Pins and needles happen to everyone occasionally, but if you’re experiencing this phenomenon regularly, it could be a sign of menopause. Although it’s relatively uncommon, the hormonal changes which happen during menopause can cause tingling in some women.
However, various conditions can also cause the same sensations, so recognizing the symptoms and getting to the root cause of the issue is essential in order to find relief.
Since I began researching menopause, I’ve realized that many women struggle to distinguish between menopause related and non menopause related symptoms. We’re told that menopause causes issues such as hot flashes, night sweats, weight gain, and mood swings, but there’s not much information out there about lesser known symptoms such as tingling.
And so, many of my patients dismiss their tingling as another, unrelated issue. Often, they worry that tingling is caused by a serious underlying condition. And while it’s important to rule out other causes, often, simple hormonal shifts are to blame.
So, are you a menopausal woman experiencing tingling sensations in your arms, legs, hands, feet, or other body parts? Are you wondering if your symptoms could be connected to menopause? If so, this post is for you.
Below, I’ll explain the link between tingling and menopause, and examine some other potential reasons you might experience these sensations. Plus, I’ll also share some tried and tested ways to treat the issue.
What is Menopause Tingling?
Menopause tingling is a form of paresthesia that is characterized by a sensation of pins and needles. It’s sometimes accompanied by numbness or a burning sensation; it usually affects the extremities, such as the arms, legs, feet, hands, fingers, and toes. That being said, some women also experience the same sensations all over their body, for example, on their face, buttocks, neck, and back.
The tingling feeling isn’t usually painful; however, it can be unpleasant. Tingling episodes can impact your ability to function normally. For example, tingling and numbness in the foot or leg can cause you to lose your balance and make it difficult to walk. Tingling in the fingers and hands can also impede dexterity and make simple tasks such as holding a pen or typing impossible.
Occasional tingling isn’t usually a cause for concern. However, if any of the following symptoms accompanies your tingling episodes, it’s best to contact your doctor, as it could be a sign of a serious underlying condition.
- A head, back, or neck injury
- Changes to vision
- Changes to speech
- Muscle spasms
- Numbness down one side of the body
- Loss of consciousness
What Causes Tingling During Menopause?
Paresthesia, or tingling, during menopause is caused by fluctuating hormones, in particular, estrogen.
Estrogen is the driving force behind many of the more common symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, and weight gain. And that tingling sensation you might be feeling in your extremities is no different.
During perimenopause (the build-up to menopause), the amount of estrogen produced by the body falls dramatically. And for some women, this hormonal shift can lead to frequent tingling sensations.
I’ve been researching the connection between estrogen and symptoms of tingling. Here’s what I‘ve found:
Changes to the Central Nervous System
Estrogen has a direct impact on our central nervous system. So, when estrogen levels plummet, the nerves around the body are impacted too, resulting in tingling, burning, or numbness.
Changes to Estrogen Receptors in the Skin
The skin on our bodies contains estrogen receptors known as fibroblasts. When estrogen levels are low, it has a direct impact on these receptors. This can potentially lead to a tingling, crawling, or pins and needles sensation.
A Side Effect of Menopause Medications
Some menopausal women choose to take hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to treat symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings, and brain fog. While this estrogen-boosting treatment can be very effective, it also comes with many potential side effects, including burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, pins and needles, or tingling feelings.
Other Potential Causes of Tingling During Menopause
While menopause-related hormonal shifts are a likely cause of tingling and numbness, some other potential causes could be to blame, including:
- Vitamin deficiencies
- Nerve damage
- Nerve entrapment
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Allergic reactions
- Herniated disc
- Thyroid issues
- Multiple sclerosis
If you suspect your tingling or numbness issues stem from an underlying condition, visit your doctor.
How Can I Find Relief From Menopause-Related Tingling?
Thankfully, most cases of menopause-related tingling are harmless and will resolve themselves on their own. However, if you’re experiencing this pins-and-needles-like sensation, you’re probably wondering what you can do to find relief.
Here are 9 tips that have been proven to work.
Regular workouts help to boost the blood flow around your body and deliver vital oxygen and nutrients to cells. This helps to reduce symptoms such as tingling and numbness long after your workout is complete.
Regular saunas can improve your health in a myriad of ways, including reducing episodes of numbness, tingling, and burning. Like exercise, the heat produced in a sauna helps to boost blood flow around your body, reducing symptoms of tingling.
For maximum health benefits, I like to pair my saunas with a workout. After a session in the gym, I spend 10 to 15 minutes in the sauna. Not only does this increase circulation, it also helps to reduce stiffness and fatigue.
Many menopausal women find relief from tingling, numbness, and burning through regular acupuncture sessions. Acupuncture has been shown to improve circulation around the body and boost blood flow to the extremities, such as hands and feet, where tingling often strikes.
Like acupuncture, massage can help to improve circulation and deliver vital blood flow to affected areas of the body.
For extra circulation-boosting effects, use an oil or cream that contains capsaicin. Capsaicin is a natural heat-producing chemical found in chili peppers that can help to relieve the symptoms of paresthesia.
Like many menopause-related conditions, stress can play a huge role. When we’re chronically stressed, our central nervous system and circulation can’t operate at full capacity. This can trigger paresthesia and make existing symptoms much worse.
So, keep stress levels to a minimum by practicing healthy habits like exercise, deep breathing, and mindfulness techniques.
Plenty of Sleep
Adequate sleep is essential for our overall health. Sleep helps to repair and maintain all of our bodily processes, including the central nervous system. So, when you get the recommended 7-9 hours of shut-eye each night, you’re less likely to notice tingling, numbness, burning, or other paresthesia symptoms throughout the day.
Smoking impacts your health in many ways, including restricting blood flow and impacting your circulation.
Of all the women I’ve met who suffer from menopause related tingling, a significant proportion of them are smokers. So, if you’re a smoker who suffers from frequent tingling sensations in your arms, legs, hands, and feet, it’s time to quit. Those cigarettes are likely to be making the condition much worse.
Check Your Vitamin Levels
Certain vitamin deficiencies can cause tingling, numbness, and burning sensations, particularly B12. However, other vitamins and minerals, such as magnesium, iron, and vitamins C, D, and E, can also play a role.
So, if possible, have your levels checked by a healthcare professional and consider supplements to help reduce the symptoms.
Visit Your Doctor
If you’ve tried the tips above and still haven’t found relief from tingling, numbness, or burning, visit your doctor. They can help to determine the cause of your symptoms, rule out any underlying conditions, and help you find relief.
Whether or not you’ll find relief from tingling after menopause depends on the underlying cause of the issue.
If hormonal fluctuations are to blame, you will probably notice that your symptoms begin to taper off once you enter the post-menopausal phase, and eventually, they will likely disappear entirely.
However, if an underlying condition is causing your symptoms, you won’t find relief until you treat the root cause.
Yes, in some cases, menopause can aggravate a preexisting nerve condition and make symptoms, such as tingling, numbness, or burning, worse. That’s because a drop in estrogen during menopause can have a direct impact on the nervous system.
If menopause-related hormone changes are causing your symptoms, you might find relief from HRT.
However, this type of treatment carries risks of serious side effects, so it’s not for everyone. Be sure to discuss the risks vs. benefits of HRT with your doctor before deciding whether it’s the right option for you.
Tingling sensations during menopause are quite common, and, like most menopause symptoms, they’re a result of natural hormonal shifts.
While tingling might be unsettling and catch you off guard, remember that tingling is usually only a temporary sensation, and there are plenty of things you can do to find relief. And, once you reach the post-menopausal phase, these symptoms are likely to slowly taper off before they disappear for good.
That being said, there are several other potential causes for tingling, numbness, and burning. So, if you’re concerned, it’s best to speak to your doctor. They can help you to determine if menopause is the primary cause or if another underlying condition might be to blame.