Menopause and brain fog

Is there anything more discombobulating than when your brain feels more like mush rather than the sharp and useful tool you’ve been used to? You are not the only one struggling when your mind goes blank mid-sentence, you forget what you’ve come into a room for or lost focus during a particularly tough task at work.

Brain fog is very real during the menopause journey and it is surprisingly more common than you’d think in the earlier stages of menopause.

BRAIN FOG DEFINITION

Brain fog is the popular name for many cognitive symptoms during menopause, including forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating, inability to think clearly or problem solve, and confusion.

It’s sometimes also described as mental fatigue. It can interfere with work and your daily life depending on its severity. It can feel devastating but it’s not necessarily a permanent fixture in your life and typically gets better as you progress through menopause.

If you are spending your days frustrated about your menopause symptoms… download Stella.

HOW LIKELY IS BRAIN FOG DURING MENOPAUSE?

  • Brain fog tends to happen most during perimenopause and within the first year after your periods stop
  • Other research has shown that women within 12 months of menopause scored the lowest on memory, attention, verbal learning and motor function tests compared to women in late reproductive and late menopausal transition stages
  • Some research has found that other menopausal symptoms, such as hot flushes and sleep problems can affect cognitive function

Read more about the stages of menopause.

Signs of brain fog

Memory issues

Lack of mental clarity

Poor concentration

Inability to focus

HOW CAN YOU MINIMALISE BRAIN FOG?

1. Regular exercise

2. Healthy diet (especially a Mediterranean diet)

3. Learning something new – a new language, puzzles, crosswords, reading, etc

4. Good quality sleep

5. Reduce stress

Brain fog and menopause

Declining levels of oestrogen and progesterone are also responsible for cognition. Their fluctuations during perimenopause are partly responsible for brain fog symptoms.

Also, stress, tiredness (from poor sleep which is also a problem during the menopause journey), poor diet and lack of exercise can affect your cognition.

Memory issues and brain fog during menopause are common, especially if you’re forgetting where you’ve put your mobile phone or glasses, or even a colleague’s name!

It’s a good idea to talk to your doctor if your brain fog starts to negatively affect your daily life or you are worried about your symptoms.

Focusing on my diet and foods that help the brain has helped me a great deal.”

Lisa

DISCOVER MORE

Why your brain is failing you and when to get worried. Read more

My perimenopause brain left me fearing I had Alzheimer’s. Read more

How lockdown loneliness spurred me to compete in Masterchef. Read more

WHAT BRAIN FOG RELIEF IS AVAILABLE?

Download Stella for personalised cognitive behaviour therapy for managing symptoms during menopause

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https://www.healthline.com/health/brain-fog {acessed 21/01/2021}

https://gen-m.com/symptoms/brain-fog/ {accessed 21/01/2021}

Weber MT, Rubin LH, Maki PM. Cognition in perimenopause: the effect of transition stage. Menopause. 2013;20(5):511-517. doi:10.1097/gme.0b013e31827655e5

Thurston, Rebecca C. PhD Cognition and the menopausal transition: is perception reality?, Menopause: December 2013 – Volume 20 – Issue 12 – p 1231-1232 doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000000137

https://www.healthline.com/health/menopause/menopause-brain-fog {accessed 21/01/2021}