Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Orgasm for Relief of Restless Legs Syndrome: A Case Study



What is restless legs syndrome?

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a neurological disorder characterized by throbbing, pulling, creeping, or other unpleasant sensations in the legs and an uncontrollable, and sometimes overwhelming, urge to move them. Symptoms occur primarily at night when a person is relaxing or at rest and can increase in severity during the night. Moving the legs relieves the discomfort. Often called paresthesias (abnormal sensations) or dysesthesias (unpleasant abnormal sensations), the sensations range in severity from uncomfortable to irritating to painful.
RLS is a relatively common movement disorder that affects ~2.7% of the population (Earley & Silber, 2010). RLS might be related to dysfunction in basal ganglia circuits that use dopamine, which is needed to produce smooth, purposeful muscle activity and movement. Disruption of these BG circuits can produce involuntary movements. Thus, dopaminergic drugs such as pramipexole and ropinirole are often used for treatment, but these medications can produce unwanted side effects.

A case study in the journal Sleep Medicine (Marin et al., 2011) reported on a patient who found his own method for the relief of his persistent RLS:
Sexual intercourse and masturbation: Potential relief factors for restless legs syndrome?

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a distressing neurologic condition characterized by urgency to move the legs usually associated with unpleasant sensations in the lower limbs. The symptoms are worst at night and at rest, and patients must move their legs or walk to get relief from their symptoms. Herein, we report a 41-year-old man with a history of severe RLS for 10 years causing him difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. He fulfilled the four essential criteria established by the International RLS Study Group and he scored 32 in the International RLS Rating Scale. The patient reported that he would get complete relief from RLS symptoms, granting him a normal sleep following sexual intercourse or masturbation. Pramipexole was introduced 2 h before bedtime with significant improvement of RLS symptoms, but whenever he was without medication, he returned to sexual behavior to get relief from RLS symptoms.

There are anecdotal reports that sexual activity and orgasm may relieve RLS symptoms, although in some cases sexual activity may worsen RLS. One may speculate that the release of orgasm-related dopamine and opioid may play a role in the relief of RLS symptoms. Additionally, there is a previous report of a RLS patient showing repetitive, rhythmic pelvic body movements resembling coital behavior at the wake–sleep transition.

References

Earley CJ, Silber MH. (2010). Restless legs syndrome: understanding its consequences and the need for better treatment. Sleep Med. 11:807-15.

Marin, L., Felicio, A., & Prado, G. (2011). Sexual intercourse and masturbation: Potential relief factors for restless legs syndrome? Sleep Medicine, 12 (4) DOI: 10.1016/j.sleep.2011.01.001



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35 Comments:

At April 13, 2011 10:57 AM, Blogger A Bitter Pill said...

Definitely makes you go "hmmm."

One wonders how many other conditions sexual intercourse and orgasm might be a perfectly good therapy for but has simply gone unexplored due to prudishness. Dysthymia? Enlarged prostate? PTSD? Fibromyalgia? Avoidant Personality Disorder?

Who is going to do the research? Might be hard to get funding, but surely the results and the scientific method would make it all worth while . . .

 
At April 13, 2011 11:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Worth noting the publication date of these articles and the DOI of the sleep medicine article.

 
At April 14, 2011 9:06 AM, Anonymous rksfirefly said...

You have ONE person who says this works for them and you put it forth as gospel. No wonder we (meaning those who suffer with RLS) cannot get doctors to take us seriously. Why not write about PROVEN methods of help? I appreciate your quality of information up to that point. Good grief. Glad he got some relief from his symptoms but for the rest of us, it just makes the butt of more jokes. Will this get by your moderation?

 
At April 14, 2011 9:30 AM, Anonymous Jordache said...

RLS:"Moving the legs relieves the discomfort"

Who would have thought that plain old exercise would relieve the discomforting symptoms of RLS?

Putting this into context of the general sedentary lifestyle most of us lead in North America, one could be lead to conclude that RLS is a manifestation of the need to exercise.

I'd be willing to bet money that the 'cure' for RLS turns out to be strength training or other form of regular exercise.

 
At April 14, 2011 12:50 PM, Anonymous rlsfirefly said...

There is a distinct difference between the overwhelming urge to move the legs with RLS and exercise. I exercise most days and it does not affect my RLS one way or another. With RLS the only thing that will alleviate the horrible feeling is to move the legs; move, not exercise. Believe me, at 3:00am you do not have the energy to exercise anyway! No doubt we need to be a more exercising nation but that has nothing to do with RLS. Hence, RLS is NOT a manifestation of the need to exercise. I wouldn't bet money unless you just have a lot to throw away.

 
At April 15, 2011 5:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know anecdotes aren't evidence, but a divorce cured my RLS. I'm not kidding. I can't control for other factors, of course, but I got it...severely...in my early thirties after I got married and when he left ten years later, so did the RLS. Perhaps there is a bigger psychological component there. Just sayin'

 
At April 16, 2011 11:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

RLS is a sleep disorder proven to be real!!!! It is not caused by lack of exercise. It, however, is exacerbated by some physiological circumstances. Notably low iron stores. I have found great relief in keeping my storage iron levels (feritin) above 50. I had suffered for years with RLS but after an intravenous infusion of iron for the severe anemia I had, my RLS disappeared. I asked the hematologist if there could be any connection and he snickered at me. Hadn't anyone ever told me there is a correlation? He felt bad for me that none of my previous doctors who knew I has both RLS and anemia did not know or failed to mention the connection.

 
At April 17, 2011 10:59 AM, Anonymous Emmy said...

Oh well, it's no more or less of a symptom-killer than any of the other drugs, I suppose. I find it interesting to consider prolactin's role in oligodendrocyte precursor cells and oligodendrocyte's relation to ions and myelin sheath....this condition does sound like it could be related to (as I've read) multiple sclerosis, which I understand is on the rise.

 
At April 18, 2011 3:19 AM, Blogger petrossa said...

So we return to the 19th century were doctors masturbated their patients as treatment against nervousness?

I had a quick look if it wasn't april 1st.

 
At May 02, 2011 2:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Err I'm in great shape and I have RLS - this stuff is no joke and it has deleterious effects on work and school performance since it can greatly interfere with sleep. Many home remedies can help but rarely do they have lasting impact. Stretching and exercise can diminish the involuntary movements but as the symptoms progress these do not begin to eliminate the problems. Heating pads help and so do less caffeine, warm baths but again - not in a profound way. The approaches mentioned in this blog do in fact work better than all of the above. Unfortunately many people think its a joke.

For those of us who have been to a physician and been fully evaluated
and in the clear relative to calcium, iron, potassium, etc the alternatives aren't attractive - things like Requip which have unpleasant side effects (nausea, vomiting, fatigue) might stop the restless leg but it can wipe you out worse than the RLS.

 
At May 28, 2011 6:47 AM, Anonymous Sleepy said...

To rksfirefly, orgasm has helped more than one. I found this site because I found orgasm relieved my symptoms so I thought I would google it and see if it had been studied. I'm sure I'm not alone and if drug-free relief can be provided for even some sufferers the information should be shared.

 
At June 03, 2011 4:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Sleepy but I understand Firefly's anxiety about the method. I was driven mad last night by rls and knew I had an important meeting today. For some reason I thought orgasm might do the trick and to my amazement it did and the rls went away. This morning I googled the issue and found this site but I can hardly mention and the golf club that a hand job is the answer.

 
At June 23, 2011 5:54 PM, Anonymous Restless girl said...

I Am a woman and have found orgasm to be the ONLY way so far to get any relief from these awful symptoms. I can't remember why I first thought of it. Maybe it has something to do with the blood circulation since orgasm draws the blood towards the pelvic area temporarily.

 
At July 07, 2011 11:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Im a male in his teens and I have had RLS my whole life and I've also had inorgasmia since my teens. (when I ejaculate I have no sensation.. it sucks). I'm seeing a doctor (again) soon.. but this makes me optimistic seeing that there is probably a connection. Anyone else have orgasm / weak orgasm problems who also has RLS?

 
At August 30, 2011 2:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am 29 year old female and have RLS since I was a teenager. There is much truth to the article. My condition is not severe enough to need medications, but I've found I get automatic relief by making myself have an orgasm. I know it sounds crazy, but if you haven't tried it, I reccomend you do. I also think yoga helps in the long run. I cut out caffeine, alcohol, and drink lots of water. It helps manage my symptoms as well. Also, get a blood work done and see if you're low in iron. I've found taking iron pills helps me too and when my iron is low, my RLS surfaces.

 
At November 23, 2011 12:05 AM, Anonymous notashamed said...

RLS is real, it is not because of lack of exercise or a sedentary lifestyle. My mother has it, I have it, fortunately not very often... or perhaps I have just cured myself before it bothers me. For me I remember my first BAD episode when I was 10 years old. The ONLY relief was masturbation, and as a thirty-year-old married woman, now it is usually sex... frequent like every-day-for-ten-years sex. I know the low iron may also be a trigger, also tends to run in the family. Was interesting to discover that it is actually linked to a gene, and is common in French Canadians (part of my maternal ancestry). It's pretty insulting for someone that has no clue to insinuate it's because we're lazy, my mother was one of the most active people I have ever known, a very physically strong woman. I'm more squishy, but still pretty active and toned. I do think that they should research this more, at least doctors should inform patients about this possibility (which is easy enough--even fun--to test for yourself) before prescribing a pill. I used to feel guilty about how much I masturbated as a kid, now it kinda all adds up a bit, my body NEEDED it. My husband knows what time it is when I can't keep my legs still ;-)

 
At December 31, 2011 5:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I actually googled restless leg syndrome eradicated with orgasms because I found it to work and thought it was crazy at first! I am pregnant with my second child and I only experience restless leg when I am pregnant...and orgasms really work for me! I am not saying that it would work for everyone, but I do think that it may shed some light on what causes it. Mine is obviously hormonal, but is that the case for everyone that experiences it?

 
At January 20, 2012 6:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there!

Even before I knew I "suffered" from RLS, I found out that masturbating was the only thing (except running around for hours late in the night to make that feeling go away) that help me get away that odd feeling in my legs.

It's so far the only thing that always works for me.

If it's important - I'm a female in the mid- twenties

 
At February 16, 2012 1:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh My God! I'm so relieved to find I'm not the only one. I've suffered from RLS since a child and I know my mum and sister do too. I can't sit still for too long at the hairdressers or theatre without the need to move my legs around and hot legs are a trigger as well. I have found that it can be just as bad if I do exercise or if I don't and it has got a lot worse in the past year. I am a 47 year old woman and thankfully my husband is very understanding as I frequently need to masturbate after spending an hour or so thrashing around in bed - and it is excruciating - before admitting defeat and going for the orgasm. Miraculously once I've had the orgasm I'm asleep within minutes. We need to shout about this.

 
At March 22, 2012 11:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I heard on Real Time with Bill Maher that orgasm would relieve the symptoms of RLS. Amazingly, it worked for me.

 
At April 26, 2012 11:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another night without sleep; up till 3:00 this morning and then up at 0700 for work. It's now 11:00 pm and fighting RLS again. I'm a forester, work in the woods, get plenty of exercise daily; exercise is not the problem or the answer. I have high iron, give double red blood cells regularly to keep it in check. It appears that only women have associated RLS with low iron, I believe incorectly. I also take pramipexole (.375mg daily) at least 4 hours before bed, but the benefits have deminished and the doses have increased. I have found on my own that sex has definitely worked for me as well, and was relieved to hear confirmation (if you can call it that) on an advertisement for Bill Mahers' show (don't & wouldn't actually watch the show).

 
At May 07, 2012 9:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG. So crazy. I was up til three in the morning BC my rls was making me miserable. I googled home remedies and found this forum. Decided I'd give it a shot BC I was so miserable. Woke my hubby up, after finishing up I crashed in just a few minutes! Thanks guys

 
At May 15, 2012 3:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is true about orgasm. I've had RSL genetic since my 20s.
I've used orgasm to help sleep..to fly long distances to relieve anxiety and stress all my life
Its been a part of my life as a free drug and helped me thru all the above mentioned.when the internet appeared i googled the subject to death and learned its a fact for many and not just me.
Its been better than any doctor alone or when in a relationship.

 
At July 06, 2012 12:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a 24 yr old female with horrible RLS, although not only do I get the unbearable feeling in my legs, I also get it in my arms as well. Walking around or movement does NOT bring me any relief whatsoever. I take hot baths to get some relief but unfortunately right after the bath, I immediately start feeling it again. The only thing I know for a fact relieves my symptoms is benzodiazepams such as Valium, Xanax, or Opiate painkillers. I don't like taking narcotic painkillers due to how addictive they are, so I've also tried smoking marijuana and that has been the most effective in relieving the symptoms besides the benzos or opiates. I'm not trying to convince anyone who is against smoking marijuana to do that, I'm just letting you all know that is has helped my RLS symptoms tremendously.

 
At September 13, 2012 11:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've took requip it makes me so sick that I can't even take it any more . The side affects are so hard on my body :( i always have to sleep with a heating pad just to make them calm down

 
At November 20, 2012 8:52 AM, Blogger Jeff said...

Marijuana works! Don't let them tell you it is anything but a remedy. I live in WA and we have medical marijuana. No BS. Just go buy what you need.

 
At November 25, 2012 3:54 PM, Blogger Issy said...

I'm a 74 year old woman who has used masturbation since I was a child for restless leg syndrome (discovered the remedy by accident) and it certainly works

 
At March 25, 2013 11:50 PM, Blogger JustMe said...

this makes me smile...I too have gentic RLS and I discovered orgasms to be my best friend, my none RX medicine, my 'cure' for anxiety, flying long distance which I do often, focusing on projects and the list goes on and on. I learned this about myself at age 15 and 20yrs later it gives me so much 'joy' to see it in writing from other people. Before the internet landed into our lives, I would wonder if 'Its just me'...If I 'was the lucky one'. I adore my husband but often have to go to the guest room for my 4am 'fix' to fall alseep. I tried Requip for days and threw it in the trash. It was horrible!

 
At September 10, 2013 10:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As an elderly sufferer of RLS I have tried most cures from standing in a tub of cold water which does give some relief, taking Tramadol tablets again does give some relief. My iron levels are good as I take Levothyroxine as i have half my thyroid removed and my prostate gland
too. As a younger man I was super fit as I still am. No medic I know can explain to me what's going on.

 
At September 23, 2013 9:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My significant other has it or I think he does. He moves his arms too though and just now got up and went to the living room. I tried telling him sex helps him sleep better but he giggled. I'm serious the past three nights he didn't move around near as much but tonight tried to sleep witbout any sex and he couldn't tgo to sleep.

 
At October 29, 2013 2:48 PM, Anonymous Jasmin said...

Funny enough, I just figured out and told my Hubby but i was laughed off. Good job i found your article to prove.

 
At November 06, 2013 9:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As old and dead as this topic may be i'd like to leave some words of advice: The male orgasm (ejaculation) is a process of expending important energy from your body that can only be gained again after a recovery period. This period of recovery is where you sleep. While sleeping you are revitalizing the necessary neurological chemicals to produce more ejaculate i.e.. Dopamine. Any sex addict knows that the only way they receive this dopamine (what helps you sleep and what helps your RLS) is through more and more ejaculation. As time goes on it is extremely less satisfying and your body/brain need more ejaculations to receive the same dopamine effect.

In essence this article is right and wrong. Your RLS may be relieved but the reason for your RLS is lack of dopamine. Continue to suck your life force from your body in order to sleep a tick and in one year you'll have RLS if you DONT orgasm before trying to sleep.

Think about it.

 
At April 12, 2014 1:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have RLS and it get worsened after sex.

 
At July 24, 2014 12:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I googled RLS and orgasms and found this. I am a 39 year old, African-American female. Orgasm works everytime. Glad to know that it helps other folks too.

 
At October 22, 2014 7:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been struggling with RLS for decades. During my pregnancy it was so bad that I could not sleep for the last four months. I have tried everything and thou lamotrigine helps to some extend, the only thing that really helps evertime is mastrubation. I am so glad to read about this, since I have been to shy to talk about my selfhelp-remedy to anyone. I will read more about this dopamine shortage. wonder how I can fix it..

 

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