Nerve Health in Menopause

nerve Nov 12, 2019

 

Symptoms of poor nerve health include numbness, pins, and needles, tingling, stabbing, throbbing, freezing, burning, weakness, and sensitivity. The most common symptoms women complain about during menopause include the sensation of crawling skin, electric shocks, tingling extremities, burning tongue or burning feet. 

 

Estrogen plays a role in being both neuroprotective and neurotrophic. This means it protects your nerves from damage and it also plays a role in growing new nerve cells. Hence, nerve issues are more commonly found in menopause—although there are plenty of other reasons why these symptoms can be occurring and it's important to first rule out other possibilities.  

 

Type 2 diabetes is the most common cause of peripheral neuropathy. It is estimated 50% of people with diabetes will experience nerve pain, most commonly in the feet and legs. 

 

Certain autoimmune diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis destroys nerve cells.

 

Other reasons include:

  • Nutritional deficiencies, especially the B vitamin family (B1, B3, B6, B12).
  • Previous injury.
  • Excessive alcohol intake.
  • Medications, such as cancer drugs.
  • Certain infections such as herpes, Epstein Barr, and Lymes.
  • Exposure to heavy metals or other toxins.
  • Systemic inflammation.
  • Chronic diseases 

 

The very first item I address with nerve pain is B12. It’s important B12 levels are at the very high end of the reference range—or even over the range—if you’re experiencing nerve pain. 

I often prescribe high-dose B12 injections. Alternatively, you can grab sublingual B12 lozenges and continually suck on them all day. B12 comes in four forms, but methylcobalamin is my preferred form for nerve issues. 

B12 is essential for building and maintaining your myelin sheath over your nerves. The myelin sheath is the insulating cover over your nerves that allows for conductivity. B12 also increases the speed of the messages that are sent along your nerves.

 

My second favourite supplement with nerve pain is alpha-lipoic acid. Actually, it's the specific treatment option if the nerve pain is diabetic related. Alpha-lipoic acid is a very strong antioxidant and is ideal for nerve issues as it one of the rare nutrients that crosses the blood-brain barrier.

 

Other useful supplements include:

  • Fish oil, for its anti-inflammatory benefits.
  • Magnesium relaxes the muscles around the nerves. 
  • Vitamin D deficiency is an independent risk factor for the development of peripheral neuropathy.
  • Acetyl l carnitine is neuroprotective and antinociceptive. This means not only does it protect the nerve it also helps to block the detection of a painful stimulus by sensory neurons—meaning it reduces pain.
  • Phosphatidylserine: supports the protection of healthy nerve cell membranes and can slow down the progression of nerve damage.

 

Useful Herbal Medicines for Nerve Pain

  • Turmeric
  • Saffron
  • Gingko
  • Nigella
  • Californian Poppy
  • Corydalis
  • Jamaica Dogwood

 

Additional strategies include:

  • Chiropractic or osteopathic treatment is a must.
  • Acupuncture can also be effective.
  • Stop smoking if you are a smoker
  • TENS machine - electrical stimulation may also be an effective treatment strategy.

 

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