Leg Problems During Menopause & How To Ease Them
While we know the menopause can bring on many physical symptoms, what often surprises women is that their leg problems could be one of these symptoms.
So this week on A.Vogel Talks Menopause I thought I would talk about the four main reasons you can experience leg problems during menopause, such as pain, cramps, swelling, varicose veins and restless legs and recommend ways to help your legs.
Differences Between Lipoedema And Other Reasons For Swelling
Aside from lipoedema and lymphoedema, there are other reasons for tissue swelling, so a differential diagnosis is very important.;Other causes of tissue swelling include:
- obesity in which case fat tends to be evenly distributed over the whole body
- phleboedema and chronic venous insuffiency characterised by the absence of fat and the presence of fluid. The skin is often itchy with a brownish discolouration.
Estrogen And Progesterone Effects On The Regulation Of Body Water And Electrolytes In Menopause
Osmotic regulation of P in postmenopausal women taking 0.1 mg/d 17–estradiol compared to placebo control. Shaded area is baseline. Mean linear regression equations were P = 0.33 and P = 0.36 for estrogen and placebo control treatments, respectively. Data are expressed as means ± standard error of the mean. Adapted with permission from Stachenfeld et al.
Fluid balance during estrogen administration and placebo control after hypertonic saline infusion in postmenopausal women. *Different from placebo control, P< .05. Data are expressed as means ± standard error of the mean. Adapted with permission from Stachenfeld et al.
Recommended Reading: Is Lightheadedness A Symptom Of Menopause
When To Seek Treatment
Talk to your doctor if you have tried these solutions and continue to be bothered by monthly fluid retention. It can help if you show him or her a symptom diary for the past few months. The notes can help you and your doctor to eliminate other causes and confirm that your symptoms are related to your menstrual cycle.
However, fluid retention can also be a symptom of a serious medical condition such as kidney disease or heart failure. If you experience sudden or severe water retention, get medical help immediately.
If youre experiencing fluid retention from PMS or another reason, our physicians at Creekside Center for Women would be glad to create an individualized health plan for you. Call our office at 479-582-9268 to set up an appointment.
Heart Liver And Kidney Diseases
Congestive heart failure can cause swelling in the legs, ankles, and feet because it affects blood flow from the lower limbs.
During congestive heart failure, the lower chambers of the heart cannot effectively pump blood. Therefore, the venous return from the lower part of the body is affected. This means that blood flow stagnates in the legs, ankles, and feet, and therefore, the chance of fluid leakage into the surrounding tissue increases.
Liver diseases especially liver cirrhosis reduces the efficiency of the liver. This affects the release of hormones and other natural compounds that regulate the amount of water in the body.
Also, liver cirrhosis increases the pressure in the veins draining the pancreas, intestines, and spleen. This rise in pressure can cause the accumulation of fluids in the abdominal cavity and the lower limbs .
The kidney is chiefly responsible for the loss of fluid in the body. The body passes fluids through the kidneys and, depending on the current needs of the body, some fluid may be reabsorbed or else lost in the urine. Therefore, kidney diseases can cause the accumulation of fluids in the body.
The edema associated with kidney problems usually affects the eyes and legs.
Also, liver diseases cause blood albumin levels to fall. This can also lead to swelling in the legs, ankles, and feet.
Also Check: Is Dizziness A Symptom Of Menopause
What Causes A Swollen Ankle
Swelling in the body is usually a sign of an underlying problem. Sometimes swelling in a sign of inflammation in the affected area, after an injury, for instance. Inflammation is more likely to affect one area or one side of the body. Swelling can also be caused by problems with fluid balance. When the body holds on to too much fluid, it collects in the legs and ankles due to gravity. This is more likely to affect both sides of the body equally. Some common causes of swollen ankles, divided by category, are outlined below:
Signs You Are Retaining Water
Most often, you dont need someone to tell you that youre retaining water. You can feel it! You might, however, attribute it to weight gain or fat. For busy women on the go, who arent tuned in to their own signs and symptoms heres a set of telltale signs of water retention:
- swings of more than the typical 1-3 pounds day-to-day when stepping on the scale
- visible swelling in your hands, swollen ankles and/or feet
- when pushing on an area that looks puffy, your imprint remains rather than disappearing immediately
- visible sock marks or lines on your legs even from yoga pants;
Read Also: Is Dizziness A Symptom Of Menopause
Water Retention In The Menopause
The hormone fluctuations that occur during the menopause are often associated with weight gain and a slowing down of the digestive system. These all contribute to abdominal bloating.
A reduction in progesterone is responsible for the slowing of the digestive process and the fall in levels of oestrogen in the body causes more fat to be distributed in the abdominal region in particular. Factor in some water retention on top of all this, and you have a recipe for an uncomfortably enlarged tummy!
It is normal to experience some bloating before and during the menopause, However, if symptoms persist, or you experience pain or persistent discomfort, you should always see a doctor to rule out any potential health problems.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and staying active are the best ways to better enable your body and mind to cope with some of the potentially uncomfortable symptoms of the menopause.
Here are our top tips for helping to stay well throughout the menopause:
It’s Easy To Get The Care You Need
See a Premier Physician Network provider near you.
Buildup of fluid, or edema, is a common cause of leg swelling. Causes can be minor and temporaryor severe health risks.
Many causes are just a natural part of life. Pregnancy, for instance. Some can be successfully managed at home. Others, however, require a call to your doctor.
Don’t Miss: Is Dizziness A Symptom Of Menopause
Leg Problems Caused By Magnesium Deficiency
The types of symptoms you’ll get with magnesium deficiency would be things like 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 dancing all on their own. It can be really painful, and it can take a long time to settle down.; You can get pins and needles, and you can get jumpy legs as well.
What Causes Feet Swelling On Hormone Replacement Therapy Patients
Testosterone has numerous favorable impacts. Testosterone therapy increases bone strength and density. It promotes induction of hematopoiesis, stimulation of sexual function and libido, cardioprotection, and muscular strength. Men’s testosterone levels decrease as they age. Any man with comorbidity that prevents TRT should know all the potential risks.
So what causes swelling feet in hormone replacement therapy patients? Swelling of the feet, legs, and ankles can emerge while taking hormone treatments like steroids, contraceptives with estrogen, an aromatase inhibitor, and androgens. Fluctuating progesterone and an estrogen level can cause decreased blood flow in the legs, resulting in feet and ankle swelling.
Read Also: Is Dizziness A Symptom Of Menopause
Causes Of Bloating During Perimenopause And Menopause
Menopause symptoms can begin several years before you reach menopause. This time is known as perimenopause. Menopause is defined as the lack of a menstrual period for 12 concurrent months. This happens because your ovaries stop producing estrogen and progesterone. After menopause, you can no longer get pregnant.
Most women experience menopause in their early 50s, though you can go through it earlier or later. Once you havent experienced a period for 12 months, youre considered postmenopausal.
Bloating may occur more frequently in perimenopause than during menopause or postmenopause. During perimenopause, your hormones are changing rapidly. That can lead to higher levels of estrogen. Estrogen causes your body to retain water, which can lead to bloating.
Bloating isnt the only symptom experienced by women going through perimenopause and menopause. Fluctuating hormones can also lead to:
- hot flashes
- swallowed air
- another health condition
Its likely that bloating after menopause is related to one of these factors rather than hormones. Thats because after you go through menopause, your hormones dont fluctuate as much as they did during perimenopause and menopause.
Water Retention: Relief For This Premenstrual Symptom
Water retention occurs when fluid builds up inside your body. Some women notice water retention every month before their period. Hormone imbalances and a womans diet can cause premenstrual water retention.
Water retention can be uncomfortable and cause stiffness, achiness, and puffiness in hands, feet, ankles, and legs. Other women might experience tender breasts, a general achiness, weight gain or bloating, or stiff joints.
Some women experience mild symptoms a day before their period begins; others experience symptoms during the five days before their period that interfere with their normal activities.
Have you noticed that your body retains water regularly before your period? Here are a few tips to feel better.
Recommended Reading: Menopause And Dizzy Spells
Hormones Involved In Testosterone Replacement Therapy
Testosterone replacement therapy treats a low testosterone level in men. It also enhances puberty in circumstances where it has been halted. Testosterone deficiency can cause different symptoms such as decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction, anxiety, male attributes loss, and fragile bones.;
Procedures of testosterone replacement involve patches, infusions, gels, and medicines. The usual drug class prescription for testosterone replacement is androgens. Furthermore, the following medications and their core components can help increase testosterone production:
- Transdermal skin patch: Androderm is a skin patch applied on the upper body or arm once a day.;
- Gels: AndroGel and Testim are clear testosterone gel packets. Applied once a day for the testosterone to penetrate directly through the skin. AndroGel, Axiron, and Fortesta are also available to provide the prescribed hormone levels. Natesto is a gel applied inside nasal passages.
- Oral patch: Striant is a tablet that adheres to the upper gums above the incisor, which is the tooth to the right or left of the two front teeth. This drug therapy is taken twice daily; it constantly generates testosterone into the blood vessels via the oral tissues.
- Implants and injections: Testosterone is infused straight into the muscle fibers or embedded in the soft tissues as pellets. The body slowly absorbs the testosterone into the bloodstream.
Women’s Voices For Change
Have a question about womens health or menopause? Dr. Patricia Yarberry Allen may have the answer. to be posted on WVFC.
Question: Is there a connection between menopause or peri-menopause and the onset of severe foot issues?
In the space of 24 months, I went from having healthy feet to having, among other things: hammer toe, bunions, Mortons neuromas, ganglion tumors and more! It seems like there is a connection in the loss of natural hormones and my feet just falling apart. Joanne C.
Dr. Pat: Joanne, thank you for your question. This is actually something I hear about quite often from women.
I solicited opinions from several experts, including Dr. Suzanne M. Levine, who wrote this response:
In addition, Dr. Matthew M. Roberts, a brilliant orthopaedic surgeon at The Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, said that while his review of the literature does now show a direct correlation between foot deformity and menopause, there are definitely more forefoot deformities in women than men. He adds:
While we can place some blame on shoewear, hormones clearly have an effect. Whether it is estrogen or relaxin, the supportive soft tissues can become more flexible allowing deformity to occur. Genetics also play a role in the development of bunion deformities.;
* * * * *director of the New York Menopause Center, is a gynecologist affiliatedwith New York-Presbyterian Hospital and a board certified fellow of theAmerican College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Recommended Reading: Is Dizziness A Symptom Of Menopause
Treatment And Prevention Of Bloating
You can reduce bloating by making various lifestyle adjustments. These changes in behavior may also help you prevent bloating from occurring.
- Change your diet: Avoid foods that cause bloating. These include fatty foods, vegetables known to cause extra gas, and dairy products. Also, skip overly processed foods, which have high levels of sugar and salt.
- Exercise more frequently: Try to work out several times a week, and keep your activity varied from cardiovascular exercises to strength-building ones.
- Skip chewing gum and carbonated beverages: These can fill up your stomach with air, leaving you with a bloated abdomen.
- Avoid smoking and alcohol: These can increase bloating.
- Drink plenty of water: You may experience bloating if you dont stay hydrated enough.
There are other ways to prevent and treat bloating that involve over-the-counter and prescription medications:
When Those Bunion Fixes Don’t Work
None of the methods weve talked about will actually banish your bunion. If they fail to bring relief, you may need a surgery called a bunionectomy, in which the bunion is removed. Traditionally, bunion surgery has a long recovery timeabout six to eight weeks, including a few weeks in a surgical boot. Newer, minimally invasive procedures can have you back on your feet in a matter of days, though it will be about four to six weeks for full recovery.
- Foot Pain as We Age:Maturitas. . Chronic foot pain in older people. sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378512216301438#bib0020
- Footwear and Foot Pain:Journal of Foot and Ankle Research. . Footwear choices for painful feet an observational study exploring footwear and foot problems in women. jfootankleres.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13047-018-0265-2
- Midlife Weight Gain:Mayo Clinic Proceedings. . Weight Gain in Women at Midlife: A Concise Review of the Pathophysiology and Strategies for Management. mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-619630602-X/fulltext
- Filler for Foot Pain:Dermatologic Surgery. . Hyaluronic Acid Filler Injections Under the Metatarsal Heads Provide a Significant and Long-Lasting Improvement in Metatarsalgia From Wearing High-Heeled Shoes. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6039379/
Recommended Reading: Intrarosa Pros And Cons
Differences Between Lipoedema And Lymphoedema
Lipoedema is a chronic and progressive condition, and it can develop into lymphoedema over time. The reason for this is that the build-up of fat affects the ability of your lymphatic system to drain fluids, cell waste products and inflammatory molecules from your tissues.;In contrast to those with lipoedema, people with lymphoedema will find that:
- their feet are affected
- the degree of swelling is not the same if both legs or both arms are affected one limb is more swollen than the other
- the swelling is caused by build-up of fluid in the lymphatic system;
- if the lymphoedema is of short duration, the swollen skin will pit or indent if you press it with your fingers pressure leaves a temporary mark on your skin
- there is an increased risk of infection.
The Fix For Dry Calloused Skin
Moisturize your feet twice daily with a heavy cream or lotion containing cocoa butter or urea, says Dr. Reid. Reduce callouses by soaking your feet once a week in soapy lukewarm water for 10 to 15 minutes, then using a foot file to gently slough away built-up tissue . If you are diabetic or have circulation problems, youll need to see a podiatrist, who can safely reduce your calluses. Once the bulk of the callus has been removed, creams will be able to penetrate more deeply.
Also Check: How Long Between Periods During Menopause
Menopause Leg Aches And Heavy Tired Lower Limbs Its Down To Circulation
We all expect achy and tired legs after a workout or a long walk thats completely normal but if theyre 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.
If your legs ache during the menopause, it can also be associated with varicose veins which well talk about in a minute.
Like the majority of the symptoms we experience during the menopause, its down to the profound power of fluctuating hormone levels.
So, menopause leg aches what can be done?
Its 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 510 minute break.
This switch in movement will help to support blood circulation and alleviate the menopause leg swelling or leg ache youre experiencing.;
Dehydration can be a culprit. Make sure youre adequately hydrated, and follow our other top tips for managing your fluid balance.
Water Retention Or Gas Retention
Water retention and gas retention are two main causes of bloating in the stomach and midsection. It may be difficult to determine which of the two is causing the bloating.
Gas bloating is typically located in the stomach and is the result of trapped air. Often, gas bloating can be prevented by eating slower, not drinking carbonated beverages, and eating smaller meals.
Water retention can occur in more places than gas retention. A woman may notice swelling in her hands and feet, through her midsection, or all throughout her body. Water retention may cause painful bloating in the affected parts of the body.
Similar to gas retention, there are simple steps a woman can take to help reduce swelling and bloating associated with holding onto excessive fluid.
Preventing bloating during menopause can be the best treatment. Fortunately, avoiding bloating can be achieved with a range of easy lifestyle changes, including:
If a woman finds she suffers from frequent bloating during menopause, there are several medical treatments to relieve the discomfort. Ways to relieve bloating during menopause include:
- using over-the-counter gas medications
Bloating, particularly from water retention, can cause weight gain. Sometimes, it can be hard for a woman going through menopause to distinguish between weight gain and bloating.
Menopausal bloating, unlike weight gain, is also often accompanied by a distended, swollen belly and discomfort. Bloating is characterized by:
Also Check: How Long Does A Woman Go Through Menopause