Written by Dr. Savannah Muncy, Pharm.D on
February 7, 2022
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Medically Reviewed by our Medical Affairs Team

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

It’s nearly that time of the month again, and you’re feeling overwhelmed with all of the PMS-related stress, and now you can’t think clearly.

You’re not alone. Many women report experiencing brain fog during PMS.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the causes of PMS brain fog, symptoms to look out for, and remedies that can help.

We’ll also provide tips on how to cope with brain fog in everyday life or during your menstrual cycle.

So, if you’re looking for information on PMS and brain fog, you’ve come to the right place!

What exactly is premenstrual brain fog?

PMS brain fog is a term used to describe the cognitive changes that occur during premenstrual syndrome that causes changes in mood, attention, and memory.

This is when your progesterone levels drop and you tend to be more aggressive and at risk of fatigue.

Period brain fog can make everyday tasks feel difficult and overwhelming, especially if you’re struggling with most of its symptoms. It can be tough to deal with, but it’s important to find ways that work for you so that your PMS doesn’t get in the form of your daily life.

What are some of the common causes of PMS brain fog?

Brain fog PMS is a very common condition that can be caused by a variety of factors, especially during your menstrual cycle. Some of the most common causes include:

  • Hormonal changes: This is probably the biggest factor when it comes to PMS and brain fog. When your hormones are in flux, they can affect your mood, mental and physical energy levels, and cognitive function.
  • Stress: brain fog PMS can worsen if you’re stressed, so try reducing stress and increasing relaxation.
  • Sleep problems: brain fog during PMS may be worse for women who don’t get sufficient sleep or have trouble sleeping at night. 
  • Poor nutrition: Eating a balanced and healthy diet is essential for overall health, including cognitive function. When you’re not eating well, it can lead to period brain fog. 
  • Alcohol and caffeine consumption: Too much caffeine or alcohol can also worsen your brain fog during PMS. So, try to limit your consumption, especially when PMS symptoms start. 

What are some common symptoms of brain fog PMS?

The symptoms of brain fog during PMS can vary from woman to woman, but they often include:

  • poor concentration
  • feeling overwhelmed or stressed out
  • low physical and mental energy
  • forgetfulness
  • trouble completing tasks
  • poor judgment
  • confusion
  • mood swings
  • irritability
  • anxiety
  • fatigue
  • poor sleep quality

These are just a few examples of brain fog PMS symptoms. There are many others that can occur during PMS, so it’s important to keep track of your premenstrual syndrome and its related symptoms.

You may also want to talk with your doctor if you’re concerned about any changes in how you feel or think during PMS.

How can you treat period brain fog?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best treatment for brain fog during PMS will vary from woman to woman. However, some of the most common remedies include:

Exercising regularly:  Exercise is a great way to reduce stress and improve blood flow to the brain, which enhances your overall mood.

Eating healthy: Eating nutritious food, especially more iron-rich foods, can help boost your energy levels and cognitive function.

Staying hydrated: Drink plenty of fluids, especially water, throughout the day to keep your body and mind functioning well.

Getting enough sleep: Make sure you’re getting enough quality sleep every night, at least seven to eight hours per night so that you get the right amount of sleep-regulating serotonin that your brain needs.

Taking breaks throughout the day: When you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a few minutes to relax and recharge.

Managing stress: Period brain fog can be worsened by stress, so find ways to manage your stress levels. This may include yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises. 

Taking supplements: Supplements such as Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B12 can help regulate your hormones, reduce symptoms, and improve cognitive function.

Talking to your doctor: If brain fog PMS is affecting your daily life, talk to your doctor. They may be able to help with PMS treatment options or refer you to another specialist.

Can PMS cause permanent cognitive changes?

There is no evidence that PMS causes permanent cognitive changes. However, some women may experience a worsening of mental and physical symptoms in the days leading up to their period.

If you’re experiencing significant changes in your cognitive function that last beyond your premenstrual phase, talk with your doctor. They may be able to help you find the root cause of the problem and provide appropriate treatment options.

The Hazy Science of ‘Period Brain’

It’s common for women to feel a little “off” or forgetful during PMS. But some research suggests that PMS may affect the brain in more ways than scientists previously thought—and that when it comes to understanding PMS, researchers are still just scratching the surface. 

“We know PMS affects a woman’s mood, but it also may affect memory and attention processes in the brain, as well as motor coordination and perception of pain,” says Dr. Shannon K. Laughlin-Tommaso, an OB/GYN at Mayo Clinic.

The science behind PMS and brain fog is still hazy, but researchers are working to better understand the link between the two.

In the meantime, if you’re experiencing PMS-related cognitive changes, there are steps you can take to help yourself feel better.

Home Remedies for PMS and Brain Fog

There are some PMS and brain fog home remedies that can help you feel better during premenstrual syndrome.

These include:

  • Drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated throughout the day
  • Eating healthy, nutritious foods that provide your body with energy
  • Getting adequate sleep (at least seven to eight hours per night)
  • Exercising regularly can help reduce symptoms like cramps and mood swings by improving blood flow to the brain.
  • Taking PMS supplements, such as vitamin B-12 and omega-three fatty acids
  • Relaxing with a hot bath or massage
  • Managing stress by taking time for yourself to relax during PMS

While many women experience some form of PMS-related cognitive changes during the two weeks before their period, for some, these changes can be significant and interfere with their daily life. If you’re struggling with brain fog during PMS, there are a number of things you can do to help yourself feel better.

Try incorporating some of these home remedies into your routine, and talk to your doctor if the symptoms persist or become increasingly bothersome. Brain fog during PMS can be frustrating, but with the right tools, you can manage it.

How long does PMS last?

The duration of PMS varies from woman to woman. Some women may only experience PMS for a few days, while others may have premenstrual symptoms that last two weeks or more.

In general, symptoms of premenstrual syndrome usually peak about five days before your period starts and improve once your menstrual cycle begins. 

How do PMS symptoms change as you age?

As you get older, your premenstrual symptoms may become less intense. This is because of fluctuating hormone levels and shifts in the brain that occur with age.

PMS usually begins to wane after a woman enters menopause or reaches her late 30s or early 40s.

What are some of the typical premenstrual symptoms?

The most common PMS symptoms include mood swings, irritability, fatigue, bloating, food cravings, and breast tenderness.

However, not all women experience the same premenstrual symptoms—and some may only have a few minor changes in their mood or appetite.

The PMS symptoms you experience will likely change as you age, but PMS does not go away entirely until menopause.

Can PMS cause mood swings?

Yes, PMS can cause mood swings that range from mild to severe. Mood swings are one of the most common premenstrual symptoms and occur when a woman’s normal mood or emotional state changes abruptly.

PMS-related mood swings can cause feelings of sadness, anxiety, irritability, and anger.

What is PMDD?

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a more severe form of PMS that affects about five percent of women.

PMDD symptoms include irritability, fatigue, bloating, food cravings, tender breasts, and other mood disorders—but also cause feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, and sadness that are severe enough to interfere with daily life.

If you think you may have PMDD, talk to your doctor about getting evaluated.

Is PMS a mental disorder?

PMS is not classified as a mental disorder, but it can cause cognitive changes that affect your mood and daily functioning.

These changes are typically temporary and resolve once your menstrual cycle begins. However, PMS can be significantly disruptive for some women and lead to depression or anxiety. 

What is the link between PMS and anxiety?

There is a link between PMS and anxiety, as both conditions are caused by changes in hormone levels.

PMS can cause feelings of anxiety and worry, while anxiety can lead to PMS-like symptoms such as mood swings, fatigue, and food cravings. 

If you experience anxiety and PMS symptoms at the same time, talk to your doctor about how best to manage them.

What is the link between PMS and depression?

There is also a link between PMS and depression, as both conditions are caused by changes in hormone levels.

PMS can cause feelings of sadness, worthlessness, and hopelessness, while depression can lead to PMS-like symptoms such as mood swings, fatigue, and food cravings.

If you experience depression and PMS symptoms at the same time, talk to your doctor about how best to manage them.

Parting Thoughts

Brain fog during PMS can make everyday tasks feel like a challenge. But by understanding the causes and symptoms of period fog, you can take steps to manage it.

Talk to your doctor if brain fog PMS interferes with your daily life or causes anxiety, depression, or other symptoms that severely disrupt your ability to function.

They can help determine the best PMS treatment for you and provide personalized care plan recommendations based on your individual needs.

If you want to learn more about brain fog and how to clear it, check out these educational articles and feel free to join this online community of brain health professionals and advocates.

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