Brain Fog & Focus

Brain Fog in Perimenopause & How to Regain Clarity

woman in fog - brain fog

May 22, 2022

Hi, I’m Angela
I'm a functional medicine practitioner & hormone expert working primarily with women in their 40's and 50's to create lasting health.
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Do you feel like you’re walking around in a fog most of the time? Are your thoughts slow, muddled, and hard to focus? If so, you’re not alone. 

Brain fog is a common symptom of perimenopause and menopause. But don’t worry – there are ways to regain clarity and function. In this post, you’ll discover what brain fog is, its causes, and how to get relief.

I know this affects many women as they get into their forties and especially fifties and transition to menopause. For some women that can actually start very early on, depending on what’s happening with your hormone balance.  This problem is sometimes known as brain fog. 

You’re not alone if you’re feeling foggy and out of sorts during perimenopause. Many women experience some degree of brain fog, which can include fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and problems with short-term memory. While there’s no one definitive cause for brain fog in perimenopause, it can be related to fluctuating hormone levels, stress, or sleep deprivation. 

Thankfully, there are steps you can take to regain clarity and function during this time!

Do you recall feeling like this? That you have a lot of things to do in your everyday life? Do you find yourself forgetting why you’re going to the grocery store or worse realizing that you forgot something.

Then you get home frustrated and you know you need to go back and get what you need sooner or later. 

Perhaps you’re having a discussion with someone where you feel like your sentences are ending in the … middle?

I’m sure that you can relate to this because there are times when we forget our own names, right?

There is probably something going on in regards to an imbalance in your body. 

Now, what is it?  

Is it a hormone imbalance? 

Are there some neurodegenerative changes?  Are you on your way to early-onset dementia? 

Sometimes these ideas start to go through our minds and it can be quite scary.  Especially if you’re only in your mid to late forties or early fifties, or have a family history of either Alzheimer’s or some other sort of dementia or neurodegenerative condition.

Then you think it’s you because you’re getting symptoms early in life. 

Most likely what’s happening for you with the brain fog and that lack of focus, attention, and memory probably has more to do with a few key factors. 

Low Estrogen Levels

When we transition into menopause all of our sex hormones start to lower especially estrogen.  There’s no doubt that estrogen helps us maintain our brain health and our focus.  As this level lowers, we could be more susceptible to having brain fog and memory issues.

Interestingly enough it doesn’t happen for everyone.  Every woman who goes through menopause definitely goes through this change.  What is unique is how severe brain fog can be besides just low estrogen?   

Hormone Imbalance

Brain fog or lack of concentration, focus, memory, all those things can also be related to hormone imbalances.   Especially in your thyroid.

Sometimes if the thyroid is low functioning you’re going to be more prone to brain fog. This is actually one of the telltale signs for the need for a full thyroid workup.  This will help determine what’s going on with your thyroid.  

Adrenal Hormones

The adrenal glands mainly secretes the hormone called Cortisol. If you do feel like you have been under a fair amount of stress, especially long term exposure to stress, it’s likely that your adrenal glands and your hormones that are secreted by the adrenals could be out of balance and way too high.

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High cortisol promotes inflammation in the body and in the brain. So brain fog is sometimes also termed brain inflammation.   We need to be thinking if it is related to stress.   There are lab tests we can run to see these cortisol levels.

Check Your Labs

You can also have lab workups that look more specifically at the thyroid.  All of these should be looked at to determine if there is something you can do to help bring your body back into proper estrogen levels for your age.

The only way to really figure this out is to understand where the root cause of your brain fog and your memory issues is coming from is to do lab tests.

With these results in hand, it’s quite simple to understand how to go forward with an individualized plan to rebalance those issues.   Typically, all three of these issues need some rebalancing. If it is related to low estrogen hormone replacement may be an option.

Some women use either bioidentical or synthetic hormone replacement therapy with these symptoms and they get some improvement. 

There can be a time and a place for hormone replacement therapy for some.  For others, I have seen this backfire and they don’t do well with adding extra hormones into their bodies. Sometimes their symptoms get worse by adding extra hormones into their bodies.

Alternatively we can look at natural ways to start boosting estrogen production in your own body. It actually overlaps very strongly with how your adrenals are doing and your cortisol levels.   When you can get the adrenals balanced, this often allows the body to produce better estrogen levels for your age. 

They’re never going to be as high as they were, but they actually can still improve to the point that you feel balanced in your body.   Not only that, but you’re not going to have these symptoms with your brain.   The best part is this can be done naturally with foods.

Special Estrogen Foods

Foods that are called phyto estrogens, such as flax seeds and non-GMO organic soy can really help to boost the production of estrogen in your own body. 

When the thyroid gets out of balance along with the adrenals AND your stress levels are really high your cortisol will get out of balance.

Stress 

In this case we need to be thinking about stress management techniques.  Lowering stress is absolutely paramount to hormone production.  Part of the equation is making sure you’re getting enough sleep.

So there are some things you can do right away to help you start tackling this issue of brain fog and basically feeling like your brain isn’t functioning optimally, as you head towards or into that transition into menopause.

And if you want to learn more about how you could figure out how to find an individualized solution for you, and also the root cause of where these issues are really coming from, you can always feel free to reach out. Because it’s not just about the brain fog. It’s also about what could develop for you potentially, not even that far down the road if you don’t deal with this.

So if you’re feeling a little out of sorts these days, know that you’re not alone. Many women experience some degree of brain fog during perimenopause. While the cause is often difficult to pinpoint, it can be related to fluctuating hormone levels, stress, or sleep deprivation. But don’t worry – there are steps you can take to regain clarity and function! 

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And if you’re looking for a more natural way to manage your health, you can book a free 45-minute discovery call.

You may also be interested in the free guide to balancing your hormones naturally.

DISCLAIMER:  The information in this email is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content is for general informational purposes only and does not replace a consultation with your own doctor/health professional 

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