Managing brain fog in menopause

Managing brain fog in menopause

You know those days when everything seems too hard, and you struggle to focus or string a coherent sentence together? Concentrating at work or even on your favourite TV show at night may be difficult. You may forget where you left things or your co-worker's name when you’re introducing them—things you are usually very familiar with.

This confusion and ‘fogginess’ may also now be a daily occurrence, which is no doubt beginning to frustrate you.

If you’re in the 40+ age group, you might be experiencing menopausal-linked brain fog. After all, it can affect up to two-thirds of us.


What is menopause brain fog?

Brain fog is a very common perimenopause and menopause symptom, and it can be extremley frustrating, even a bit unsettling. For some women, the combination of ageing and ongoing forgetfulness, or ‘cotton wool’ brain, can feel like the onset of early dementia, especially if there is a family history.

Estrogen is the hormone associated with brain fog. During peri/menopause, it fluctuates, which research has shown then affects our cognitive function. Our cognitive function is the term for all the wonderful things our brain does for us—giving us our memory, focus, problem-solving and learning abilities.

Plus, if we don't get enough good-quality sleep, itself a recognised symptom, our chances of feeling foggy the next day, are greater. If you suffer from frequent night sweats and other sleep issues, get these under control first, and you might begin to see improvements. 


How can I keep brain fog to a minimum?

1. Rest, rest, rest

If we aren't sleeping well, we may feel tired, irritable, foggy, anxious, and low in mood. Getting enough rest promotes brain cell redevelopment to stay sharp and remember information the following day. It also allows you to concentrate, be creative, and control your emotions. Not a great sleeper? Taking some quiet time to let our minds reset before bed can be beneficial. You can read more about improving your sleep here.

2. Exercise your brain

Keeping our minds active is just as important as our bodies! Play board games, read a book, do a crossword or a puzzle, join a club, or undertake some online learning—introducing new concepts that get our brains thinking in different ways via repetition helps to keep us alert and use our memory.

And keeping our bodies physically active, too, is recommended. However that looks for you—a short walk around the block or a 10km hike—get on your trainers and go for it! 

3. Be kind to yourself 

A little patience and grace as you navigate this symptom will work in your favour. Putting pressure on yourself to ‘get things right’ and berating yourself during a forgetful moment will only harm your self-esteem and worsen your symptoms.

Instead, focus on your self-care routines, and if it helps, find a trusted person to share your worries with—be that a friend or a counsellor.

4. Stress less 

It may be easier said than done, but avoiding high-pressure situations can help with brain fog. Plenty of studies show severe bouts of fogginess happen during times of chronic stress because the part of our brain responsible for memory and problem-solving hits pause.

If you are employed and part of a forward-thinking workplace, there may be access to menopause leave or additional support while you navigate brain fog. A trusted manager or HR person you can talk to may be able to offer some solutions to difficulties you’re temporarily facing in your role.

5. Nourish your body

Foods that increase brainpower and aid memory include nuts, leafy greens, berries, fatty fish rich in Omega-3 (like tuna or salmon) and even the odd cup of coffee! Adding some of these to your diet on a regular basis can make a noticeable improvement. 

Taking a supplement with Bacopa - backed by clinical science, this nootropic herb that has long been revered for its ability to improve memory and support brain function can be found in our cognitive aid - Focus.


It's important to rememeber changes to our bodies and our minds during the perimenopause and menopause transition are normal. But if you are concerned or something just isn’t feeling right, please see your doctor or women’s health specialist. They can talk to you about your concerns, rule out any other underlying health problems, and provide tailored advice and treatments to get you feeling like yourself again.

Only you know yourself best.



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