Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Pregnancy-related Hormonal Changes Linked To Increased Risk Of Restless Legs Syndrome

Date:
February 1, 2009
Source:
American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Summary:
A new study shows that the elevation in estradiol levels that occurs during pregnancy is more pronounced in pregnant women with restless legs syndrome than in controls.

A new study shows that the elevation in estradiol levels that occurs during pregnancy is more pronounced in pregnant women with restless legs syndrome (RLS) than in controls.

During the last trimester of pregnancy, levels of the estrogenic steroid hormone estradiol were 34,211 pg/mL in women with RLS and 25,475 pg/mL in healthy controls. At three months postpartum, estradiol levels had dropped to 30.73 pg/mL in the RLS group and 94.92 pg/mL in controls. Other hormone levels did not differ significantly between the study groups.

According to the authors the data strongly suggest that estrogens play an important role in RLS during pregnancy. The study also supports previous reports of high RLS incidence in the last trimester of pregnancy when estradiol is maximally elevated.

"Our findings strongly support the concept that neuroactive hormones play a relevant pathophysiological role in RLS," said principal investigator Thomas Pollmacher, MD, director of the Center for Medical Health at Klinikum Ingolstadt and professor of psychiatry at Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich, Germany. "This information will increase the understanding of RLS in pregnancy and will assist in the development of specific therapeutic approaches."

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine describes RLS as a sleep-related movement disorder that involves an almost irresistible urge to move the legs at night. This urge tends to be accompanied by unusual feelings or sensations, called "paresthesias," that occur deep in the legs. These uncomfortable sensations often are described as a burning, tingling, prickling or jittery feeling. RLS can profoundly disturb a person's ability to go to sleep or return to sleep after an awakening.

The AASM reports that RLS occurs 1.5 to two times more often in women than in men. Eighty percent to 90 percent of people with RLS also experience periodic limb movements (PLMs) during sleep, which are involuntary jerking or twitching movements of the feet or legs.

According to the authors RLS symptoms often occur for the first time during pregnancy. Symptoms typically worsen during pregnancy and improve or even disappear after delivery. The risk of developing RLS increases gradually with the number of pregnancies.

The study also found that women with RLS had more PLMs than controls before and after delivery. PLMs decreased significantly after delivery in women with RLS and stayed low in women without RLS.

Only minor differences appeared between the two study groups in subjective sleep quality and objective sleep measures. One explanation suggested by the authors is that only RLS patients who did not need pharmacological treatment were selected for the study; RLS symptoms of participants were in the mild to moderate range.

The study involved nine healthy pregnant women (mean age 32.9 years) who were placed in a control group and 10 pregnant women (mean age 31.6 years) who fulfilled diagnostic criteria for RLS. Eight women from the RLS group reported symptoms previous to the present pregnancy, and all members of the RLS group described worsening of symptoms during pregnancy. The mean age of onset for RLS symptoms was 22.6 years.

Sleep data and leg movements were recorded during overnight polysomnography around the 36th week of gestation and again at 12 weeks postpartum. Blood samples were taken each morning after the polysomnography and before breakfast. Accompanying questionnaires on sleep and RLS symptoms also were collected.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Elevated Estradoil Plasma Levels in Women with Restless Legs during Pregnancy. Sleep, Feb 2009

Cite This Page:

American Academy of Sleep Medicine. "Pregnancy-related Hormonal Changes Linked To Increased Risk Of Restless Legs Syndrome." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 February 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090201094114.htm>.
American Academy of Sleep Medicine. (2009, February 1). Pregnancy-related Hormonal Changes Linked To Increased Risk Of Restless Legs Syndrome. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090201094114.htm
American Academy of Sleep Medicine. "Pregnancy-related Hormonal Changes Linked To Increased Risk Of Restless Legs Syndrome." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090201094114.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is expected to send 3,000 troops to West Africa as part of the effort to contain Ebola's spread. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama Orders Military Response to Ebola

Obama Orders Military Response to Ebola

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Calling the Ebola outbreak in West Africa a potential threat to global security, President Barack Obama is ordering 3,000 U.S. military personnel to the stricken region amid worries that the outbreak is spiraling out of control. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN: 20,000 Could Be Infected With Ebola by Year End

UN: 20,000 Could Be Infected With Ebola by Year End

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Nearly $1.0 billion dollars is needed to fight the Ebola outbreak raging in west Africa, the United Nations say, warning that 20,000 could be infected by year end. Duration: 00:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: Ebola Outbreak Threat to Global Security

Obama: Ebola Outbreak Threat to Global Security

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is ordering U.S. military personnel to West Africa to deal with the Ebola outbreak, which is he calls a potential threat to global security. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins