He has written for a variety of lifestyle and niche market websites, including International Food Trader, The Olive Oil Times, microDINERO, Sounds and Colours, Connecting Worlds and The Buenos Aires Reader.