Causes of Restless Leg Syndrome

If I knew what really causes my RLS, may be I could fight with it much better

I have check and made a cross check on :

Family history, iron deficiency, B12, diabetes, cholesterol and .........

I don't know if dopamine can be measured clinically.

I don't know what else I could do to figure out the cause of my RLS

Your comments are greatly appreciated. :)

43 Replies

  • Hi Rahim, there doesn't seem to be a straight path to answering your question as it seems to affect us all in different ways but pestering your GP to get you to see a neurologist would be my best advice.


  • There isnt anyway to measure dopamine. I think that has been asked before... My RLS is inherited so i know the reason i have it. But even tho i do know, it doesnt help much in fighting it better, there isnt much i can do apart from taking the meds and making sure any other medications do not interact, I know some make sure any food or drink doesnt make things worse. I wish i knew the answer for you. unless you have an underlying condition which you seem to have checked out the obvious reasons. Iron deficiency (low ferritin) B12, Diabetes...

  • What Elisse said, so I won;t repeat. If we were even close of figuring out a cause for RLS, we would be throwing a party, trust me. :) It is trial and error to see if dopamine meds work for you. For example, they do not touch my RLS. I had iron infusions done a couple years beack, no good, got mny ferritin level way up, and still did not quiet my RLS. All we can do is try, and we have to have hope. I have diaries that cross reference diaries, and notebooks and web sites and books that I have read, etc, etc. If we knew the cause we probably would not need a forum like this or support groups. Iron sdeems to do irtt for one person, dopamine the next, and so on. has a great list on the treatment page of meds that are used and ":Drugs and foods to be avoided". That is always a good place to start. My RLS is definitely genetic. Both my sisters have it, both my nieces, and my olest niece's kids that are 5 and 7. some experts also feel that something like an injury can "trigger" the gene, but more theories. All I know, is my RLs started after I broke my back at the age of 14. So, we all have to look individually and see what adds up, which sometimes nothing adds up. :( 65% of all RLS cases are genetic, and the gene can remain passive. The RLS genes were discovered in 2005 and 2007.

  • The experts cannot find a cause yet, it is hard enough in some cases to fine a treatment. there are theories ( right and wrong) all over, but no one knows yet for sure. finding a way to make it thru each day is hard enough at times.

  • totally agree Romany...nothing seems to make mine any worse or any better except I think, the ssri I am taking. food/drink has no effect at all. there is not much more listed on site than there is on any uk rls site inc nhs so once you have checked those few footstuffs and drugs etc out, then there is not much more left to try. I think we just have to pool our experiences and hopefully each of us can find a way of coping as best we we would do with any other disease. I am happy to try any conventional treatment apart from dopamine and any alternative remedy, . strangely pasties have no effect on my rls...just my waist!!!!

  • I believe it's time for research on the effects of pasties on RLS. That's one clinical study that sounds good to me!! :-)

  • Cake!!!! I think various trials on cake variations is a way forward!!!

  • Personally; I find a good meal of peppered steak & Garlic potatoes beneficial for my RLS: It doesn't cure it...but it sure does take my mind off it for a while. (50% of something is better than 100% of nothing, Folks) :-)

  • amitryptiline is a tricyclic, and just as bad, if not worse than the ssri's. ;(

  • How did it affect you Romany!

  • Had exactly the same affect on me and my doctor too prescribed Zopiclone, nightmare drug both of them!!....for me

    The zopiclone reduced my poor old memory to nonexistent my husband one morning asked me the old " how was it for you last night" question, I replied " how was what," another night of passion that got by me.

    Everything that we seem to be offered seems only to mask the problem. Simple me thinks that if so many odd things have a very negative effect on us then you would think that that would make it easier for them to trace the origins and reasons why!

    As many others said ' they' don't see it as bad enough to necessitate research, so we must shout louder but we are all too tired to do that!

  • that sounds nasty!!!

  • that was for zopiclone the same thing as amitryptaline???

  • thankyou x x x

  • At least some of us know where this junk is coming from, but I don't so far

  • Hi rahim50, maybe yours is inherited and you just havent found out, even tho you have checked family history.. The defective gene can lay dormant and get passed down generations without you even knowing.

  • just an observation. I've seen on this site and others that RLS is often mentioned alongside back trouble. Be it serious or not so serious, a nasty injury or an operation. Obviously the spinal cord is affected and messed up in some way and irriates what causes RLS for these people. However, many others mention it being a dopamine, brain problem. So maybe there is more than one cause or trigger for RLS, making it even more problematical to find a solution for all.

  • My son and daughter have not shown any RLS symptoms as of yet. One or the other probably have the defective gene inherited from me, but nothing has triggered it off. I have an adult granddaughter who also hasnt shown any RLS symptoms yet either.

  • Dear Romany and Elisse

    You might be right about the hidden gene inherited cause but I am more suspected on side effects of other meds, kidney or blood complications.


  • There is defintely hidden genes, or "passive" genes. They discovered one in 2005 and in 2007. some parents can carry the gene and pass it on, without ever having symptoms themselves. In my family both my sisters, two of my nieces, and my oldest niece's kids all have RLS,and the kids are only 5 and 7. So, it defintely runs in my family. It is about 65% of RLS that is considered genetic. ;)

  • It would be nice if something came soon, but they have been aware of the genes since 2005. I hope so , too! :)

  • Ahhh genetics I would have my dodgy ones removed tomorrow if that were possible but I am also a little bit worried about some of the genetic research thats going on...dilemmas!

  • I suppose that would be a positive use for genetic engineering so our offspring wouldnt have to suffer like we do...

  • I've read it is caused by degenerative disk disease.....with pressure on the nerves ( from the wearing away of the disk) that causes the RLS.....

  • Right, This is one of many other causes, fortunately MRI of my discs showed no problem there.

    Also another MRI showed nothing wrong with my foot carpal tunnel, I am still looking over the possible cause.

  • That may be a cause in later life i suppose but Ive had rls since i was about 10 ish so that rules that out for me. I cant remember any injury i had but it was a long long time ago!!!!....All I can remember is having my tonsils out under........... general anaesthetic....I wonder.....?????

  • I joined today. Having suffered from my mid-teens. I found by chance: in 1998: that eating 1or 2 bananas daily stopped the symptoms within 5 nights. No problems. Ate bananas for years. About 12 months ago I stopped, I went off bananas completely. Then 6 weeks ago the symptoms began waking me within an hour of sleeping. Could this be lack of potassium linked?

    I now take Ibuprofen at 8.00 p.m. to enable me to sleep.

  • I've understand that bananas, almonds, avocados are helpful in increasing the precursor chemicals for dopamine production...I do try to include them in my diet.! I was taking 5htp which does a similar sort of thing but had to stop it before I had really given it a go as I needed antidepressants and couldn't take the two. There is a question I put on about it somewhere!!!!

    I take co codamol to get some peace!

  • I think it's the tryptophan in bananas which is helpful!

  • It's an amino acid that's needed to produce serotonin which as well as being involved in depression issues is also involved in sleep. I was hoping 5htp.also known as tryptophan which is in bananas would solve all my problems but the doc said I needed the anti d .

  • Bananas it is then, I'll report back in five days

    Thank you

  • I also remember having 3 thick blankets under the mattress on my side of the bed, keeping my legs elevated at night helped a bit. I have slept with them on the headboard, which results in pins and needles <rolls eyes> (no smilies here? )

  • "They discovered one in 2005 and in 2007 .... " they being who exactly, is there any written evidence/research to hand - ?

  • Certainly: do let us know if bananas help .......... <wave>

  • Dear Insect, I found this in ehow site relating to banana helping RLS :

    How to Deal With RLS (Restless Legs Syndrome)


    If you have woken up because your restless legs syndrome has caused another sleep disturbance, drink warm milk to help you get back to sleep.


    Certain food, such as bananas, have been reported to help with restless legs syndrome. This may be because restless legs syndrome can be associated with an iron deficiency in the body and bananas have a high iron content.


  • This is the 6 other suggestions in that article :

    How to Stay Asleep

    Obey this one weird trick to stay asleep all night long.


    Prescription medication may be necessary to deal with restless legs syndrome. Some medications like Requip and Mirapex are made specifically for this disorder. Others like Klonapin, which is an anti-anxiety drug, have also shown to ease RLS symptoms. Those who use Klonapin may have to periodically increase the dosage. Requip can have nasty side effects in some people. It can cause chest pain and sweating. Go to the emergency room if you take Requip and experience these symptoms.


    Stretch before bed. Lie down on your back and wrap a beach towel or sheet around the bottom of your foot. Pull your leg back towards your head, and hold for about 10 to 15 seconds. Don't overstrain. Do other common leg exercises that you would do before or after a work out.


    Exercise. Restless legs syndrome is worsened by stress and inactivity. Exercising can help you cope better with stress. Exercise can also have a direct effect on restless legs syndrome by reducing the urge to move your legs constantly. Exercise can help at the onset of symptoms. Many people report that walking around or doing some other exercise for a few minutes eases the symptomes and they can return to bed.


    Lose weight. Weight loss can ease restless legs syndrome. Speak with your doctor if you think your weight is causing or aggrevating your condiiton.


    Some SSRIs can cause restless legs syndrome. If your symptoms began after you started taking an antidepressant, talk with your doctor about changing medications or adding an additional medication for restless legs syndrome if you feel that going off the antidepressant would be detrimental.


    Avoid caffiene, especially at night. Switch to diet soda or drink water or lemonade instead. Avoid iced tea, tea and coffee.

    ( I personally do not suggest diet soda because of it's additives and acidity )


  • Had a look at that somnapure looks full of good stuff to aid sleep...hops, valerian, chamomile, lemon balm, passion flower!!!!!

  • As a drink I personally would rather to drink fresh green tea, alkaline ionized water, natural fruit juice ( not sweeten ), milk and............

  • Passion flower !!!!! what it could be, may be a red rose from

    so I am going to check it out .

  • I have daily RLS. No one else in my family has RLS. I am the only one in my family to have taken anti-depressants (for many years). When I stopped taking the anti-depressants I began to have RLS. My iron levels are normal.

    So I wonder if my anti-depressants caused my RLS. So I also wonder is there some natural way to reverse the damage caused by the anti-depressants?

  • I read last night that Aspartame can cause RLS, if so, then I can see a ton of law suits against the food industries if it`s ever proven!

  • Don,t trust all the readings but Aspartame may aggravate RLS, regardless of laws we should be careful on food additives in general.

  • I wish I had the million dollar answer like most of us. Each person can try different things ....everyone is different in causes maybe just like heart probs. for example A miriad of causes. Symptoms same but causes can be different. Sighhhh

    But here's to finding a cure. Ting!🍾

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