Natural health: Restless leg syndrome and endometriosis

Megan Sheppard gives her advice on dealing with pins and needles and Endometriosis naturally.

 

Q. I have had a great deal of trouble with my legs at night. It’s mostly pins and needles, but it gets almost unbearable.

Sometimes I get cramps too. I am desperate for a good night’s sleep, is there a supplement I can take?

A. This sounds very much like restless legs syndrome. 

The symptoms typically include a deep sensation that is often described as a tingling, aching, or even burning sensation, and an overwhelming urge to move the legs to obtain some relief. 

The reason why this becomes more of a problem at bedtime is because it is triggered by lying or sitting still for a length of time.

The syndrome has been linked with certain dietary imbalances, and since you also have some trouble with muscle cramping you may benefit from magnesium supplementation. 

The recommended dosage is 300mg to 400mg daily, and you might also want to consider reducing your calcium intake, particularly if you are supplementing with this mineral. 

Excess calcium can cause muscle cramping issues and restless legs syndrome sufferers often have too much in their system.

The other mineral imbalance often present in cases of restless legs syndrome is folate. 

This can easily be remedied through dietary sources of folate such as asparagus, spinach, and kale, or by taking a folic acid supplement.

Massaging your legs as you wind down for the evening can help with the cramps and tingling, and using a specific muscle preparation cream will help to penetrate more deeply into the tissues. 

It is worth looking at joining a yoga studio as this helps to improve circulation and promotes relaxation.

Q. I was diagnosed with endometriosis 15 years ago — it has always caused difficult periods. Recently my periods have become heavier than usual and I am having even more pain. 

I often need to take at least two days off work, but am exhausted for up to two weeks every month. 

I have discussed surgery with my gynaecologist, but I would prefer not to have to go this route if possible.

A. Endometriosis is a condition that we still know relatively little about.

What we do know is it occurs when cells from the endometrium establish in other parts of the body. 

This is usually within the pelvic cavity, but endometrial cells can travel as far as the lungs. 

The main problem with this cell migration is that the endometrial tissue continues to respond to the menstrual cycle and cause pain and inflammation no matter where it is located.

Each woman experiences the symptoms differently, although it causes physical and emotional distress no matter how extensive the condition is. 

It is worth keeping an open mind about laparoscopic surgery for endometriosis as it can help in the short term. 

However, this is no guarantee that the endometrial cells will not become displaced and cause issues again.

This is one condition that does respond surprisingly well to dietary adjustments. Essential fatty acids help to reduce inflammation, which is one of the primary pain triggers in endometriosis. 

A vegan diet appears to help reduce or eliminate symptoms in many sufferers, which could be in part due to the increase in fruit and vegetables. 

The bioflavonoids in brightly coloured produce are powerful antioxidants, which help with tissue repair.

Citrus fruits should be avoided though, since they can irritate the digestive system, along with processed foods, alcohol, and caffeinated beverages.

Supplement wise, you will want to invest in a high quality B-complex, as the B vitamins enable the liver to convert oestradiol into oestriol. 

Oestradiol is a form of oestrogen that causes the proliferation of endometrial tissue, while oestriol is a form that is easily excreted from the body.

If you haven’t already read it, then seek out a copy of Dian Shepperson Mills & Mike Vernon’s book, Endometriosis: A Key to Healing through Nutrition. For more information visit website at www.endometriosis.ie 


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