Feeling forgetful, unfocused, or generally cloudy? Perimenopause might be to blame.
Maybe you keep losing your train of thought in conversation; maybe you keep misplacing items; maybe you’re losing focus during the work day. Brain fog is a real and frustrating, irritating cloudiness of the brain, and
perimenopause can be to blame.
Perimenopause brain fog is brain fog that sets in as you’re transitioning to menopause. For many women, this happens in their late 30s to early 40s, and can last several years. So, is there any hope for getting through the haze? Yes! Here’s what you need to know about perimenopause brain fog and how to navigate it.
What is brain fog?
“Brain fog” is what it sounds like: a mental haze, or when your thinking feels cloudy. More technically, it’s a term used to describe a set of cognitive symptoms that affect your ability to think.
Brain fog might manifest as you feeling forgetful, having difficulty concentration, or just feeling mentally sluggish. It can be incredibly frustrating, confusing, and disorienting.
There are tons of reasons you might have brain fog, whether it’s lifestyle factors like lack of sleep or stress, medical conditions like diabetes, or hormonal changes, including perimenopause.
Perimenopause and brain fog
Perimenopause and brain fog are linked due to the hormonal changes that come with perimenopause: a decrease in estrogen and progesterone.
>>MORE: What Are Normal Estrogen Levels (And How Do I Measure Mine)?
Estrogen and progesterone play a key role in regulating your body’s various functions, including those related to your cognition. For example,
estrogen plays fundamental part in memory and executive functions. As these hormones fluctuate and decline during perimenopause, it can lead to a disruption in the brain’s neurotransmitter balance and negatively impact your brain to think the way it normally does.
However, it’s not necessarily just your hormones that lead to brain fog. Unfortunately, there are a range of
horrible perimenopause symptoms—like sleep disturbances and increased stress levels—that can also impact your cognitive function.
If you’re navigating perimenopause and brain fog, you’re not alone. Having brain fog during perimenopause is a natural symptom caused often by changes in your hormone levels or from other symptoms of perimenopause.
How long does perimenopause brain fog last?
Perimenopause brain fog can be frustrating, confusing, and even concerning — especially if you’re worried this brain fog is something long-term.
Yes, perimenopause brain fog can last multiple years, but it’s not forever. Like other perimenopause symptoms, these symptoms typically fade during the onset of menopause.
Perimenopause brain fog is irritating, but it shouldn’t interrupt your life and ability to function dramatically. If you’re concerned that losing your focus or forgetfulness is a sign of dementia, speak to your doctor. They can walk you through the signs of dementia and help you understand whether the forgetfulness is a sign of perimenopause brain fog or a more serious brain disease—and give you the support you need.
Perimenopause brain fog treatment
While perimenopause brain fog can come from hormone fluctuations, there’s also a variety of lifestyle factors that can contribute. Perimenopause brain fog treatment therefore consists of lifestyle changes that help decrease stress and boost your overall health.
Strategies for perimenopause brain fog treatment include:
Regular exercise: There’s a strong connection between your body and mind. Studies have shown that exercise not only helps with the health of new brain cells, but can also indirectly help your brain as it improves your mood and sleep. Adequate sleep: You need sleep to ensure your brain works as it should. Unfortunately, perimenopause factors like hot flashes and night sweats can make it more difficult to get the right rest. Focus on relaxation, destressing, and prioritizing a productive nighttime routine. Training your brain: Just like exercising your body can help your brain work better, you can exercise your brain, too! Engage in word games like crosswords and puzzles like sudoku, or use that muscle and encourage yourself to learn something new. Whatever gets your brain working can help train your brain to fight against perimenopause brain fog. Tracking your symptoms: If you’re unsure whether your perimenopause brain fog is coming from hormones or other symptoms, tracking both your hormone levels and your symptoms can give you the insights you need to figure out what’s going on in your body—and to take action. The Oova kit is an at-home, easy, and accurate hormone test that reports your unique hormone levels over time—so you can understand what’s happening, how your symptoms might change as your hormones do, and take action. Perimenopause and brain fog: the bottom line
Perimenopause brain fog can be a frustrating and upsetting symptom to deal with, but it doesn’t last forever—and there are many strategies to help mitigate the cloudiness.
The hormonal fluctuations that come with perimenopause typically are responsible for brain fog, but symptoms of perimenopause like lack of sleep and stress can also be to blame. To navigate brain fog, getting regular exercise, adequate sleep, training your brain, and tracking your symptoms can help.
Remember, every woman's experience with perimenopause is unique, and what works best to manage brain fog may vary from person to person. Be patient with yourself and seek support when needed to make this phase of life as comfortable and manageable as possible.