Masturbation May Relieve Restless Leg Syndrome

In addition to providing sexual satisfaction, masturbation also can help relieve restless leg syndrome (RLS), a new study finds.

Restless leg syndrome is a neurological disorder that causes an irresistible urge to move the legs even while sleeping. It is often accompanied by unpleasant sensations in the lower limbs such as tingling, itching, and aching.

The exact cause of restless leg syndrome is still unknown, but researchers believe that an imbalance of dopamine could be a culprit, and drugs that increase dopamine have been shown to relieve RLS when taken at bedtime.

Although such drugs provided significant improvement of symptoms for a 41-year-old man with RLS, he found complete relief after masturbation or sex.

Luis Marin and colleagues at the Federal University of São Paulo, Brazil, who report on the novel treatment this month in Sleep Science, speculate that the release of orgasm-related dopamine might play a role in the alleviation of symptoms.

“An orgasm provides one of the biggest natural blasts of dopamine available to us,” said Marlin. When Gert Holstege at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands, and colleagues scanned the brains of ejaculating men, he said the resulting images resembled scans of heroin rushes.

This temporary increase in dopamine may act in a similar way to drugs that mimic the hormone, granting the man enough relief from his restless legs to allow him a full night’s sleep.

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