*I am not a doctor and do not play one on TV so I am not disseminating medical advice. If you are experiencing disconcerting symptoms of menopause or any other medical issue, please see your doctor.
There was a time when I didn’t know what brain fog was. I could fetch names from my memory and stay focused on a task. Then one day, roughly 10 years ago, I can recall an unnerving event. I sat in a friend’s living room and tried to tell a funny story that had happened to me that day. I couldn’t recall names or details and the whole thing was so scattered that I just knew I was in the early stages of dementia.
As we sat and talked, I grew more and more embarrassed at my inability to relay the simple story of my day. These dear friends had known me for 20+ years. They’d known me in my B.C. era. You know, ‘before children’. You remember those days, right? Those were the times of indulging in intelligent conversations about important topics.
As a ‘historically brainy’ (that’s read as ‘nerdy’) person, this whole scenario was scary and frustrating. At the time I was incredibly self conscious at my duh-headedness, and didn’t understand what was happening to me.
What I didn’t know then was that I was also entering the ‘other side’ of menopause, meaning I was no longer ‘cycling’. While a glorious thing to be sure, my thyroid was also on the fritz and I was actively working to find a decent doctor to fix that issue as well.
It was a perfect storm.
And yet I didn’t connect all the dots as to what was going on with me.
All these multiple issues were making my body nutty. And yet, I had no idea all these things were related. I would fix one spinning plate only to have another one begin to topple. What I discovered was that all these things stemmed from just one issue.
Did you know that up to 60% of us menopausal women have issues with brain fog?
Ladies, I am here to offer you solace and encouragement because…….
You’re not crazy!!
What are the symptoms of brain fog?
The most noticeable characteristic of menopausal brain fog for me was the inability to remember names of people I’ve known forever. Luckily, since CoviD has kept us and not seeing faces as often, this one issue may have been masked for a while. No pun intended. Other symptoms include:
- lack of memory
- lack of focus
- lack of alertness
Here’s a little shot in the arm for you. Hormones just wreak havoc on everything when they decide to misbehave! But, we belong to a sisterhood of menopausal mamas who can lean on each other for support.
What causes brain fog?
Several research studies state that hormone fluctuations seem to be the root cause of menopausal brain fog. Again, just to recap, in midlife, progesterone levels begin to decline first, causing an imbalance with estrogen. Then estrogen jumps on the slide as well and also plummets. Unfortunately, the decline of hormone levels isn’t always just straight downhill. The road can travel uphill and downhill for a while.
The end result of this menopausal roller coaster can be lots of other symptoms as well, like hot flashes and insomnia, and my personal favorite, belly bloat.
How can I clear my foggy brain?
Let me just say, that once I started taking HRT, my brain fog lifted virtually completely. Now, I am still in a state of tweaking my dosage of each hormone, and that may be my lot in life for a while. While occasionally I will search for names, it’s so much better than it was.
However, hormone therapy isn’t for everyone. There are plenty of other avenues that may lead to relief from your ‘fog’. Don’t hesitate to see your doctor who will dig to find solutions.In order to truly navigate your own body chemistry, a functional doctor might be the right choice. You can read about my own story here.
As you’re figuring it all out, there are ways to correct your eating and sleeping to shorten the whole process.
- Take a good probiotic supplement
- Drink plenty of water
- Lower your stress
- Make adequate sleep your priority
- Focus on nutrition
- Keep you schedule consistent
Hang in there, dear ones! Though you may be weary of hearing this somewhat trite saying as we emerge from our CoviD cloud, but “We’re all in this together!” Grab your sister friends and enjoy some ‘girl therapy’ sitting on the back porch.