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Menopause occurs when the levels of estrogen and progesterone become less in a

woman's body and menstruation stops completely for a period of over a year. Among
the common symptoms of menopause are irregular periods and hot flashes, mood
swings, irritability, sleep disturbances, vaginal dryness and urinary tract
problems. Menopausal women may also suffer stomach pains and leg cramps and some
may suffer more, as compared to others, in terms of sleeplessness.

Menopause and Leg Cramps

Leg cramp pain during menopause can come on suddenly. It can be a shooting, sharp
pain that can disturb your sleep, or wake you up. This pain may linger and make
the area sore for almost 24 hours.

Menopause and Leg Cramps: The Occurrence

Women going through menopause have to deal with other symptoms as well. There are
some pointers to keep in mind for avoiding and treating leg cramps so that you can
tackle this problem. If you get leg cramps and feel a sudden pain in your leg,
often at night, it can be attributed to a muscle or group of muscles suddenly
tightening.

Most leg cramps occur in calf muscles, but cramps in your thigh or in your foot
are also possible. Older women are more prone to leg cramps and other contributing
factors can be lack of physical exercise, an imbalance of minerals, problems with
blood circulation apart from menopause.

For those of you that experience the problem of leg cramps only on certain
occasions during menopause, you should consult with your doctor regarding the
medications you are taking, as leg cramps may be a side effect of certain
medicines.

Leg cramps during menopause do not cause any serious damage, so are not an
alarming issue. However, they can disturb your sleep. For most women, leg cramps
occur for a short while and usually go away quite suddenly.

Menopause and Leg Cramps: Treatments

Many women report that massaging or stretching the leg helps when they get a
cramp. It is good to consult with your doctor, check your bone density and bring
yourself up to date with your daily calcium supplements. Leg cramps can also be
treated with continuous intake of calcium/magnesium supplements. Other
complimentary therapies include drinking a couple of glasses of tonic water and
soaking in a peppermint oil bath. A tincture of St. John's wort is reported to
also be helpful.

Menopause and Leg Cramps: Insomnia

Menopause and leg cramps have further been linked with sleep disorders like the
Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) and Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD). The RLS
and PLMD can disturb sleep in menopausal women and result in more problems like
insomnia. RLS usually occurs before sleep sets in and causes calf discomfort and
restlessness in the legs, which gets relief in a short time if you move around a
bit.

PLMD, however, can cause excessive sleepiness and both conditions are more common
in older women going through menopause. The sensations experienced during RLS are
not very painful, but more toward discomfort and akin to being anxious. The
subsequent leg cramps and creepy crawly feeling is felt deep in the legs, and
often occurs when you lie in bed and may cause stress, if not treated in a timely
manner.