What Is It? Well to start with it is not a recognised medical condition, but one that many menopausal women will be familiar with.
It describes certain symptoms that can affect your ability to think. You may feel confused or disorganized or find it hard to focus or put your thoughts into words.
So what are the important elements that can affect you in this way?
To be honest I have found it hard to distinguish sometimes between hormonally related forgetfulness and just plain getting older.
There is no doubt that women may find it harder to learn or remember things when they reach menopause. The accompanying hot flushes and their effect on your sleep don’t help either.
If you are suffering many menopausal symptoms, including oestrogen dominance, then rebalancing hormones will certainly help.
Low moods again are common at menopause and that can slide into depression if not helped. When you are affected then you may not remember things well or be able to think through problems easily.
Depression is usually accompanied by apathy, loss of energy and motivation and it may be this can also affect your brain in a way that causes the fog.
Treatment for your depression, which includes medication and talk therapy, should help get you back on track. Bioidentical progesterone is a natural mood enhancer but if the anxiety and depression are more severe then a combination cream of both progesterone and oestrogen can be more helpful.
Lack of sleep affects every area of your health, but in particular you need a good night’s sleep to help your brain work the way it should.
Aim for 7 to 9 hours, but too much can make you feel foggy too – not usually a problem at menopause when disturbed and broken sleep is more common.
To get good rest at bedtime, you may want to avoid caffeine and alcohol after lunch and keep the computer and smartphone out of your bedroom. It also can help to establish a regular pattern to get to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
The onset of autoimmune disorders occurs most often in middle-aged women – the time of life when oestrogen dominance becomes common.
Recent studies have shown that women who use HRT containing estradiol are more likely to get lupus. Birth control pills also affect autoimmune diseases by causing the body to form antibodies to its own hormones.
Such disease causes your immune system to attack your body, and the symptoms can be different in different cases.
90% of those with lupus are women and about half of them have problems with memory, confusion, or trouble concentrating.
Progesterone is the main precursor to corticosteroids and in progesterone-deficient women, restoration of normal progesterone levels may enhance corticosteroid production, thus suppressing the autoimmune attack in cases such as Lupus, Graves or Hashimoto’s disease.
If you are stressed you are under pressure, and it can be really hard then to think clearly.
Some stress in life is natural and inevitable but if you are dealing with long-term stress at work, at home or dealing with a difficult life situation, then that throws your hormones out of whack, and that affects your ability to think clearly.
People can be affected very differently by drugs, and some – both over the counter and prescription – can cause brain fog.
If you take medicine and notice that your thinking isn’t as clear as it should be or you suddenly can’t remember things, speak to your doctor or pharmacist and ask if this is a side effect of your particular drug, or combination of drugs.
This drug treatment for cancer can lead to what’s sometimes called “chemo brain.” You may have trouble remembering details like names or dates, have a hard time multi-tasking, or take longer to finish things.
It usually goes away fairly quickly, but some people can be affected for a long time after treatment.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
This condition goes way beyond ordinary tiredness. More women than men get CFS — between 60 and 85% of cases are women – and your body and mind are tired for a long time.
You may feel confused, forgetful, and unable to focus. There’s no known cure for CFS, but medication, exercise, and talk therapy may help.