Brain fog is one of those elusive symptoms of menopause. It is not a medical condition, but a symptom of something else. There are several reasons that it is more common in menopausal women.
What is brain fog?
Brain fog describes a number of different symptoms. You may feel confused, have trouble remembering things, or have trouble planning, solving problems, or organizing things. You may have trouble saying what you want.
What causes brain fog?
There are many reasons that brain fog may occur. Here is a list of the most common:
- A medical condition like multiple sclerosis, hypothyroidism, fibomyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.
- Hormonal changes that occur during menopause, pregnancy and monthly cycles
- Stress and depression
- Iron deficiency anemia
- Lack of sleep
- Some medications
- Poor nutrition
Why is brain fog common in menopausal women?
There are several reasons that brain fog is common in menopausal women.
- Falling estrogen levels can affect your memory and the parts of your brain that help with things like organization.
- Anxiety is a common symptom of menopause and this can lead to trouble concentrating and trouble sleeping
- Poor sleep has an effect on cognitive function. Drugs, both prescribed and over the counter, that are used to treat poor sleep can cause brain fog and even have been associated with dementia and mild cognitive impairment.
- Iron deficiency anemia is common in women during perimenopause. When your iron levels are low there is not enough oxygen in your blood and your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen.
- Symptoms like hot flashes can be distracting leading to some of the symptoms of brain fog
- Menopausal women are more likely to be diagnosed with a chronic disease. Brain fog is a symptom of several chronic conditions and also a side effect of several medications
How can you reduce brain fog?
If you are concerned with the symptoms of brain fog, check with your doctor to rule out a serious medical condition. You can also try some of these ideas to reduce brain fog:
- Try a stress reduction technique like meditation. This can help to reduce anxiety, improve sleep and also can improve focus.
- Exercise can help to improve brain function by increasing blood flow to the brain. This can help to increase memory and the ability to learn and process information. Exercise also helps to reduce anxiety, improve sleep and reduce inflammation, all of which can contribute to brain fog.
- Check your diet. If you are trying a low carb diet this may be contributing to brain fog since the brain is not getting the carbohydrate fuel it needs. On the other hand too much sugar and refined carbohydrates can lead to increased inflammation and blood sugar imbalances which can contribute to brain fog.
- Drink enough water. Poor hydration is important for mental clarity.
- Check you medications to see if the side effects are related to brain fog (or ask your pharmacist).
- Get more sleep. But make sure you use a natural method to improve your sleep.
Brain fog is one of those symptoms of menopause that might seem like it is all in your head. But there are physiological reasons for brain fog so it shouldn’t be ignored.