Masturbation can ease restless leg syndrome

Updated: Apr 01, 2011, 00:00 AM IST

Washington: A study has suggested that masturbation can be beneficial clinically, as it can help give relief from restless leg syndrome (RLS).

Around 7 to 10 percent of people in the US and Europe suffer from RLS, which is a distressing neurologic disorder characterised by an urge to move the legs, New Scientist reported.

Those suffering from it usually feel unpleasant sensations in the lower limbs such as tingling, aching and itching.

The exact cause for RSL has not been identified, but brain autopsies and imaging studies suggest one contributing factor is an imbalance of dopamine, a hormone.

Though drugs that increase dopamine reduces RLS when taken at bedtime, a 41-year-old man with the condition, found complete relief after masturbation or sex.

The authors of the report, Luis Marin and colleagues at the Federal University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, 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.

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 in question enough relief from his restless legs to allow him a full night’s sleep.

The findings have been reported in Sleep Science.