Written by Dr. Valentina Quintana MD on
February 19, 2022
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Medically Reviewed by our Medical Affairs Team

Written by Dr. Valentina Quintana MD on:

Do you feel like you can’t think straight during your menstruation? You’re not alone. Many women experience brain fog during period.

In this article, we will discuss the causes of brain fog on period, symptoms, and remedies. We will also provide tips on how to reduce the brain fog period.

So, let’s get started!

What exactly is period brain fog?

Period brain fog is a loss of mental clarity or the manifestation of brain fatigue that occurs during your menstrual cycle. It can affect your ability to think, learn, and remember things.

There are two types of mental fog on period: physiological fog and psychological fog. The former refers to the changes in hormone levels, while the latter is often caused by stress and anxiety.

Period brain fog often occurs during premenstrual syndrome (PMS symptoms). It is the physical and emotional symptoms that occur before your menstruation begins.

What are the causes of brain fog during period?

There are many factors that can contribute to mental fog on period. Some of the most common include:

Hormonal changes

As mentioned earlier, hormonal changes are one of the leading causes of mental fog during menstruation. A period brain fog usually occurs when your estrogen and progesterone levels drop. 

Estrogen is a brain chemical that helps regulate brain functions such as mood and memory. It also impacts the neurotransmitters in your brain.

When you have low levels of estrogen, it can affect brain functions and lead to mental fog during periods. Low progesterone levels can also cause similar PMS symptoms like mental fog on period because it can affect brain chemicals.

Stress and anxiety

The mental fog during period is also caused by stress and anxiety. When you’re stressed, it leads to the release of cortisol, a hormone that has an impact on your brain function, such as concentration and memory.

When there’s too much cortisol in your body, it can lead to brain fog during menstruation. Additionally, anxiety can also aggravate mental fog on periods.

Food sensitivities

Another possible cause of brain fog during your periods is food sensitivities. When you eat foods that your body is sensitive to, it can trigger an inflammatory response and affect your brain function.

Some common food sensitivities include gluten, dairy, and soy. If you suspect that food sensitivities are causing your mental fog during menstruation, try eliminating them from your diet for a few weeks to see if there’s any improvement.

Poor sleep quality

If you’re not getting enough quality sleep, it can also lead to brain fog during your periods. When you’re exhausted, mental fog on period can occur.

Make sure you’re getting enough sleep at night to prevent brain fog during your menstruation and increase your mental and physical energy levels.

The recommended amount of sleep is between seven and nine hours per night for adults to increase sleep-regulating serotonin.

Dehydration

The period fog can also be caused by dehydration, especially if you have heavy bleeding during the menstrual cycle that causes you to lose more fluids.

If brain fog during your period is caused by dehydration, it can be easily remedied by drinking plenty of water throughout the day and replenishing lost fluids after heavy bleeding.

To prevent mental fog on periods due to dehydration, ensure that you are getting enough water every day. Drink at least eight glasses of water per day to stay hydrated and you will notice an improvement in your mental energy.

Medications

Certain medications can also cause brain fog during your period. If you’re taking medication for conditions like hypertension, diabetes, or depression, it’s possible that mental fog on period is a side-effect.

If you think the medication you’re taking is causing brain fog during menstruation, consider talking to your doctor about other alternatives.

Poor diet

A poor diet can also lead to mental fog during your period. When you’re not eating a balanced and healthy diet, it can affect your brain function.

If you’re struggling with brain fog on period, take a look at your diet and make some changes. Make sure you include plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein in your diet.

What are the common symptoms of brain fog on period?

Period fog can lead to several symptoms, including:

  • Lack of concentration
  • Memory loss and forgetfulness
  • Trouble with problem-solving or decision making
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Scattered thinking
  • Problems with thinking clearly
  • Feeling overwhelmed frequently
  • Having a hard time with spatial tasks
  • Mental and physical energy levels dropping
  • Lowered libido
  • Anxiety
  • Depression 
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Irritability 
  • Sleep problems  

If mental fog during your period lasts for more than a few weeks or occurs frequently, it’s best to seek help from a medical professional. 

What to do if period fog is severe?

If your cognitive fog during your period is severe and interferes with your daily life, especially if you are dealing with premenstrual dysphoric disorder and other mood disorders, it’s best to seek help from a medical professional.

There are several possible causes of severe mental fog during menstruation, so it’s important to get evaluated by a doctor.

And there are treatments available for period mental fog that are specifically tailored to your needs.  

Can the brain fog period be diagnosed?

The period fog is not a specific condition that can be diagnosed. However, brain fog due to hormonal changes during menstruation can be diagnosed by your doctor through tests and evaluation of your symptoms.

In some cases, mental fog on period might indicate an underlying medical condition such as hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s disease

If you’re experiencing mental fog during your period and it’s severe or lasts for more than a few weeks, make an appointment with your doctor to get evaluated.

How to get rid of period fog?

There are several ways that you can reduce brain fog on period. Here are a few tips:

Hormone therapy

If you’re experiencing mental fog due to hormonal changes, hormone therapy may help. This type of therapy uses hormones to treat brain fog during menstruation and even during perimenopause and menopause.

Hormone therapy can help with cognitive fog on period by restoring the balance of hormones in your body and improving brain function. It’s important to note that hormone therapy isn’t suitable for everyone, so talk to your doctor first before trying it out.

Natural remedies

There are also some natural remedies that can help alleviate your brain fog during your period. Here are some of them:

  • Taking vitamin B supplements, especially vitamin B12, can help improve brain function and reduce mental fog on periods.
  • Herbal remedies like ginkgo biloba and ashwagandha are popular for their brain-boosting benefits. They may also be helpful with mental fog during menstruation.
  • Getting regular exercise can also help alleviate brain function and reduce period fog as it improves blood flow to the brain.
  • Make sure you’re getting enough omega-three fatty acids in your diet, as they are beneficial for brain health. You can find omega-three fatty acids in foods like salmon, walnuts, and chia seeds. 
  • Meditation can also help alleviate period fog as it improves concentration, mindfulness, and overall brain function. 

Lifestyle changes

If brain fog during your period is caused by lifestyle factors like poor diet, lack of sleep, or high-stress levels, making some lifestyle changes may help. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Make sure you’re getting enough sleep each night. Aim for at least seven to eight hours of quality sleep per night to increase your sleep-regulating serotonin.
  • Exercise regularly, which improves blood flow to the brain and can help reduce mental fog during your period and make you feel better overall.
  • Make sure you eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, healthy fats, and more iron-rich foods.  
  • Practice breathing exercises to help relieve stress and improve brain function. Breathing exercises are a great way to relax and reduce mental fog during menstruation.
  • Practice mindfulness, as this can help you manage your period fog by reducing stress levels and improving brain function. 
  • Try to avoid too much caffeine and alcohol, as they can worsen brain fog during your period. 
  • Get enough rest and take breaks throughout the day.

Mind Exercises

Brain fog during menstruation can make it difficult to focus and think clearly. Here are some brain exercises that may help:

  • Start by focusing on your breath. Inhale deeply and exhale slowly, focusing on the sensation of the air passing through your nose and mouth.
  • When you’re feeling overwhelmed or frustrated, take a few moments to focus on your breath.
  • Practice meditation or mindfulness exercises to help relieve brain fog during menstruation and improve brain function overall. 
  • Puzzles like crosswords or sudoku can also be helpful for improving brain function and reducing period fog.
  • Avoid multitasking as this may make period fog worse.
  • Avoid distractions like social media or video games when you’re trying to focus on something important. This can help improve brain function and reduce mental fog during menstruation.

Takeaways

Brain fog on period is a common problem that affects many women. It can cause you to feel tired, irritable, and lack concentration or focus.

If hormonal changes cause brain fog during menstruation, hormone therapy may help alleviate the condition.

Making some lifestyle changes like getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, avoiding too much caffeine, and getting regular exercise can also help reduce brain fog period by improving blood flow to the brain.

If lifestyle factors cause brain fog, practicing some brain exercises may help improve brain function and reduce symptoms of brain fog during your period.

Do you want to learn more about brain fog and how to clear it effectively? Check out these helpful articles, and feel free to join this online community of brain health professionals and advocates.

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