Menopause and brain fog
Is there anything more discombobulating than menopause and brain fog, 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 in menopause forgetting words, or why you’ve come into a room or lost focus during a particularly tough task at work.
Menopause and mental confusion is very real 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.
Start your free online menopause assessment to see if HRT is right for you
HOW LIKELY IS BRAIN FOG?
- 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 those 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
Lack of mental clarity
Inability to focus
HOW CAN YOU EASE BRAIN FOG SYMPTOMS?
1. Regular exercise – aim for 75 minutes of intensive or 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week
2. Healthy diet (especially a Mediterranean diet)
3. Learning something new – an instrument, a language, puzzles, crosswords or reading, can help boost brain health
4. Good quality sleep set regular bed and wake times
5. Reduce stress – try mindfulness or yoga
WOULD HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY (HRT) HELP?
While HRT is highly effective for many symptoms of menopause, current research about its effect on brain fog and other cognitive symptoms is mixed and seems to show little benefit. HRT is therefore currently not started as a treatment for brain fog alone, but you may find it useful if you are struggling with other symptoms, especially if these are impacting on your concentration.
HRT isn’t suitable for everyone, read more about the HRT debate.
BRAIN FOG AND MENOPAUSE
Focusing on my diet and foods that help the brain has helped me a great deal.”