In the spirit of March Madness (no, we don’t mean college basketball… we mean it in the context of menopause) we’re discussing menopause brain fog.
Whatever you call may call it:
- Menopause madness
- That awkward moment when you aren’t sure if you actually have free time... or you’re just forgetting everything
Menopause brain fog is a real thing! If you’ve experienced it, you’re not alone (we know we say that a lot, but it’s true). Forgetting things all the time and not being able to focus can be super frustrating, and we certainly don’t blame you for feeling so.
We just hope that reading this article about the ins and outs of menopause brain fog — paired with some tools to deal with it — can help you feel even just a teeny bit more sane and relaxed. And perhaps give you a few minutes to laugh at yourself a little.
Wait... isn’t forgetfulness just part of aging?
First off, what is menopause brain fog? For many women, menopause brain fog is described as forgetfulness or silly mix-ups. Some examples might include:
- Walking into a room and forgetting why you went there in the first place
- Forgetting your child’s best friend’s name even though you’ve known them for years
- Taking longer to explain something you know like the back of your hand
- Forgetting where you left your keys (although, this one seems to be a life-long issue)
While it’s true that cognitive performance does typically worsen with age, perimenopause + menopause have unique roles in your mental clarity. So if your menopause “forgetfulness” seemed to happen overnight (right around the time of perimenopause), here’s why.
At the point of perimenopause + menopause, your estrogen levels begin to decrease, eventually resulting in much lower levels. This decrease in estrogen plays a huge role in brain fog because estrogen acts as a neuroprotective. In other words, it protects your nerve cells against damage, helps direct blood to certain parts of your brain, works to boost your immune system, and promotes new nerve connections.
So when an important hormone like estrogen takes this massive hit during menopause, it’s no surprise that sparks brain fog (and so many other things). Studies have revealed that up to 82% of women experience brain fog (memory + mental clarity) during perimenopause and menopause.
On top of that, menopause mood swings, anxiety + depression, and sleepless nights don’t exactly promote cognitive health either. When you’re feeling frustrated by your bad memory, focus, and concentration, just remember to give yourself grace! Menopause is a huge transition, and forgetting a few things is not the end of the world.
When does menopause brain fog end?
Although further research is necessary to fully understand the relationship between estrogen and brain function, many menopausal women report improvements in cognitive performance post-menopause. But the “end date” of this phase is different for everyone.
As a side note, many women fear that menopause brain fog is an indicator of dementia. Don’t worry, that’s not usually the case. The key difference between brain fog and the early stages of dementia is that dementia usually affects more than memory. It also affects your ability to complete everyday functions. For example:
- Have you randomly stopped doing your everyday chores around the house — without intentionally deciding to do so?
- Have you forgotten what your keys are for rather than forgetting where your keys are?
Things like this *can* be reasons to reach out to your healthcare provider to talk about your cognitive health (without panicking!).
What can you do to help your brain fog?
Contrary to popular belief, brain fog is not inevitable. Many women will never even experience it, and if you do… don’t worry. Your lifestyle can play a huge role in preventing + mitigating it.
In other words, there’s hope! Here are a few easy tips to help you prepare and deal with menopause brain fog.
Take note of specific things that make you feel forgetful.
This might seem obvious, but it can be easy to ignore certain themes and patterns that make you forget things. For example, it’s common to forget what’s going on around you when you feel angry.
If you notice this happening to you (or something similar), consider writing down what happened, your resulting emotion, and its effect on your mental clarity.
If you rush through the motions of your day without actually registering what you’re doing, you can fool yourself into thinking you’re forgetting something — when really, you never actually stored it in your conscious mind. This is where mindfulness comes in, and it has tons of amazing benefits.
Mindfulness is all about fully existing in the present moment — taking in the sights, smells, sounds, emotions, etc. of the present moment without judgment or distraction.
We’ve mentioned this before, but simple mindful activities like deep breathing, meditating, and gratitude journaling can help you gain clarity, focus better, and relieve stress. We encourage you to do a little bit of exploring to find your own favorite mindful activities! But at the very least, practice doing your everyday activities with consciousness and intention.
Evaluate + adjust your lifestyle.
This should be no surprise, but your lifestyle is really what dictates your menopause experience (along with genetics) — and this applies to menopause brain fog too. Here are some lifestyle factors you can start to implement immediately:
- Establish healthy habits in terms of diet and exercise. Visit our Menopause FAQ and Menopause Diet Advice for more incremental, achievable diet + exercise advice.
- Engage in social activities no matter your age. Whether in person or on Zoom, making time to be social can drastically improve your cognitive health.
- Make time to relax and reduce stress. Some researchers have found that people who participate in leisurely activities are less likely to develop dementia.
- Learn new skills continuously. Don’t use your age as an excuse to stop learning new skills! You should never stop challenging your brain. Consider taking up a new hobby that’s been on your mind.
- Use products that help to balance your hormones on a regular basis. Our menopause relief products include wild yam, which can help to balance your hormones and relieve all kinds of menopause-related annoyances.
Consider these suggestions as an excuse to indulge in some self-care. You deserve it!
Embrace menopause madness.
March feels like an easy month to embrace menopause madness, but we want to encourage you to embrace it all the time. After all, menopause is an inevitable phase of life, and life is meant to be enjoyed.
The best way to do this is to…. hold onto your sense of humor, especially during menopause! Don’t worry, we’re here struggling and laughing through this crazy phase with you — with the help of our menopause relief products, of course.
P.S. Happy (belated) St. Patrick’s Day! You still have time to walk around saying, “Kiss me, I’m menopausal.” We’ll probably be doing that for a few more months...