Been struck by lightning recently? No. Rubbed a balloon on your head? Nope. Rocked on down to Electric Avenue? Definitely not.
Or could those strange little shocks you keep feeling be the menopause at play?
It might feel like a sudden, sharp jolt through your whole body, a pinching, static shock or random pains flicking on and off. Some women say they feel these across their forehead just before a hot flush.
These strange sensations aren’t fully understood but it’s thought to be to do with the brain misfiring neurons because of hormone imbalances.
Oestrogen plays a role in our nervous system (the extent to which is not known yet either). So as levels drop during the menopause, this may cause mixed messages between your brain and body, resulting in weird pains when nothing is actually the matter.
If menopause electric shock sensations are rubbing you up the wrong way, these lifestyle changes can all help you flick the ‘OFF’ switch and improve other symptoms while you're at it.
We know you know that you should be eating a healthy diet. But we’re saying it again because it will seriously improve so many menopausal symptoms, including electric shock.
Enjoy foods high in Omega 3s like salmon, and make sure your calcium levels are topped up through eating dairy foods like yoghurt and leafy green veggies such as broccoli, as these nutrients support normal nervous system function. That’s dinner sorted.
STOCK UP ON SUPPLEMENTS
If you’re worried you’re not getting enough nutrients from diet alone, you might want to think about boosting it with supplements.
GET SOME SUNSHINE
Vitamin D can help regulate your central nervous system too.
If you live in a country like the UK where the weather is temperamental at best, it can be difficult to get enough and you may find you feel better when you take a supplement especially through the winter months
When the sun does have his hat on, try to get out for a short walk each day with your arms or legs exposed, lotion-free. Always use sun protection on your face.
Increasing your fitness and improving your blood circulation through regular workouts can help you physically, mentally and emotionally deal with other symptoms and changes associated with the menopause, including menopausal electric shocks and tingling extremities.
This can be doing anything – a walk, weightlifting, a dance class or swimming. Just make sure it’s something you enjoy.
TAKE YOUR SHOES OFF
This one might sound a bit hippy-ish but do bear with us for a moment.
We all know going outside is good for our nerves, right? It helps us relax. Well, what if actually touching the outside with your bare feet strengthened that connection?
Yep, that’s right. There’s some evidence that pottering around sans socks on soil, sand or grass might help reduce pain and inflammation, balance your nervous system and even help boost your immune system. Worth a go, we say (just maybe not round your local park).
CUT BACK ON CAFFEINE & ALCOHOL
Both caffeine and alcohol affect your central nervous system – the former stimulates it and the latter suppresses it. Either way, messing around with part of you that’s clearly not all that happy right now isn’t wise.
Reduce the number of hot drinks you have during the day, drink more water and try not drinking any alcohol on weeknights. This way you can still enjoy the odd coffee or weekend tipple while keeping your nerves in check.
HINTS AND TIPS FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO SUPPORT SOMEONE THEY THINK MAY BE ENTERING OR IN MENOPAUSE
You might be at a bit of a loss. What on earth can you do to help them with this symptom? You’d be surprised, there’s a lot you can try.
OUR ADVICE TO THEM
We’ve suggested that they avoid caffeine and alcohol, as these can affect the central nervous system – the former stimulates it and the latter suppresses it. We’ve also recommended they try walking around outside with their shoes off, as some people have reported connecting with the ground helps ease this symptom.
ASK THEM TO EXPLAIN
If you’ve never experienced anything like this, it might be hard for you to understand what their electric shocks feel like. Gently ask them to explain the effect they are having on them physically and emotionally.
You may not be able to do anything to make them feel better. But they may not want answers, they may just need to talk – and be properly heard. Switch your listening ears on and give them your full attention.
CREATE A WEEKLY MEAL PLAN
With electric shocks, it’s really important people eat a balanced diet packed with vitamin D, Omega-3 and calcium-rich foods that support normal nervous system function.
Planning meals ahead is a good way to get an overview of what you’re eating and manage weight too, while shopping for the ingredients together and sharing the cooking can take the pressure off them. You could even sign up for a cookery class to learn some new culinary skills.
SUGGEST A SUPPLEMENT
If they are not sure they are getting enough of the above nutrients from their diet, they could always take them in supplement form.
Why not gently ask if they have tried taking anything like that?
ADJUST THE STRENGTH OF YOUR HUGS
Affection is obviously an important part of any relationship – friendly or romantic. However if they are suffering from strange pains, tight hugs can hurt. Be aware and check in before touching them.
Regular exercise improves your fitness and blood circulation. This is key in managing many symptoms during the perimenopause and menopause, including electric shocks.
Combining something you want to do (spend time together) with something you need to do (exercise) can be a real game changer.
Partnering up to go for a walk, swim or to the gym is also more likely to help you both stay motivated.
If you’re worried about altered skin sensation, you should see your GP who can discuss your symptoms in the context of the menopause.
If you'd like more information, we have put some further references below for you: