RLS caused by trapped gas...no mess needed...just don't eat gassy foods

My RLS is caused by trapped gas. When I experience a RLS attack, I drink water, walk around for a couple of minutes and the relieve the gas and sometimes a bowell movement. RLS is then gone. For prevention, find out what foods are giving the gas: beans, onions, broccoli etc. Try these measures before taking drugs!

39 Replies

  • Yes, I completely agree with you. A quiet, empty colon will either prevent or stop the RLS symptoms after they have begun - for me. But I don't think it's related to what I eat (although sugar and dairy are a no for me) so much as my motility - which is slow or uncoordinated. If I didn't get relief myself from this I would have thought you were crazy. I have a massage technique that I use rather than a hot drink to make myself go and stop the RLS. I don't think it's actually the presence of gas or poop but maybe the gut bacteria or their by-products that are swept away, or along, as we get our system going (even if just for that night) that provides relief. I'm working like mad on my motility these days and if I find anything that works I will let you know.

  • Hi Gwenlou

    I.m so glad you've started this thread. I've belived for some time now that constipation has a direct effect on my RLS. I've been very reluctant to say anything on here in case it sounded ridiculous but now you've made a similar comment, perhaps we're onto something. I've had IBS for ages but only recently noticed that there seems to be a link. Lets hope others on here have had similar thoughts / symptoms and therefore help lead to a cure.

  • I don't think this is the case for me. I can have rls all day everyday regardless of any stomach problem, which I don't suffer from. Also, if I'm doing a high intensity set in a workout, I can trigger it when I go anaerobic and it disappears as the oxygen deficet is cleared. There is a lot going on there but I don't think its stomach related, if that makes sense (although, reading back, that's more a feeling I guess).

    I do think its possible that there is more than one way to get to the symptoms of rls though. Very interesting, I will bare it in mind.

  • Kelka, do you have any other conditions besides RLS?

  • I have allergic rhinitis, practically all year round. I also have lifelong depression and various forms of anxiety.I often wonder if this was related to sleep.my rls is primary And I've had it as long as I can remember. I take supplements for it.

  • I feel like we're playing a game of Clue. I used to have allergic rhinitis all year round and went for allergy shots and acupuncture and was done with the rhinitis in my 30s. According to my allergist I still have food allergies (I agree) and that may be part of the problem with the RLS and IBS. But if you ask my allergist the food allergies are probably caused by "Leaky Gut" which he believes is caused by Candida Albicans - a yeast. While other doctors believe "Leaky Gut" is caused by bacteria in the small intestine. But no one is really sure what comes first but the race is on to find a treatment.

    Is iron one of your supplements?

  • That's interesting, I've avoided antihistamines because they make my rls a lot worse but I didn't think the shots were an option any more, for some reason.

    no, I was taking iron but it wasn't helping. I take magnesium and theanine at the moment and they make things bareable until I take a dihydrocodeine. Its working for now, I guess.

  • Oh, I forgot, I take glycine as well now,its my new one,

  • Well now it's that time for me to once again sound like a broken record...in terms of iron I have found that it never works unless I take a bioavailable form (I use Easy iron), on an empty stomach, during an attack. It takes 40 minutes to kick in, at least, and has almost never failed me. I always tell people to try it just once because it should work that very first time and every time. If you have the drug store kind of iron at home and don't want to spend money then try taking it with some vitamin C and that should make it more absorbable, allegedly. Supposedly our brains also need zinc, along with the iron, to make dopamine, so it might be worth trying it a second time with zinc, if the first time doesn't work. But then that's it, I wouldn't try it again. If you're anemic, which it sounds like you're not, then you should listen to your doctor and take it morning and night like they generally recommend for many months.

    I also take magnesium and theanine (on and off) for the IBS. It never seemed to help the RLS. What helped my RLS the most was stopping the Melatonin, Remeron and the occasional antihistamine.

  • My iron was 20, so quite low. I took 660mg a day on prescription for 6 months. I will look into a more bioavailable form. These things are always worth trying :-) I did take it with zinc but will try again.

    I don't find the magnesium or theanine help so much with the rls but with the type of sleep I get when I sleep, if you see what I mean.

    Horrible night, should have taken another dhc.

    Watching over the counter meds is definitely beneficial. I took sudafed in march for very painful sinuses to trigger this huge attack. Its been everyday since, without exception, sometimes all day.

  • LIsten up Folks! Fat used to flavor our foods. It makes everything taste better! So we went fat free now - the

    food makers now use SUGAR to flavor foods. Just read your labels when you shop in the store. Does

    anyone know all of the names that sugar goes by?

  • Well done to Gwenlou/Whitetea and Arjay for bringing up this topic. I agree that there may well be a connection but I was slow to put up a post lest people thought it was "off the wall". My form of RLS is PLMS (only happens when I sleep) . I can live with this and find that I'm better off not taking any of the usual RLS medicines as they obviously work on a 24hr basis and left me feeling exhausted for most of the day.

    However my biggest concern at present is chronic night sweating. I've had every possible test done and all thankfully are clear. I've had a long talk with my GP and stated that I feel that the PLMS, Sweating and IBS are all linked and that the sweating is definitely worse if I eat late in the evening or have spicy food. My GP feels that it's worth pursuing this and has set up an appt with a Gastroentrologist, so here's hoping. Just wondering if anyone else suffers from the sweats ? As I've said in previous posts and in case study, we all know our bodies better than our GP's !!

  • I also have chronic night sweating which seems to be getting worse as I get older ( like the RLS) but always attributed it to Menopause, so am very interested that others get it too and that there may be a link. Any other fellow sufferers out there?

  • Yep, I attribute my infrequent night sweats (usually I'm freezing at night) to the onset of menopause. And along with those sweats or flushing comes the RLS, but then subsides shortly after the flushed feeling.

  • Hi, interesting to hear that others are having the prob.

  • Hello Mundesley

    I, too, experience heat flushes,exactly like I used to with menopause.

    These heat flushes were pretty well every night, but then, like now, I don't get them.

    When I asked my doctor why I am getting those heat flushes at night, he told me that

    certain bouquets of meds, prescription drugs mix together in our systems and cause these heat flushes.

    I am not experiencing any heat flushes at night anymore, or at least, lately, but then again, my doctor took away two pills in my prescription menu and added a different one as a diuretic.

    I am not a young person to think it has anything to do with menopause as I

    am 77 years of age.

  • Night sweats can be related to almost ANY meds we take, even over the counter meds, or "all natural". My doctor did every test in the book, no Lymphoma, so that is good. We have given up, and are blaming it on my meds. There is nothing left to blame. I went through surgical menopause at the age of 29 (1985) so it sure is not menopause for my cause of night sweats. ;)

  • Hi, yes I can relate to this . I have found that if I need to do a bowel movement or as you mention have a lot of trapped air my RLSsymptons are heightened and by visiting the toilet this certainly settles it down quite a lot, thus allowing me to get some sleep.......

    At the same time if I run out of one of my 2 tablets I take at night I soon know about it and no amount of visiting the toilet can settle my leg down.....

    Interestingly my partner has noticed, that although I am managing to sleep more these days with these tablets, my arms have started continuously "flinching" in my sleep ie spasm like movements that they need to move out the way of or my partner doesn't sleep ......

  • I HATE that trapped air. It wasn't until I was married that I realized that people (at least my husband) will pass gas at least every hour. He brags that he can do it on command. I hate him too. After the morning (when the gastric colic reflex is strongest) the air just builds up and it's under lock and key. Sometimes hot liquid, yoga, abdominal massage will move the air along but how ridiculous is that to have to do.

  • Ive noticed that sometimes relieving gas will help. x

  • This whole thing makes no sense at all. The only treatment that bothers me more is massage. I don't care if someone uses a bowling ball on their legs, it shouldn't have any affect on the RLS, which is in the brain. The only thing I can think of with passing gas or poop is that it takes some major peristaltic waves to have that happen and those waves also sweep away a lot of bacteria from the lower small intestine which then frees up iron for our brains. Would anyone like to hear another fairy tale....? :)


    IBS and SIBO are common in RLS. Three hypotheses developed are (a) RLS patients are selectively immunocompromised or genetically predisposed and thus more subject to SIBO; (b) SIBO leads to autoimmune changes, and subsequent auto-antibodies attack brain and/or peripheral nerves and (c) SIBO inflammation leads to increased hepcidin and CNS iron deficiency which, in turn, leads to RLS. These hypotheses bear further investigation

    I googled IBS and RLS and found the above.

  • I've been looking more towards adrenergic receptors because of what effects me. This could add to it too because of the involvement in smooth muscle etc.

    I get obsessed with it sometimes. Guess were all looking.

  • it does make sense. I know a lot of people with IBS, too.

  • Well, is that is good that that works for you. ;) I dare say, though, it is not a fix all for everyone, because nothing ever is. You never know. I have IBS, avoid all gas giving foods, and it does not help my RLS, so you are lucky and anyone else who this helps. Just shows how different we all are. I can do all those things a dozen times or more at night, and it does not help my Primary RLS at all. so you are lucky, I have to say. ;)

  • Have you tried bioavailable iron, at night, on an empty stomach when the RLS is bad? Even though my iron levels are fine it still works. Supposedly our iron levels (everyone's) drops by one half at night. I guess it doesn't bother most people but those of us predisposed to RLS, it bothers! But that iron has to get to the bloodstream which is difficult because iron is not readily absorbed (it's a heavy metal), especially the drug store kind. I know, I tried it because it's cheaper. It didn't touch the RLS. However, any iron that is broken down so that it gets readily absorbed (rather than staying in my gut and causing constipation) calms my RLS.

  • Are you talking about iron serum levels or Ferritin level? the Ferritin "number" tells you how your body stores the iron, and that is very different than an iron serum test. 2 different ones. I will tell you that I have had iron infusions ( in the US) and we got my ferritin level way up. "normal " for someone without RLS is 12-15. so if your doctor does not know this they will tell you it is normal. for a person with RLS, they want your # to be between 50 and 70. f you do manage to get it up to that level which I could only do with infusions, it did not affect my RLS at all. And, when you have infusions done, you learn all about iron overload. If your body is storing the iron correctly, you should not need more iron. by having the infusions we ruled out iron or ferritin levels as a cause of my RLS. My whole family has it, starting with me, my 2 sisters, my 2 nieces, and my olest niece's kids. So, 65% of all cases are genetic, and the genetic cases are typically harder to treat, and that is about 65%. I am glad the iron helps you, that is wonderful. But, we need to tell both sides. I mentioned iron overload and it can kill you, to be frank. That is why we all need to know our ferritin levels and you have to ask special for that if you have a doctor who does not know RLS well. while one has infusions of iron, you are actually admitted to the hospital in case they overload you too much. And, i learned quickly they will do the slow drip and no amount of calls on my cell phone that my bother-in-law had been found deceased, they would not let me out for 4 hours. so that shows you how serious it is. the more we know, as they say......... What works for one does not help the next person sometimes, but the more ideas the better. It is very important to know about our iron. ;)

    It sounds like you have done your homework and found something that helps you.

  • Sorry, just read your post now. So you had the infusions and NOTHING??? Not even the night of the infusion??? Something is up with iron and RLS though. Especially at night, but not necessarily. I didn't do my homework, otherwise I wouldn't have taken melatonin and remeron for so long and had restless body rather than my usual mild restless leg. I did a quick search several years ago and found the iron at night thing. I found through trial and error that it has to be on an empty stomach, bio-available, at night, blah blah. Over the years, in my mind, iron became to RLS what Advil is to muscle aches and Benadryl is to allergies. In a large majority of cases Advil and Benadryl will provide some amount of relief. I always assumed the same with iron. But like muscle aches and allergies, if you take the medicine in the morning, 10 to 12 hours before you get symptoms, then of course these things will do nothing for nobody. You have to take these things at the onset of symptoms. It's almost like my brain can pick up the iron as its in abundance coursing through my bloodstream but can't seem to call it up from my healthy stores of iron.

  • Hello Whitetea, very interesting!

    I shall try the Iron pill at the onset of RLS.

    Thank you, even if it just helps a bit.

  • i have ibs, and it in no way affects my rls, sometime the ibs settles down a fair bit, but my rls still rages, so i would say i dont see any connection, plus i had rls a heck of a long time before i got ibs

  • Carol, do you have IBS-C or IBS-D or IBS-A. I'm an A. And I don't much care for those classifications. When people ask what it feels like I tell them a mild case of the stomach flu...just not right. Bloaty, gurgly, sleepy and headachey. Like I said before, if I didn't actually get relief from restless BODY by a 3am poop I would be right there with you Carol. That's how I feel about massage - no way, no how. Plus, one or two times I would chalk it up to coincidence but the number is closer to 50 times providing relief. So if I were losing my mind with the RLS I would try a bottle of citrate of magnesium one afternoon or some other benign laxative and see what if anything it does. But like I said before, I don't believe it's just the physical presence of poop in the large intestine, I believe it's the wave like motions that sweep out the bacteria from the small intestine that provides relief....maybe? That would then jive with the fact that some people get relief while on antibiotics (or certain kinds of antibiotics). Antibiotics are known to increase motility and decrease bacteria count. Which then translates somehow to more iron for the brain. Got all that?

  • Cant say i care for the classification's either, IBS is IBS

  • My puny brain can't quite wrap itself around the below paragraph from Wikipedia wherein it discusses iron metabolism. But if some of us do have bacteria in our guts, even too much of the friendly ones, then our body says "INFECTION" and becomes very stingy with iron. I bet that no matter how much we have stored if our bodies are being stingy and we're predisposed to RLS, then our brains just aren't getting enough iron. You can have all the iron infusions in the world, but if our body is the gatekeeper and it says no withdrawals today then....then RLS, all night, every night. Maybe that's why Mispiernas got relief from antibiotics, I get relief from the iron I sneak my brain at night, and why I get relief when my body FINALLY decides to poop out some of that bacteria. Maybe I poop out just enough to lower the infection signal from red alert to an orange or yellow. Maybe those antibiotics you're taking for a root canal magically seem to get rid of your RLS because it too temporarily lowers the gut bacteria and the red alert signal And if you want yet another unbelievable science fiction tale - watch the five minute You Tube video called "Dr. Quantum.

    From Wikipedia:

    In response to a systemic bacterial infection, the immune system initiates a process known as iron withholding. If bacteria are to survive, then they must obtain iron from their environment. Disease-causing bacteria do this in many ways, including releasing iron-binding molecules called siderophores and then reabsorbing them to recover iron, or scavenging iron from hemoglobin and transferrin. The harder they have to work to get iron, the greater a metabolic price they must pay. That means that iron-deprived bacteria reproduce more slowly. So our control of iron levels appears to be an important defense against most bacterial infections; there are some exceptions however. TB resides within macrophages which are an iron rich environment and Borrelia burgdorferi utilises manganese in place of iron. People with increased amounts of iron, like people with hemochromatosis, are more susceptible to some bacterial infection.[4]

    Although this mechanism is an elegant response to short-term bacterial infection, it can cause problems when inflammation goes on for longer. Since the liver produces hepcidin in response to inflammatory cytokines, hepcidin levels can increase as the result of non-bacterial sources of inflammation, like viral infection, cancer, auto-immune diseases or other chronic diseases. When this occurs, the sequestration of iron appears to be the major cause of the syndrome of anemia of chronic disease, in which not enough iron is available to produce enough hemoglobin-containing red blood cells.[1]

  • Right you are, I shall try this. Also if I'm laying in the couch and it starts I use the heel of one foot to massage the other foot as hard as I can. Sometimes rubbing below the ankle works and sometimes the instep.

    I'm an artist and when my really wicked rls starts I find concentrating on a painting, sort of a distraction I guess, really helps a lot.

  • tLims

    In more than just one blog it is said that this is a neurological malady?

  • Yes, it is neurological. If you have a question, look at the top of the page, it has questions and posts. click on which one you think you need and you will be able to have your own question or post, that way, you will get a better response to what you are asking. Questions and posts can get lost amongst what others have already posted. Hope that helps... :)

  • Hi Gwenlou

    Thank you for your advice.

    I will try this and see if it helps.

    I have had RLS for many years now, but for the first time, three and four days ago, I had the rls in my arms. This is scary. Why would I have it in my arms when I have not had it there ever.

    I have had to increase my doses of Levocarb.05 mg.,

    but it does work, I just had to take more for those two nights that I had it in my arms to make the rls go away for the night.

    I did not have it in my arms last night, but then again, I am taking more Levocarb than before.

    I have an appointment with my doctor on March 6th, I will tell

    him about it then as he is keeping his eye on my health problems more so lately and I am having a colonoscopy on March 3rd.

  • Hi tLimms...yes, pls tell me if you have any relief from my 'reducing gas' suggestion.

  • Yes, tLimms-777, by now I hope you have read enough to know that RLS is neurological, not muscular or anything else. There can be MANY causes for it , but now it is classified as a "movement related neurological sleep disorder" by the actual experts who study RLS 24/7.

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