You’re not losing your mind. Brain fog is real. Studies have found that memory function and estrogen levels are closely related — as in when a woman’s estrogen (specifically estradiol) drops, so does her cognitive function.
Is this normal?
Totally. Wait, what were we talking about? Seriously, though– brain fog is reported by many, many menopausal women. (And maybe the rest of them just forgot?!)
What can you do?
Brain fog improves once our hormones settle down. But until then, a healthy diet, sleep and exercise are key to keeping your brain synapses firing. So is managing your hormones.
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What should I know about brain fog during menopause?
Feeling forgetful? Finding it hard to focus? If you’re on the wild roller coaster that is perimenopause, chances are you’re experiencing brain fog.
Basically, it’s what it sounds like, and it can manifest in a few different ways. You may find yourself forgetting things more than usual. Picture leaving your wallet at home or not being able to find your keys slightly more often than you’re used to. Or, it can feel like a more general fog in your brain that makes things feel heavy, and makes it hard to concentrate at work and even in daily conversation.
It can range from mild to really bad. True story: A 50-something woman’s forgetfulness was so severe, she was diagnosed by a doctor with Alzheimer’s. When she sought a second opinion and was screened for menopause, her diagnosis changed to menopausal brain fog.
Why is this happening?
Estrogen and progesterone are closely related to cognitive function. As these hormones fluctuate and decrease, so can cognitive abilities, and women may have issues with their attention spans, motor function, and verbal recall in addition to the memory stuff.
Is it normal?
Yes, it’s normal. 40% of women in menopause feel forgetful, and brain fog is reported by 40-66% of menopausal women.
This stinks. What can I do about it?
The good news is that brain fog is usually self-limiting. Once your hormones settle down, it should improve. While you’re waiting for that, though, it can be really unsettling. Here are some things to do to help yourself:
- Eat a healthy diet, one that’s high in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and omega-3 fatty acids and other healthy fats
- Exercise. We like a mix of cardio and strength training, but to be honest, what you do isn’t as important as the fact that you’re doing something. Find a workout you like, and try to stick with it.
- Get plenty of rest
Managing your hormones also may help. Food for thought: The woman we mentioned earlier who was falsely diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and started taking estrogen and balancing her hormones. Once her treatment kicked in, her symptoms went away. Check out Alloy's estrogen treatments in our product page.