Restless Leg Syndrome, also known as RLS, is commonly referred to as a sleep disorder. It is caused by the nervous system having a disorder that makes the sufferer have to move their legs. Some of the feelings associated with it are a terrible itching, the impression of insects crawling on the legs, or even a pins and needles sensation.
My Experience With Restless Leg Syndrome
My RLS was caused by an underlying medical condition that went untreated for nearly two years. I suffered from severe menorrhagia that made my iron levels so deficient my physician was afraid I was going to have a heart attack. My hemoglobin was down to 6.1 and I had to have three blood transfusions to get it up to just 8.4. I would lay awake all night swatting at “bugs” crawling on my legs or scratching them just trying to get the itch to go away long enough to fall asleep. When that didn’t work, I’d get up and prowl the house. I didn’t get any relief from taking allergy medication, but it made me tired enough I could get a little sleep. I can’t even think how many nights I just sat on the couch crying because I was so exhausted and so miserable and there was nothing I could do but walk or stand.
I did get a little relief from massage for my RLS. I would actually sleep on the table because someone else was keeping all those horrible “creepy crawlies” at bay. It helped some at night, too, as long as I went to bed as soon as I was home.
What Finally Worked
My family physician sent me to a specialist for my menorrhagia who got it under control. When I mentioned to her about the Restless Leg Syndrome, she had me fill out a questionnaire, took some blood samples and put me on a high prescription dose of iron. She explained that many women in my situation who struggled with restless leg syndrome benefited by getting their hemoglobin up over 12.0. She also explained that sometimes our bodies don’t use the iron properly and that could be causing the trouble. I am grateful to say that as long as I keep it up over 12, I have no symptoms. However, if I get lazy and stop taking it, I am right back to sleepless nights swatting at my legs.