Resources / Brain fog in menopause: causes, symptoms & treatment

Brain fog in menopause: causes, symptoms & treatment

“Brain fog” is a common symptom in menopause and is used to describe the cognitive impairment that can happen in this period of life. Many women report feeling as if their mind is like “cotton wool”, and being increasingly forgetful with difficulty concentrating.

Brain fog can be a stressful symptom, with varying degrees of severity for different women; some being so badly affected by their symptoms that they believe they are experiencing the onset of dementia. The correct diagnosis and treatment can greatly relieve anxiety and improve symptoms.

Why does brain fog happen in menopause?

The hormones estrogen and testosterone are important for normal cognitive functioning, and especially memory. Estrogen stimulates the brain by keeping neurons firing, helping cells to form new connections, and supporting the growth of new cells, while testosterone has an important role in mental clarity and memory, as well as maintenance of general energy levels.

When the body’s production of estrogen and testosterone declines in menopause, overall brain energy levels are reduced, affecting thought and memory,. This results in a number of diverse symptoms, including brain fog. It can also increase feelings of anxiety and cause low mood and depression.

Menopausal brain fog symptoms

As with all menopause symptoms, every woman’s experience of brain fog is different. The most common indications of menopausal brain fog include:

  • Difficulty with concentration
  • Problems with memory, including verbal memory
  • Loss of train of thought
  • Confusion

How long does brain fog in menopause last?

So, is brain fog permanent? The good news is that for most women brain fog goes away after hormones level out post-menopause. However, there is no set time frame for this, and some women report experiencing brain fog for many years. Fortunately, there is much that can be done to alleviate brain fog and improve cognitive function overall.

What can be done to improve brain fog?

Several factors are known to make brain fog worse, including poor sleep, stress, and anxiety, so addressing these can help.

Other things that may help include:

  • Avoiding blood sugar spikes

To function properly, the brain needs steady blood glucose levels. Consuming sugary foods leads to spikes followed by dramatic falls in blood sugar, which may make brain fog worse.

  • A “brain-friendly” diet

A wholefood diet rich in wholegrains, nuts and seeds, eggs and oily fish provides Omega 3 and Omega 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids that are important for brain health, as are antioxidants found in coloured fruits and vegetables.

  • Exercising regularly

Regular exercise is also important for brain functioning as well as for physical and mental health. Not only does regular exercise guard against cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis, but it can also reduce stress and anxiety and improve sleep. A mixture of moderate aerobic and strength training at least three times a week is recommended.

  • Improving sleep habits

Poor sleep exacerbates cognitive impairment. Menopause is often associated with sleep difficulty for a number of reasons: hot flushes and night sweats make it challenging to get to and stay asleep, and it’s common for many women to wake up, sometimes several times a night to urinate, severely disrupting sleep. Measures to address these, as well as establishing a regular sleep schedule, staying off electronic devices immediately prior to going to sleep, and consuming less caffeine may all help.

  • Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)

Replacing the hormones no longer being produced by the ovaries with HRT provides relief from most menopausal symptoms, including brain fog. HRT has also been shown to be associated with improvements in mood, cognitive function, and memory loss when started early in menopause.

Specialist support for menopausal brain fog

Dealing with symptoms like brain fog and loss of memory on your own can be stressful. At NewWoman Health, our experienced menopause physicians can help you understand your symptoms and manage them appropriately. Whether you’re peri- or post-menopausal, we will give you a tailored treatment plan based on your individual medical needs and lifestyle.

Book your consultation today to maximise your quality of life during the menopause transition.


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You are not alone. As a local example, in Manchester over 46% of council employees are female and over 40 years old. In a CIPD survey (2019) over 30% of women said they were unable to work because of menopausal symptoms.

Only 25% said they could tell their manager the real reason for their absence. The Council account for nearly 7% of all employment in Manchester. They implemented a new Menopause policy in March 2022. CIPD survey | Manchester Council Menopause Policy | CIPD Manchester

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