Tingling Extremities

A common menopausal symptom, tingling extremities, can be highly unsettling and uncomfortable.

Though this symptom does not point towards any serious underlying condition, they sure are a hindrance in pursuing a normal daily life.

Most commonly affecting the arms, hands, feet, and legs, these tingling sensations can be experienced in any part of the body. This symptom is caused due to the hormonal changes occurring in the body during the perimenopause and menopausal period. Understanding what causes this symptom will help in effectively tackling the same. 

What are tingling extremities?

Medically referred to as ‘paresthesia,’ a tingling sensation can arise when you take a particular position or posture, and they can occur at any time. This happens because specific postures will pinch a nerve or press on an artery causing one specific limb to “fall asleep” or go numb temporarily. Soon after the compression is relieved, your limb comes back to normal, and the tingling feeling subsides.

Symptoms of tingling extremities

  • Creepy crawly feeling
  • Numbness
  • Low or no sensation in a limb for a temporary period
  • Burning sensation
  • Prickly sensation
  • Pins and needles like poky feeling in a certain limb
  • Changes in sensation
  • Increased sensitivity

Some women may feel as if some insect is crawling on the skin when, in reality, there is nothing as such. This is known as formication.

What causes tingling extremities during menopause?

The primary cause of this tingling feeling is the hormonal fluctuations the body is going through. Estrogen plays a complex role in regulating the functions of the central nervous system. When the body does not receive adequate quantities of this hormone, the regular functioning is affected. This impacts the smooth operation of the central nervous system giving rise to tingling extremities in the body.

However, apart from the hormonal changes, certain other problems can also give rise to tingling extremities. Some of them are:

  • Thyroid problems
  • Stroke
  • Seizures
  • Anxiety
  • Hyper ventilation
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Diabetic Neuropathy
  • Vitamin B12 Deficiency
  • Drug toxicity

Though a minor symptom, if the tingling sensation lasts for a very long time or happens quite often, it is advisable to consult a doctor without any delay. Prolonged durations of tingling extremities can lead to certain long-term health repercussions like –  slurred speech, neck, back or head injury, loss of consciousness, trouble in walking, weakness, loss of sensation in limbs, etc.

Tackling tingling extremities during menopause

More often than not, tingling extremities can be easily tackled by bringing about certain dietary and lifestyle changes in your routine. Staying hydrated, a balanced diet, and an adequate sleep schedule are the basic requisites that can keep any menopausal problem at bay. If tingling sensations do not stop even after pursuing a healthy diet, sleep, and workout regimen, the doctor may recommend alternative therapies or over the counter medicines. Epsom Salt baths, acupuncture, massage, and Vitamin B12 supplementation may be helpful.

Special thanks to Dr Preeti Deshpande M.S.(OBGY), FICOG, Endoscopy Training IRCAD (France) for the expert advice.

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