Help - agonising night cramps: I believe they... - Kidney Disease

Kidney Disease

6,803 members2,744 posts

Help - agonising night cramps

Trill profile image

I believe they can be one of the delights of CKD? For a few years I have taken one magnesium in the morning and the problem went away. Only to return now. I think magnesium is not advised anyway for kidney problems (I am Stage 3) but I can't put up with this pain. Not every night but frequently enough not to want to find a cause and a remedy. I was awake 2 hours last night from 4am because of it. Someone in our knowledgeable community might know. Am posting same in thyroid section as I believe there is also another connection there. Thanks, guys.

21 Replies

I get horrific leg cramps (I’m on dialysis) and mine is generally due to taking to much fluid off. Since you’re not on dialysis are you drinking enough fluids, how is your potassium levels? You might try a banana a day. Also, is your doctor aware of you taking magnesium?? Magnesium in itself can cause a number of issues.

snoochy profile image
snoochy in reply to 3Kidneys

I have had terrible cramps at night - feet, toes, calf, back of thigh, hands.

I began taking apple cider vinegar 2 tablespoons each night before bed. I take it straight then wash it down with water, but it can be put into a glass of other fluid to dilute the taste. It has eliminated the suffering.

Trill profile image
Trill in reply to snoochy

Sounds good to try. Thanks.

2nd consecutive night of calf cramps. Update.

This is not a reply to myself! It is a subsequent post.

More probing results. I had been taking 100mg a day of Magnesium Malate but I should never have done so because I have kidney disease. Furthermore, it's not even effective: see this scientific article:

Calf stretching seems the best treatment so plenty of 'lunges' and standing on tiptoe.

Furthermore, I have been put on statins, and the side effect can include cramps. My optician today advised me to get it changed to another brand.

Finally, I might have Peripheral Vascular Disease and that is something that I am going to ask to be tested for as CKD sufferers are at a higher risk of cardiovascular events and I have symptoms which may be explained by it, such as weak legs, tiredness walking, hot burning feet at night etc. So, am going to pick up that phone and book an appointment . . .

I use Penetrex or a cbd cream and how have very little cramping at night.

Also a friend of mine swears by pickle juice, as do some doctors. Drinking a small amount before bed each evening. You mentioned statins, and it’s a possibility, I cannot take them either. There is a new product- I’ve seen it at Walmart and Walgreens, made specifically for leg cramps. I don’t know how well it works, it is fairly expensive. But since my dialysis is cut to six nights per week instead of the usual seven, I rarely have issues anymore.

I’ve done the pickle juice... I suggest 3/4 of a cup to a cup. Gulp it down.. something about the enzymes in the juice

Pickle juice and bananas are terrible for CKD. Bananas are very high in potassium and pickle juice is very high in sodium. I experienced leg cramps also. I have peripheral neuropathy and was advised by a neuromuscular specialist to drink sparkling water daily. She said it contains quinine which will relieve the cramping. It worked. If I skipped a day of drinking sparkling water I got cramps.

Jayhawker profile image
Jayhawker in reply to Pappy58

I used to have a lot of trouble with leg cramping too. I found that drinking tonic water with quinine helped. My nephrologist acknowledged that was due to the quinine in the tonic water. I guess they used to be able to prescribe quinine but are no longer able to do this in the USA???

Anyway, anything with quinine that’s also renal friendly would likely work. Thankfully I’m no longer experiencing such significant fluid shifts. So I virtually never experience the severe cramping, or any real cramping, now. I realize that it will likely come back when I start dialysis.


Trill profile image
Trill in reply to Jayhawker

Yes, Jayhawker, that used to be the standard treatment, but about 2004 it was removed as a medicine because it had led to serious complications. Heart, I think. I may be wrong. Beginning to mix up all my conditions! Not sure if you can get it in tonic water any more either but I will definitely look! Thanks.

Jayhawker profile image
Jayhawker in reply to Trill

My nephrologists logistic was okey with me drinking some tonic water to ease the cramping. It seemed to take only 4-6 oz for that to ease the severe cramping. I also did muscle stretching. And as others have mentioned, I tried eating some mustard. The mustard didn’t seem to do much for me.

My cramping was definitely related to shifts in fluid. (And I’m not on dialysis.) When my nephrologist discontinued the low dose of furosemide I was taking, these shifts in my fluid levels stopped. Thankfully, I’ve had no severe cramping since. I also have no issues with fluid retention. So I haven’t bought tonic water or it used it in close to two years now🐶


Trill profile image
Trill in reply to Pappy58

Well that IS interesting. I can eat a small amount of bananas at Stage 3a, but I can't see ikn any searching that there is quinine in sparkling water. And people with kidney disease should not have quinine. Back to the calf stretching exercises methinks.

WYOAnne profile image
WYOAnneNKF Ambassador

Make sure you are drinking enough water everyday. I have had a transplant. It's been very warm the last couple of days and realized I didn't drink enough throughout the day. The last 2 nights I have had horrible cramping in my feet/ankles/leg. My nephrologist said the cramping is due to low magnesium & potassium. For me, it happened because I have not been drinking enough. When it is Hot outside, you have to drink even more than you normally do.

I also have had night cramps in my legs. My nephrologist suggested that I drink tonic water. I put lime or lemon in mine.I have not had any cramps since.One glass a day.I have been doing this over a year.I am stage 4.

Trill profile image
Trill in reply to 5157

Thanks for that but I am surprised a nephrologist would suggest that as quinine damages the kidneys.

Mandelin profile image
Mandelin in reply to 5157

My nephrologist said tonic water too but I take 2 tbsp of yellow mustard instead.

A doctor told my brother to take 2tbsp of yellow mustard. I have done it each time I get cramps and it really helps almost immediately.

Trill profile image
Trill in reply to Mandelin

Mustard? Interesting. If I was in enough pain I would. Do you dilute it? It's pretty fierce stuff.

Mandelin profile image
Mandelin in reply to Trill

No don’t dilute it. It’s kinda tart but it’s not too bad.

Be careful on the amount of tonic water you drink. Yes it does have quinine in it. I personally can’t drink it as it causes rapid heartbeat and vomiting. Not nearly as bad as taking the quinine tablets did (yeah, I’m old- they don’t prescribe them anymore), but even small amounts effects me.

My Nephrologist asked me to drink more water for muscle cramps, and I could drink tonic (which is quinine water) when cramps are bad.

You may also like...