Cramps, Spasms and Muscle Health in Menopause

muscle Nov 07, 2019

Many women complain about muscle pain whether it be cramping, spasms, twitches, general tension or even muscular fatigue or weakness. If you’re not looking after your muscles, they won't look after you. 


If you are still menstruating you may find your cramps increasing with your flow. This is potentially due to an increase in prostaglandin production at this time. Prostaglandins promote inflammation, pain, muscle contraction, blood vessel constriction, and blood clotting. Prostaglandin production can increase in perimenopause as there is inadequate progesterone to balance out the estrogen. An anti-inflammatory treatment plan and an estrogen modulating plan are needed here. A few of my favourite anti-inflammatories include ginger, turmeric, magnesium, fish oil, and my favourite estrogen modulating strategies include broccoli sprouts, DIM, Calcium d -glucarate.


We have about 650 muscles in the human body and we need them to do anything and everything. There would be no smiling, chewing, breathing, beating heart, sitting up or walking without orchestrating the stimulation of several muscles at once. Muscles constantly work by contracting and relaxing—sometimes consciously, other times unconsciously. They need to be properly fuelled for optimal function. 


Your body uses calcium for muscle contraction and magnesium for muscle relation. Most muscular issues are caused by the muscle's inability to relax, e.g., a cramp, twitch, or spasm. Therefore, magnesium is one of the most useful minerals for happy muscles.  


Potassium and sodium are other essential electrolytes for muscular health. They help regulate the flow of your muscular contraction.  It's time to seriously consider if you have adequate salt in your diet. What? Most women think they should be on a low salt diet and they have been actively avoiding salt. I want to challenge you to rethink this. Dr. James J. DiNicolantonio leading cardiovascular research scientist in his book The Salt Fix,  claims salt protects us against a host of ailments, including internal starvation, insulin resistance, diabetes, and heart disease. I would include muscle cramps!


Coenzyme Q10 is the first nutrient I think of for muscle weakness or muscle fatigue, especially if you are taking any heart medication. Many medications (especially statin-based ones) reduce your body’s COQ10 levels—which results in muscle issues and lower energy levels, amongst other things. COQ10 is also preventative against muscular damage by reducing oxidative damage from within your muscles. 


Being iron deficient can also encourage the development of painful cramps. Iron deficient muscles don’t have the energy to function and there is a reduction in both strength and stamina of the muscle. 


Finally, vitamin D deficiency is linked to muscle pain and weakness. 


Lifestyle tips:

  • Drink plenty of water! Muscle cramps could be a sign of dehydration. Consider adding an electrolyte to your water to increase the amount of sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium you are consuming. 
  • Consider having an epson salt bath. Epson salts natural contain magnesium.
  • Try directly rubbing magnesium cream or magnesium oil into your painful muscles.
  • It is important to stretch regularly. Yoga, pilates or straight out stretch classes are ideal.  
  • Get regular massages
  • Try apply heat, such as a water bottle directly 



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