Written by Dr. Savannah Muncy, Pharm.D on
March 29, 2022
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Medically Reviewed by our Medical Affairs Team

Written by Dr. Savannah Muncy, Pharm.D on:

Are you going through menopause and feel like you’re not yourself lately? Are you having trouble thinking clearly?

If so, you may be experiencing menopause brain fog. This is a common symptom of menopause that can affect your memory, focus, and cognitive skills.

In this blog post, we will discuss the causes of menopause fog, its symptoms, and how to remedy it.

We will also answer common questions about menopause and brain fog, such as how long it takes. Keep reading to learn more!

What exactly is menopause fog?

Menopause fog is a term used to describe the cognitive difficulties and changes that occur during menopause.

It can include problems with verbal memory, focus, and thinking skills.

Some women also experience a feeling of being “in a fog” or “not being present” on top of dealing with hot flashes during their menopausal transition.

The symptoms of menopause fog can vary from woman to woman.

However, they often include symptoms of cognitive decline, such as difficulty concentrating and thinking straight, feeling like your mind is cloudy, and having a hard time remembering things.

The symptoms of menopausal brain fog can be very frustrating and can affect your quality of life.   

What causes menopause brain fog?

The exact cause of menopause fog is unknown, but it is thought to be related to the hormonal changes that occur during menopause; specifically, the drop in estrogen levels may play a role.

Other factors that may contribute to menopause fog include:

Sleep Disturbances

Many women experience trouble sleeping during their menopausal transition. This can lead to fatigue and brain fog.

Sleeping problems such as insomnia and sleep apnea can worsen menopausal brain fog.

Also, sleep disturbances can be caused by menopause symptoms or by the medications used to treat menopausal symptoms.

Stress

Stress can also worsen menopause fog and hot flashes. When you’re stressed, it’s harder to focus and think straight.

Chronic stress can also cause sleep problems, which can contribute to mental fog from menopause symptoms. 

Poor Diet

A poor diet can also contribute to menopause fog. If you’re not getting the nutrients your body needs, especially during the menopause transition, it can affect your cognitive skills.

Bad eating habits can also lead to weight gain, cognitive decline, and other health problems, which can add to the symptoms of brain fog.

Medications

Some medications can also cause menopausal brain fog as a side effect.  This includes menopause hormone therapy, antidepressants, and anti-anxiety medications.

Also, certain types of blood pressure medications and over-the-counter painkillers can all lead to cognitive difficulties, such as issues in working and verbal memory.

Nicotine and Alcohol

Nicotine and alcohol can also worsen brain fog during menopause as well as hot flashes.

Smoking can cause damage to the brain cells and lead to cognitive problems.

Alcohol, on the other hand, can interfere with sleep, which can lead to mental fogging.

Treatment Side Effects

Some women experience brain fog during menopause transition as a side effect of treatment.

This includes treatments such as hormone therapy, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.

If you are experiencing menopause fog as a side effect of treatment, talk to your doctor about possible solutions or alternatives.

Lack of Exercise

A lack of exercise can aggravate the symptoms of brain fog during the menopause transition. When you’re inactive, your brain doesn’t get the stimulation it needs, which can lead to cognitive problems.

Exercise not only helps keep your body healthy, but it also helps keep your brain healthy as it helps release vital brain hormones called endorphins that help you stabilize your mood and ultimately decrease your perception of pain.

Age

As you get older, it’s normal to experience some changes in your thinking skills. This is especially true for women going through menopause.

However, if you’re noticing a significant decline in your cognitive abilities, it’s important to talk to your doctor. 

Brain Fog Menopause: Common Symptoms

The most common symptoms of brain fog, especially during menopause, are the following:

  • Difficulty concentrating and thinking straight
  • Feeling like your mind is cloudy or you’re in a fog
  • Having a hard time remembering things
  • Getting confused and disoriented most of the time 
  • Experiencing memory lapses, problems with focus and thinking skills
  • Often irritable or more likely to get agitated over trivial things

These symptoms can vary from woman to woman and can also change over time. 

How long does menopause brain fog last? 

The duration of menopause fog can also vary from woman to woman.

Some women may only experience a few months of cognitive problems, while others may have symptoms for years.

However, with the proper treatment and lifestyle changes, most women can lessen the impact of menopause fog on their lives.

If you’re experiencing severe brain fog during menopause, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor about possible solutions. There are many ways to treat this condition and improve your quality of life.

Menopause and Brain Fog: Diagnosis

There is no one-size-fits-all test for menopause brain fog.

Your doctor may ask you a variety of questions to help determine if you’re experiencing cognitive problems as a result of menopause. 

These questions may include:

  • How severe are your symptoms?
  • Do the symptoms come and go, or are they constant?
  • What seems to aggravate the symptoms?
  • Do you have any other health conditions that could be causing the cognitive problems?
  • Have you been under a lot of stress lately?
  • Are you sleeping well at night?
  • Do you eat a balanced diet?
  • Are you drinking alcohol or smoking?
  • What medications are you taking?
  • Are you physically active?

The answers to these questions can help your doctor determine the root cause of your menopause fog and provide the best treatment. 

Remedies for Brain Fog During Menopause

There is no one-size-fits-all remedy for mental fog during menopause.

However, there are a few things you can do to help lessen the symptoms and improve your overall well-being, especially your brain health.

Some of these remedies include:

Maintaining a healthy diet

A nutritious and well-balanced diet is essential for keeping your body and mind healthy.

Make sure to include plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your diet.

Also, make sure you’re getting enough protein and healthy fats as they are essential for both physical and brain health.

Getting adequate sleep

A good night’s sleep is crucial for a healthy mind and body. Aim to get around seven to eight hours of sleep each night.

If you’re having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, try some techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, or relaxation exercises before bed.

If you’re still having trouble sleeping even after going through some strategies, talk to your doctor about possible professional solutions.

Getting regular exercise

Exercise is not only great for your physical health, but it’s also great for your mental health.

Make sure to get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day.

If you’re not into traditional forms of exercise, such as weight lifting or strength training, try something fun and active like dancing, hiking, or biking, which are excellent aerobic exercises.

Aerobic exercise is effective in increasing blood flow and oxygen to the brain, which helps improve brain function.

Taking breaks throughout the day

When you’re constantly working, it’s hard for your brain to focus and stay sharp.

Make sure to take regular breaks throughout the day to give your brain a chance to rest and recharge.

This will help improve your focus and concentration when you do go back to work.

Staying mentally active

Keeping your mind active and engaged is a great way to keep your cognitive skills sharp. 

Challenge yourself with puzzles, crosswords, and Sudoku games.

Learn a new language or take up a new hobby.

The more mentally active you are, the less menopause fog will affect your life.

Quitting cigarettes and alcohol

Smoking and drinking alcohol can have adverse effects on your cognitive function, such as increasing the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

If you’re struggling with menopause fog, it’s a good idea now more than ever to quit smoking and limit your alcohol consumption or quit it altogether.

Taking dietary supplements

There are a number of dietary supplements that have been shown to improve cognitive function, such as omega-three fatty acids, Ginkgo biloba, and vitamin B12. 

And always remember to speak to your doctor about whether any of these supplements may be beneficial for you before you start taking any of them.

Managing stress

Menopause can be a very stressful time for many women.

There are a number of ways to manage your stress healthily, such as the following:

  • yoga
  • meditation
  • deep breathing exercises
  • journaling
  • obtaining some green time or spending more time in nature
  • getting a whole-body massage

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed out, try some of these techniques to help get your stress levels under control.

Get other health conditions under control

If you’re also struggling with other health conditions, such as:

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • obesity
  • lupus
  • multiple sclerosis
  • chronic fatigue syndrome

Managing these conditions will also help improve your symptoms of menopause fog because, most often than not, your brain fog can be more often triggered by underlying health conditions than your menopause.

Considering hormone therapy

If your menopause fog is severe and you’re not seeing any improvement even with lifestyle changes, speak to your doctor about whether hormone therapy may be a good option for you.

Hormone therapy can help improve cognitive function in some women by restoring the balance of hormones in their bodies. It works by replacing the hormones that your body is no longer making.

Takeaway 

There are a number of ways that you can improve your symptoms of menopause fog.

It’s important to be patient and try different things until you find what works best for you.

The most important thing is to make healthy lifestyle changes, such as getting regular exercise, staying mentally active, and managing your stress levels.

If you’re still struggling with severe mental fog during menopause, speak to your doctor about hormone therapy or other treatments that may be available to you.

If you want to learn more about brain fog and how to clear it efficiently, here are educational blog posts to read, and here’s an online community of cognitive health advocates for you to join

Join The Mental Health Community You've Been Dreaming Of


This discord family is a safe place where we can all (anonymously if we choose) talk about and seek help for what is going on in our heads.

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