Electric shock sensation or ESS can feel like a rubber band snapping against part of your body or a zing of electricity shooting through you.

Generally “harmless” and short-lived, ESS can nonetheless be pretty unpleasant, particularly as they often signal a hot flash is not far behind.*

What else can cause that tingle? Paresthesia, or a needling sensation in the arms, legs, fingers, or even face is another lesser-known symptom of menopause.

 ESS is thought to be a fairly uncommon effect of hormone changes at menopause, but given how spooky it can be, and how often we hear about it from women, we decided to feature it as our Symptom of the Month.

What causes Electric Shock Sensation in menopause?

Your body is chock-full of estrogen receptors – it’s why menopause has so many symptoms and affects so much of your body.

Estrogen also works with your central nervous system to send messages along nerves to the brain. It’s thought that when your hormones are fluctuating, signals can get crossed or amplified or otherwise distorted, causing the sensation of a shock or tingle.

It’s possible that some medications can contribute to the sensation, particularly those prescribed for hot flashes. And the ramp up of anxiety that many women experience in perimenopause and menopause may also increase the likelihood and severity of ESS.

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What else can cause an electric shock sensation?

As with all new and unexplained symptoms, it’s a good idea to consult with a doctor to rule out other possible causes.

Problems in the back like a herniated disc or spinal stenosis can send shock sensations, particularly down the leg. Diabetic peripheral neuropathy can cause shooting pain sensations in the legs and feet. A vitamin B12 deficiency may prompt feelings of electric shock waves. Osteoporosis of the spine increases your risk of experiencing ESS, so you may want to talk with your doc about a bone density test.

So before you chalk it up to menopause, consult with a medical professional.

How to stop the shock

Like so many other menopause symptoms, the best things you can do are just really good things your body needs anyway:

  1. Hydrate. Drink plenty of water to keep your system performing optimally.
  2. Exercise. As with night sweats, not exercising just before bed may help reduce the symptom.
  3. Sleep. Try to get enough. Follow the rules for good sleep hygiene to maximize your chances of a decent night’s rest.
  4. Cut out or drastically reduce caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine.
  5. Eat right. Make sure you’re getting the right nutrients in the right amounts so your body works right, rests well, and heals correctly.
  6. Consider supplements. If you worry you may not be getting the nutrients you need, adding Vitamins B and E, plus calcium, potassium, and magnesium may help not only reduce ESS but ease other symptoms and support your health generally.

You can also look into eating more phytoestrogenic foods like chickpeas, soybeans, flax seeds, dried apricots and dates, red clover, green tea, black licorice, etc. Some women have found relief from acupuncture and biofeedback. And HRT or hormone replacement therapy may also be helpful, particularly if you’re managing other symptoms.

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*If you suffer from sensations of electricity travelling through your body, your first call should be to your doctor. While the weird and wild hormonal ride of perimenopause and menopause can prompt a lot of changes in your body, simply assuming something is “just menopause” can leave you vulnerable to other possible causes. The information on this site is never meant to replace the care of a qualified medical professional.

Have you experienced Electric Shock Sensation? What was it like, and what are you doing to manage it? As always, we’d love for you to share. Comment below, or find us on Facebook or in Midlife & Menopause Solutions, our Facebook group. You can also join us, anonymously, if you prefer, on our community forums.