Meno Health. Clinical Evidence.

TWC #037: Brain fog – what can I do about it?

Brain fog – what can I do about it?

It is this feeling of clouding of thought that many women describe, as if thoughts are wandering through an invisible fog. A phenomenon that seems to swallow up clarity when you need it most.

In this newsletter, we describe what brain fog is, the causes and effects of brain fog, and concrete steps we can take to counteract it.

What is brain fog?

Brain fog, also known as cognitive impairment or memory problems, is a common and sometimes frustrating symptom of menopause. Many women describe it as a feeling of confusion or clouding of thinking that can lead to difficulty concentrating, remembering and thinking clearly. It can feel like thoughts are travelling through a fog.

causes of brain fog during the menopause

Hormonal changes, particularly the decline in oestrogen production, have a significant impact on cognitive function. But other factors such as sleep disturbances, stress and unhealthy diet can also contribute. A holistic approach that takes all these aspects into account is crucial to clearing the fog in the brain.

Studies show that memory loss and learning difficulties can occur during menopause, but recover after menopause. This suggests that the cognitive challenges of the menopause may be temporary.

Sometimes it’s just important for a woman to know that this too shall pass. In the meantime, there are many ways to boost mental clarity, memory and concentration.

What you can do about brain fog?

  1. eat healthily
    A balanced diet is not only important for your body, but also for your brain. Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and vitamins. Eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids promotes brain health and supports the production of much-needed hormones. Oily fish such as salmon and mackerel as well as coconut oil, avocados, nuts and seeds contain healthy fats that are essential for a midlife diet.
  2. get moving
    Regular physical activity has been shown to have a positive effect on brain function. It promotes blood circulation and supports neurogenesis, the growth of new nerve cells.
    However, given the pronounced lack of energy that many women experience during the menopause, it is easy to fall into a sedentary lifestyle. However, physical activity can increase oxygen flow, boost energy and improve circulation, which in turn enhances cognitive abilities.
  3. get enough sleep
    Sleep is key to your recovery. Make sure you get enough and good sleep so that your brain can work optimally. Many women report feeling constantly exhausted during the menopause. This is not surprising, as the menopause is basically puberty in reverse. Think about your own puberty or a pubescent woman you know: Often their coping strategy is to sleep all day! Unfortunately, this is not an option for many of us, but you should adjust your daily routine so that you can spend more time in bed during this transitional phase. Make sure you develop a sleep routine that gives you plenty of time to switch off so that you can fall asleep more easily.
  4. Manage your stress. Constant stress not only damages your physical health, but also your psyche. Find effective methods of stress management such as meditation, yoga or progressive muscle relaxation. Stress triggers a kind of fight or flight response in which your body prepares for a quick retreat or attack. In our world, where stress often comes from long to-do lists rather than wild animals, this response is not always appropriate. However, there is a lesser known response, the relaxation response. It utilises your energy reserves to repair your body and do ‹chores›. At times when your body and brain need some extra attention, it’s important that you learn to manage stress and promote healing and recovery as often as possible.
  5. set yourself mental challenges. Mental challenges are like fitness exercises for your brain. By challenging it regularly, you not only boost your cognitive fitness, but also help to maintain your mental sharpness. There are many ways to do this that are not only effective but also fun. Solving puzzles, be it crosswords, Sudoku puzzles or brain teasers, is a great way to keep your brain sharp. These tasks require critical thinking, concentration and finding creative solutions. Learning new skills is not only an enrichment to your repertoire, but also a fantastic way to stimulate your brain. Whether you’re learning an instrument, programming or painting, adding new skills to your repertoire boosts the neuroplastic properties of your brain. Intellectual challenges, whether through discussion, reading challenging books or following scientific lectures, provide a variety of ways to deepen your thinking. Exchanging ideas and questioning assumptions stimulates your brain and encourages continuous growth.

Use these intellectual challenges not only to keep yourself mentally fit, but also to integrate fun and enjoyment into your everyday life. Because an agile and challenged brain is not only more efficient, but also contributes to a fulfilling life.

  1. drink enough water. The brain consists of 80% water, so it makes sense to drink plenty of water. Drinking enough water a day not only supports brain function, but also helps to flush out toxins.
  2. take regular breaks. Like any system, the brain isn’t able to make updates and changes while it’s in operation – and let’s face it, a woman’s mid-life mind is practically constantly in operation. This can cause thinking to become sluggish and stuck. By taking regular breaks, you can buy yourself valuable time to clear out random, unimportant and transient data that can bog you down and exacerbate brain fog.
  3. avoid insulin spikes and dips. If you have low energy and concentration in the morning or afternoon, your blood sugar levels may fluctuate. Instead of reaching for coffee or a sweet snack, you should choose a healthier alternative. Nutritionists recommend that snacks and meals should contain both protein and fibre to avoid insulin spikes and lows, which can throw your brain out of sync and lead to fatigue.
Why is it important to talk about brain fog?

Awareness of brain fog during the menopause is of great importance as it helps many women understand that they are not alone. Sharing experiences and information allows us to demystify the phenomenon and find concrete solutions.

We hope that this in-depth information will help you to better understand brain fog and take practical steps to deal with it.

If you need personal counselling or support on your journey through the menopause, contact The Women Circle here.

In our next edition, back on Saturday 9am, we’ll be covering more aspects of the menopause and women’s health. Stay informed and feel well during this special phase of your life.

If you would like to get in touch with us, please get in touch.

PS: If you like the Meno Health information, why not send it to your friends?

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