Fuzzy Thinking, Meno-Brain, Brain Fog . . . What is really happening here?

career mental health midlife athlete Mar 01, 2022

When it comes to topics related to menopause one of the top symptoms you’ll see over and over is Brain Fog, sometimes referred to as fuzzy or fogging thinking, or Meno-Brain.

Brain fog is often associated with a feeling of forgetfulness or struggling to concentrate.

Not so fun fact: Over 60% of midlife women report having a difficult time concentrating or struggling with simple cognitive actions.

The problem is brain fog can seriously affect the quality of your life. If you are forgetting details like meetings, appointments, or ideas it can affect your work life and home life.

I know for me personally I was forgetting school events, sports schedules, project due dates, even if I had paid my electric bill or not. There were some days that I would struggle with common language, forgetting simple words or stopping mid sentence because I forget what I was talking about!

Talk about embarrassing!

So if you’re struggling I promise you are not alone and you are not going crazy!!

It’s common for women going through perimenopause to struggle with issues related to mental clarity and brain fog.

So let’s talk about this . . .

Brain fog or fuzzy/fogging thinking happens when your hormones begin to shift. Changes in your estrogen and progesterone levels can affect your cognition (mental) abilities.

The good news is there are some simple little tweaks that can help you with meno-brain, however if you start to notice that it goes beyond where you placed your phone or your neighbor’s first name you may want to talk to your doctor to make sure there isn’t more going on!

  • Start with your Nutrition: Eating a well balanced diet is one way to help your brain and heart health. Think lots of healthy fats (olive oil, avocados) and omega-3 fatty acids (like fish), whole grains and yummy fresh fruits (berries are best for brain health) and vegetables, beans, and nuts.
  • Movement: Exercise is a great way to minimize a lot of menopause symptoms including brain fog. Other great movement options besides cardio and strength training include yoga and mediation. Mediation is a great way to relax and clear your head. Having a clear head is going to help when it comes to struggles associated with brain function.
  • Don’t forget the power of a good night’s sleep. Your sleep quality can affect your fuzzy thinking. Limit stimulants that may be affecting your sleep like caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods, or large meals before bed.
  • Stress Reduction is also a great way to help combat brain fog and reduce feelings of anxiety (which can also create fuzzing thinking).
  • Don’t forget to address gut health. Hormones and mental clarity issues are connected to the bacterial makeup in your gut. In menopause, your gut flora changes, decreasing the amount of good bacteria and changing the dynamics in your gut. Adding a probiotic may help not only your gut health but also your brain health.

Other ways you can do reduce the effects of brain fog include:

  • Making sure you are using a calendar or scheduling important events/meetings/appointment reminders on your phone or in a daily planner
  • Never understatement the power of Post It Notes!!
  • Crossword puzzles, Sudoku, Chess keep your brain sharp

While Brain Fog may be a common menopause symptom it doesn’t mean you can’t do things to decrease the effects it has on you and the quality of your day to day life.

Proper nutrition, prioritizing sleep, moving your body, and exercising your brain can help with your symptoms.

If your brain fog gets worse, make an appointment with your doctor to rule out other health issues or to ask about hormone treatments for menopause. Other issues that may be causing brain fog issues can include thyroid health and current medications. So don’t be embarrassed, feel confident opening up that dialogue.

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