uu.seUppsala University Publications
Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
When gender matters : Restless legs syndrome: Report of the "RLS and woman" workshop endorsed by the European RLS Study Group
Show others and affiliations
2012 (English)In: Sleep Medicine Reviews, ISSN 1087-0792, E-ISSN 1532-2955, Vol. 16, no 4, 297-307 p.Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Sleep is an essential human behavior that shows prominent gender differences. Disturbed sleep, in particular, is much more prevalent in females than males. Restless legs syndrome (RLS) as one cause of disturbed sleep was observed to be somewhat more common among women than men in Ekbom's 1945 seminal series of clinical cases with the disease. He, however, reported this gender difference mainly for those with more severe symptoms. Since then numerous studies have reported that women are affected by RLS about twice as often as males for mild as well as moderate to severe RLS. The present review focuses on RLS in females from the perspectives of both epidemiology and pathophysiology. RLS will generally become worse or might appear for the first time during pregnancy. Parity increases the risk of RLS later in life suggesting that pregnancy is a specific behavioral risk factor for developing RLS. Some evidence suggests that dysfunction in iron metabolism and high estrogen levels might contribute to RLS during pregnancy. But, menopause does not lower the incidence of RLS nor does hormone replacement therapy lead to an increase, suggesting a quite complex uncertain role of hormones in the pathophysiology of RLS. Therefore, further, preferably longitudinal studies are needed to unravel the factors causing RLS in women. These studies should include genetic, clinical and polysomnographic variables, as well as hormonal measures and variables assessing iron metabolism.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 16, no 4, 297-307 p.
Keyword [en]
Restless legs syndrome, Gender, Female, Sleep, Insomnia, Pregnancy, Estrogens, Menopause, Quality of life
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-178184DOI: 10.1016/j.smrv.2011.08.006ISI: 000306096700003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-178184DiVA: diva2:542286
Available from: 2012-07-31 Created: 2012-07-30 Last updated: 2012-07-31Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Other links

Publisher's full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Wesström, Jan
By organisation
Obstetrics and Gynaecology
In the same journal
Sleep Medicine Reviews
Medical and Health Sciences

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Altmetric score

Total: 188 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link