Smart Strategies Against Menopause Brain Fog

Finding effective strategies against menopause brain fog can be challenging. However, with a few lifestyle changes, you can effectively manage this frustrating menopausal symptom. The good news is that brain fog is thankfully temporary and will eventually disappear once the hormonal chaos has settled.

How Common is Menopause Brain Fog?

While not every woman experiences brain fog, medical sources mention that around 60% of women between the ages of 45 and 55 may suffer from this symptom. It’s not just a case of forgetting where you placed your keys (which can happen at any age…I was especially good at it already at the age of 25), but rather, periods of forgetfulness so severe that many women fear it is early-onset dementia.

Woman looking for her keys in her bag

I’m sure I had my keys with me.

If these foggy periods coincide with hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms, they are likely associated with “the change of life,” as menopause was once called. (Does anyone still use that term? Life seems to change nearly every week!)

Why Does Menopause Brain Fog Happen?

Our brains thrive on the hormone estrogen, which helps maintain memory, focus, and clear thinking. Unfortunately, the estrogen dip that occurs during perimenopause (the years leading up to menopause) and menopause itself throws brain chemistry off balance, causing those foggy feelings.

Other potential culprits behind menopausal brain fog include:

Sleep Troubles:
Hot flashes and night sweats can make it super hard to get a good night’s rest, and poor sleep makes it difficult to think straight at any age.
Stress and Mood Swings:
Menopause can be an emotionally bumpy time, and high stress levels don’t help with mental focus.
Other Health Concerns:
Conditions like thyroid issues or vitamin deficiencies can exacerbate brain fog.

Lifting light weights

Some healthy lifestyle changes help

Good News: Lifestyle Changes Can Help!

While some brain fog tends to improve as hormones find their new balance after menopause, there are plenty of things you can do right now to give your brain a helping hand.

Woman having a restful sleep

Make sleep a priority

Get Enough Sleep

Make sleep a top priority. Aim for 7-8 hours a night, keep a regular sleep schedule, and make your bedroom a cool and relaxing haven.

Exercise Regularly

Exercise is amazing for your brain! It gets the blood flowing, bringing oxygen and nutrients to your brain. It can improve mood, and it helps you sleep better – all of which can combat brain fog.

Eat for Brain Health

The old saying “you are what you eat” is especially true when it comes to brain health. Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet can help to improve cognitive function and reduce your risk of annoying brain fog.

  • Focus on whole foods: Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and nuts are all packed with nutrients that are essential for brain health.
  • Include plenty of foods with omega-3 fatty acids: They are essential for cognitive function. They can be found in flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and vegan DHA supplements.
  • Get enough vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 is important for memory and focus. It can be found in fortified plant milks and cereals, and B12 supplements (a must for plant-based diets).
  • Limit processed foods, sugar, and unhealthy fats: These foods can contribute to inflammation in the body, which can impair brain function.
  • Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water is important for overall health, including brain health. Studies have shown that cognitive abilities such as short-term memory, numerical ability, and attention span diminish in those who are not fully hydrated. Mood disturbances can also occur.

 

  • fresh fruit and vegetables

    Eat unprocessed foods

Other Helpful Strategies

Take a Break:
Don’t push yourself too hard when you’re feeling cloudy. Take short breaks, focus on one task at a time, and practice giving yourself a dose of compassion.

Keep Your Mind Sharp:

  • Challenge your brain with puzzles, learn a new language or skill, or try a new creative hobby. Mental workouts keep things running smoothly!
  • Crossword puzzles and Sudoku: These classic games help with short-term memory and focus.
  • Learning a new language: This challenging activity can help improve cognitive function and memory.
  • Playing brain training games: There are many apps and online games that can help keep your mind sharp.
  • Taking up a new hobby: Learning a new skill, such as playing a musical instrument or painting, can be a great way to challenge your brain and improve cognitive function.

 

Supplements

Can supplements help?

Consider Supplements (But Talk to Your Doctor First)

Some supplements might help with menopausal brain fog, but it’s important to consult your doctor, as some can interact with medications and aren’t suitable for everyone.

Here’s the scoop on a few potential supplements:

Omega-3s:
These essential fatty acids are like premium fuel for your brain, helping to maintain cognitive function and clear the mist of menopausal brain fog. Choose walnuts, flaxmeal and chia seeds.

Vitamin B12:
Besides severe health isues, a deficiency can also affect thinking. Supplementing can help if your dietary intake is low. And if you’re eating a 100% plant based diet, B12 supplementation is essential.

Phytoestrogens:
These plant-based compounds act like a gentle nod to estrogen in the body. While they’re known to weakly mimic estrogen, their overall benefit for brain fog is still being studied. More research is needed to determine their effectiveness.

Adaptogenic Herbs:
Adaptogens are a unique group of herbal ingredients used to treat the health of our adrenal system, which manages the body’s hormonal response to stress. It’s said that adaptogens help strengthen the body’s response to stress and enhance its ability to cope with anxiety and fatigue – but slowly and gently, without those unplesant spikes or crashes.

They’re called adaptogens because of their unusual ability to “adapt” their function according to your body’s specific needs. However, we don’t have too many human studies on their effectiveness for menopausal symptoms, although many women find these herbs helpful, especially for brain fog and improved mood.

For instance:

Ashwagandha:
Known for its stress-relieving properties, it may also help improve cognitive function.
Holy Basil:
This herb is said to improve mental clarity and lower stress levels.

A Note About Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)

Hormone Replacement Therapy can be a game-changer for some women in managing menopausal symptoms, including fogginess. It’s important to have a detailed conversation with your doctor about all the potential risks and benefits when considering HRT.

See Your Doctor 🧑‍⚕️🩺

If brain fog is making your life difficult, don’t hesitate to chat about it with your doctor. They may want to rule out other health problems that can sometimes look like menopause brain fog.

In Closing

While menopausal brain fog can be frustrating, for many, it’s just a phase that passes as the body adjusts to new hormonal levels. With patience and a proactive approach, you can navigate through it. Embrace the changes, prioritize your self-care, and trust that the fog will eventually lift. 😍

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