Review on May 04, 2009
Although the image might strike some as funny at first: a woman wiggling her leg all night, getting up and out of bed repeatedly, possibly tripping over the cat in the darkness of night; restless leg syndrome is a sleep disorder that does not tickle those who suffer from it. In fact, it is a sleep disorder that can have catastrophic effects when compiled with the many other menopausal symptoms that can arise in the middle of a woman's life.
About one out of 25 women in the United States suffers from the sleep disorder Restless Leg Syndrome, or RLS. That's more than twice the frequency found in men with the "creepy crawly" sleep disorder. Research has shown that RLS is most common in women especially during pregnancy and menopause, times when hormones surge and wane in a woman's body, causing sometimes debilitating sleep disorders.
One possible cause of many sleep disorders and RLS in particular is fluctuating levels of the hormone estrogen. As estrogen levels dip, the intake of magnesium is slowed down. Magnesium helps muscles to relax. Low iron levels might also be a cause.
Many women who experience RLS and other sleep disorders, that are often also linked to hot flashes and night sweats - other menopause symptoms, find that they are less productive during the day because they haven't gotten enough sleep, and, in turn, suffer from fatigue (another menopause symptom).
Getting enough physical exercise during the day can help, some sufferers say. There are also some medications that are known to calm the sleep disorder. Whatever the method, it's advised to talk with a medical professional about this serious issue before undergoing treatment.
- Schweitzer, Paula. "Dealing with 'creepy crawly' restless leg syndrome." Stltoday.com, April 9, 2009.