How Menopause Can Affect Your Legs
Over the years, lots of women have asked me whether things like achy legs, leg cramps, swollen ankles, restless legs or hot (and very cold) feet are symptoms of menopause. The answer is yes, they can be, and there are four main reasons why these symptoms can occur.
The first one is magnesium deficiency. As we know, falling oestrogen levels can affect the absorption of magnesium and that can have a detrimental effect on other areas connected to menopause. An unbalanced diet can also cause magnesium deficiency, and stress will burn magnesium up like no one’s business. So magnesium deficiency is really common in the menopause.
Possible Leg Issues
Some possible effects of a magnesium deficiency are cramps, especially at night. You’ll get those restless legs, you know, there you are just dropping off to sleep and suddenly, your legs are jiggling about all on their own. It can be quite uncomfortable, and it can take a long time to settle down. You can also get pins and needles and what I call jumpy legs.
Another menopause-related issue is fluid imbalance. We know that falling oestrogen can interfere with the hormones that control the water balance in the body, which means you can get dehydrated very quickly as you go through menopause and very often, you’re not even aware of this particular problem.
There’s an obvious answer to this – and it’s one I talk about a lot in relation to cellulite: you need to drink plenty of still water. How to do it if you’re not a good water-chugger? Start habit stacking with a litre of water a day for six weeks, after that you are likely to find it feels like second nature to down a litre and more. Try to drink more water than coffee or tea: both are dehydrating and stimulating, and can make night sweats and hot flushes worse by interfering with your whole water balance.
Possible Leg Problems
The most obvious sign of a fluid imbalance is swollen ankles and legs in general – some of us feel it around our knees, others can also see a daily difference in our thighs. Your legs will feel more achy too. This can be a contributory factor to hot, puffy feet and general dehydration – and just as a little aside, dehydration can also cause breast pain. So make sure you’re drinking more water over and above anything else you’re drinking in the day.
Another impact of the menopause can be a general deterioration in your circulation. Oestrogen can make it that bit more sluggish. It can also be to do with the fact that we live a more sedentary life, a lot of us, we’re having jobs, we’re not moving about as much, and that can affect circulation in the legs.
Fatigue can be behind a slower circulation and lymph too – if you’re really tired, you’re not going to want to exercise and that will have an impact on the flow of your body and the way it metabolises waste.
Dehydration can be a factor in a slower circulation.
Possible Leg Problems
Circulatory issues – blood and lymph flow – can cause issues like swollen ankles and legs as well. Your legs may feel more tired, hotter, possibly quite restless and even end up with vascular issues as well.