During menopause, many women experience tingling extremities, or their limbs "falling asleep." This is more common during the menopausal transition because of a decline in estrogen, a hormone that plays in a role in regulating the nervous system, blood circulation, and the health of the skin. Thinner skin and misdirected signals from the nervous system can sometimes result in episodes of tingling extremities; however, the symptom can be treated by balancing hormones once again. Keep reading to learn more about the approaches to managing tingling extremities.
Three Approaches to Treating Tingling Extremities
When looking to treat tingling and numbness, three approaches can be considered: (1) Lifestyle Changes, (2) Alternative Medicine, and (3) Medications. Women are urged to begin with lifestyle changes, since that is the least-risky and least-invasive approach. In general, medications are reserved as a last resort due to their high cost and risk of adverse side effects.
1. Lifestyle Changes
This stage involves the lowest risk, but it requires the most perseverance. For many women, minor adjustments in lifestyle can both alleviate tingling extremities and lead to overall greater health and wellness.
Proper nutrition via a balanced diet is essential when managing tingling and numbness. Eating a diet low in saturated fat is important, since excess fats can build up in blood vessels and obstruct circulation, especially in the extremities. Including enough antioxidants like omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, and vitamin C can also support the health of the skin and nervous system. Phytoestrogens - found in soy, rye, and flaxseed, among other foods - can raise estrogen levels in the body to help with hormonal imbalance.
Regular physical activity helps prevent circulation problems from getting worse and can even improve blood flow. Strength-training can help boost muscles, while exercises like yoga and Pilates promote relaxation and stress relief.
Lastly, practicing healthy habits is essential in relieving tingling extremities. Smoking can constrict blood vessels, and alcohol negatively affects the nervous system, so it is best to minimize consumption of those substances. It is important to keep proper posture in order to keep pressure off nerves and avoid triggering numbness and tingling.
Lifestyle adjustments are healthy way to treat tingling extremities, but they can be hard to implement. Additionally, not all adjustments address hormonal imbalance, the most common cause of menopausal tingling. Fortunately, alternative medicines are a safe and natural way of restoring hormonal balance. Keep reading to learn more about natural treatments for tingling extremities.
2. Alternative Medicine
This approach encompasses many different options. For example, therapeutic massage promotes blood flow to the extremities. However, to treat the root cause and balance hormone levels, herbal supplements are the preferred method.
In the case of herbal supplements, two distinct types can be used to treat hormonal imbalance: (1) phytoestrogenic and (2) hormone-regulating supplements.
1. Phytoestrogenic supplements - e.g., ginseng
These supplements are rich in phytoestrogens, plant-based compounds that function like estrogen in the body. This can compensate for an estrogen deficiency, but these supplements should not be used extensively, since putting outside hormones into the body can make it less capable of producing natural hormones. This can result in a net decline of estrogen, though they are generally safe for short-term use.
2. Hormone-regulating supplements - e.g., Macafem
Rather than containing hormones, these supplements nourish the hormonal glands to support balanced hormone production. This balances not only estrogen levels, but also those of other hormones that are affected during menopause, relieving tingling as well as other symptoms. They are considered safe for any length of time because they do not use external hormones.
From "Nature and Health Magazine," Dr. Gloria Chacon says:
Combining elements of the above approaches is often the most effective way to deal with tingling extremities. However, severe cases that do not respond to treatment may call for medical attention. It is important to weigh all the risks and benefits before advancing to the last approach.
This form of treatment involves the most risk and typically the highest costs as well. In the U.S., the most common medication for menopausal tingling is hormone replacement therapy or HRT. While this was once recommended as a speedy and powerful treatment, it has since been linked with an increased risk of heart disease and certain cancers, as revealed in the following study.
In 1991, the National Institutes of Health began the Women's Health Initiative, the biggest clinical trial ever carried out in the U.S. Its aim was to pinpoint the pros and cons of HRT. However, after 11 years of research, it was halted due to the findings that the use of artificial hormones raises the risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, blood clots, and heart disease.
Usually reserved only for cases of nerve damage, anti-seizure medication can also be used to treat tingling extremities. However, the adverse side effects of these medications may outweigh any benefits. It is imperative to consult a healthcare professional to determine the best treatment plan together.
The above approaches and be used separately or combined as necessary. In fact, more and more women are discovering that a blend of lifestyle changes accompanied by alternative treatments provide the most relief for tingling extremities during menopause.
A Safe Way of Treating Tingling Extremities
Employing lifestyle changes:
- Exercising regularly
- Maintaining good posture
- Eating a balanced diet that includes phytoestrogens
- Putting pressure on nerves and blood vessels
- Alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco
And taking herbal supplements like Macafem:
- Safe, effective, natural, and free of outside hormones
- Provides nutrients to the hormonal glands to promote natural production
- De Azevedo Guimaraes, A.C. & Baptista, F. (2011). Influence of habitual physical activity on the symptoms of climacterium/menopause and the quality of life of middle-aged women. International Journal of Women's Health, 3, 319-328. doi: 10.2147/IJWH.S24822
- National Institutes of Health. (2015). Numbness and tingling. Retrieved April 25, 2016, from https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003206.htm
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). 18 Ways Smoking Affects Your Health. Retrieved April 25, 2016, from http://smokefree.gov/health-effects