ARTICLE BY ASARE EBENEZER SAMUEL ANSAH
During menopause, or perimenopause, women often report the feeling of electric shock sensations in the body. Sometimes these sudden shocks happen in the head or between the layers of skin on other parts of the body. Some women report that it feels like a rubber band has been snapped between the layers of skin. Often, these occur just before a hot flash, another common menopausal symptom.
The first time a woman experiences these sensations can be frightening, but it is not normally the sign of a disease, but just a normal sign of changes that naturally occur with age. It occurs most commonly when trying to relax. Although the exact causes of these sensations is not yet understood, one theory suggests that these electrical shocks are because of changing hormone levels, which affects the cardiovascular and nervous systems.
Most women experience perimenopause (literally the years before and after menopause) for up to ten years, and this is a time of change in the amounts of hormones the body manufactures. Menopause has been reached when a woman has not menstruated for an entire year, which is determined after the fact. This can happen naturally at any time between the ages of the early 40s and early 60s. Every woman experiences different symptoms, or none at all, and the symptoms can change over time for a woman during the change.
Before menopause, or perimenopause, is the time when a woman’s body readies itself to end the cycle of fertility. During this time, most women will have a fluctuation of the hormones known to control ovulation, estradiol (estrogen), testosterone, and progesterone, which affect many tissues ranging from the brain to the skin. Estrogen level changes can affect nerve tissues, which may be responsible for causing electric shock sensations. The levels of these hormones can also affect the hypothalamus, producing electrical sensations or hot flashes.
Though not dangerous in and of themselves, these symptoms electric shock sensations in the body can adversely affect the quality of life. Many times these changes come about at a time in life when women are becoming grandmothers or care-givers for aging parents, which can be stressful. In the past, many women choose hormone replacement therapy, but this method is coming under increasing scrutiny for being linked to cancer and other long-term negative side effects. There are more invasive medical procedures, but most women are prone to trying other methods first.
Increasingly, women are looking to remedies from previous generations. Reducing and controlling stress through lifestyle changes, including yoga and meditation can often help. Dietary changes including limiting caffeine and adding foods that help the body to manufacture estrogen, including cherries, apples, and yams, proves beneficial for many women.
When lifestyle and dietary changes prove to be not enough, there are many treatments available, including Traditional Chinese Medicine, or herbs, to ease symptoms. Herbs have been used in many parts of the world for centuries with a safe and effective track record. There are two common types: phytoestrogenic, which introduces hormones into the body, and non-estrogenic, which stimulates a woman’s natural systems to promote normal hormone production. Either of these, or a combination, can help at the root causes to remedy electric shock sensations in the body for menopausal women, increasing comfort and quality of life.
While less common, there are other causes for electric shock sensations in the body, such as damaged nerves, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), and anxiety or panic attacks.