Hello fellow restless legs sufferers,
I'm new here and I just wanted to introduce myself. Here's my situation:
I'm a 40 year old single guy and I've been an RLS sufferer for approximately 5 years. After reading some of your stories, I realize I'm lucky that I haven't suffered from it as long as some people.
I believe the initiator of my condition was physical stress. I was a shiftworker (including working nights) and on top of that, I was intermittent fasting, drinking too much coffee and exercising too much. In the first year or two, I didn't put it together that my sleep was suffering but I eventually realized that I was waking up an hour or so after going to sleep regardless if it was after a day or night shift and just tossing and turning. Over the years, the issue has gotten slowly worse. The only thing that I've found that helps with the symptoms is kratom. I'm not sure how many of you are familiar with this 'supplement' but it works wonders for me. Obviously, I'm not a doctor and I know there is still a lot we don't know about kratom and I am scared that taking it every night is eventually going to lead to something much worse than RLS. But, in the mean time, the sleep is good.
A few interesting points with my situation:
-I believe the root cause is at least partially tied to my iron level. My blood work shows my serum iron is low. Not low enough for my MD to take action, but low. Ironically (see the pun there), I am not anaemic and my ferritin if anything is high. It seems that my body is withholding iron from my bloodstream for some reason but I'm not sure why. I know that low iron is a classic cause for RLS but I can't seem to figure out what's causing it. I don't seem to have any other major conditions (like a bacterial infection) other than constantly having to blow my nose due to excess mucous and my blood creatinine is elevated.
-My cortisol is showing as elevated after taking a 24 saliva cortisol test. Bloodwork shows the presense of thyroid antibodies so there's some sort of auto immune thing going on there.
-A few years ago, while I was on shift, I took an adrenal supplement (burdock root, sumac root, licorice, etc.) that for two nights gave me the best sleep I had in probably 15 years. After those two days, it just stopped working. It didn't even stop working slowly - it just stopped. I've experimented a ton since then and nothing even moves the needle. It seems like there was some sort of X factor those two nights but for the life of me, I can't figure out what it was. Because of these magical two nights, I feel there is some tie-in with my adrenals/thyroid but I'm not sure how that relates to serum iron.
-I have never taken any medication to treat it (Requip, Mirapex, Gabapentin) by choice
My memory has gotten really poor over the last few years which I attribute to my lack of quality sleep. My self esteem is also low and as a result, my dating life is non-existent and I often doubt any woman being interested in me long term with me not being able to sleep through the night without kratom.
Anyway, thanks for taking the time to read all this. It feels good just to talk about it.