Menopause and Magnesium Deficiency
Menopause symptoms — which are the first ones that spring to mind? I’d wager it’s most likely hot flushes, low libido or irregular periods.
Some other symptoms we may experience, however, are seemingly harder to associate with the process. Have you experienced any of the following?
- Heavy, aching legs
- Restless legs
- Leg cramps
- Leg swelling
- Varicose veins
- Hot legs
Indeed, it’s actually fairly common for the menopause to cause us one or two leg troubles. If you’re suddenly not feeling as light on your feet as you used to be, there’s a reason — and a solution. Let’s discuss.
Menopause leg aches and heavy, tired lower limbs — it’s down to circulation
We all expect achy and tired legs after a workout or a long walk — that’s completely normal — but if they’re feeling heavy and tired for no reason, then this could be to do with your menopause.
Perhaps you feel like you are walking through treacle, or that your legs feel weighed down. Every step seems to take an incredible amount of effort and energy. You could be suffering from heavy leg syndrome.
Like the majority of the symptoms we experience during the menopause, it’s down to the profound power of fluctuating hormone levels.
Declining oestrogen can create changes in the circulation to your legs; muscles and cells may not be getting the same amount or consistency of oxygen and fuel, leaving them feeling tired and heavy.
So, menopause leg aches — what can be done?
It’s known that being overweight can be a contributing factor, so embarking on a new healthy eating and increased activity plan is a good start.
Sitting or standing for long periods of time can contribute to the problem; set an hourly alarm on your watch or phone so that you can regularly take a 5–10 minute break.
This switch in movement will help to support blood circulation and alleviate the menopause leg swelling or leg ache you’re experiencing.
Dehydration can be a culprit. Make sure you’re adequately hydrated.
Also, either at the end of the day, or even in the middle of day, elevating your legs helps to drain fluid and refresh the circulation. This releases pressure that could be building up and creating a sensation of heaviness.
Unsettling, throbbing menopause leg pain? It could be restless leg syndrome
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) can be brought on by the menopause. This is down to falling oestrogen levels affecting our circulation. RLS is considered a disorder of the nervous system which impacts on the muscles in the legs. A restless night’s sleep caused by this can feed back into the cycle, weakening our immune system.
During the menopause, many women experience tingling or an uncomfortable throbbing, jittery, crawling or shaky sensation in their legs. Not only can this be painful, but these sensations can rob us of our sleep, contributing to fatigue and low energy.
As well as supporting normal muscle function, the mineral magnesium found in green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, fish and avocados, contributes to the normal functioning of the nervous system. Supplementing with the mineral may help settle your legs, so you can feel more comfortable.
Stress and anxiety can also enhance RLS, so finding ways to relax may help to allay your symptoms. Meditation, massage and soaking in a warm bath may help you unwind.
Menopause leg cramps — it could be a magnesium deficiency
Muscle cramps before bed can be a nightmare, and they can appear as a result of the menopause process. This can also manifest itself as pins and needles.
As with RLS, menopause leg cramps often point towards a magnesium deficiency. Crucial for muscle relaxation, many menopausal women lack this important nutrient; falling oestrogen levels can affect how efficiently our bodies take it up.
As well as being implicated in leg cramps, a lack of magnesium can be linked to digestive troubles.
Hormonal fluctuations can also cause the stress hormone cortisol to increase, with the added tension adding to the potential for muscle cramps. This anxiety is not only bad news for your lower extremities, of course — stress leaves our stomach in knots and can result in digestive problems.
So, as well as keeping your stress levels in check, consider incorporating some of these high-in-magnesium foods…
- Green leafy vegetables
- Nuts — particularly almonds
- Dairy products.
For these menopause leg cramps, the application of a magnesium cream can also provide some relief. A nice, warm bath with a cup of magnesium flakes in or a magnesium bath bomb can also sooth the muscles.
Menopause hot legs? Keep your circulation and fluid up
Hormones are a peculiar thing, capable of affecting us in rather unusual ways.
It’s certainly not unheard of for women during the menopause to complain of rather warm lower limbs — in particular, hot, puffy legs, ankles and feet when falling asleep. They often accompany night sweats.
Again, it’s down to those fluctuations in hormones causing poor circulation. Keep that circulation going! Staying hydrated and making sure you’re not too sedentary for long periods during the day are the winning tickets here.
If it’s accompanied by aches and pains in your joints, it could be down to uric acid build up; consider nettle tea in this case.
If you’re experiencing troublesome menopause leg pain, cramps, swelling or aching, the following is always a good place to start.
- Incorporate magnesium — you might be deficient
- Stay on top of your water intake
- Clean up your diet where possible
- Ensure good circulation to your legs
- Take steps to minimise stress, including daily exercise