Symptoms of Midlife & Menopause

Brain Fog & Memory Loss

Have you ever walked into a room and suddenly couldn’t remember why you were there? Or gone into a coworker’s office to talk about something only to find that you can’t recall what you wanted to talk about? If that sounds familiar, you’re not alone. You’re probably experiencing something we call “brain fog.”

Changing estrogen levels during menopause and perimenopause can lead to memory issues and/or cognitive decline. Unfortunately, these changes can also be mistaken as signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Many patients walk into a doctor’s office convinced they have dementia or are just simply crazy. 

At true. Women’s Health, our team wants you to know that you aren’t going crazy, you don’t need to suffer alone, and we are ready to work with you to find the best strategies for managing brain fog.

Nearly two-thirds of women experience brain fog as one of their menopause symptoms.

What Causes Brain Fog?

Doctors still don’t exactly understand why menopause seems to affect the brain, but we do know that estrogen does affect mental function. The areas of the brain responsible for complex thinking and learning are dense with estrogen receptors, and estrogen is known to aid in the following areas: blood supply, nerve conduction, and the maintenance of several systems that are important for memory, learning, and cognitive function. Although low estrogen levels (like what you will experience during menopause) do not cause dementia, they do contribute to your brain feeling “fuzzy”. Lack of sleep, stress, and being overworked all contribute to experiencing brain fog as well. 

Good Sleep is Essential

Many women don’t realize how important good sleep is to your health. A lack of sleep increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, weight gain, depression, and dementia, and it can also heavily increase your chances of experiencing brain fog. 

In order to understand what is happening in your body, let’s define a few terms. As we mentioned in the previous section, estrogen is a hormone that helps cells in the brain function the way they’re supposed to function. When we sleep, our bodies produce a brain chemical called serotonin which is key for stabilizing moods and helping us to feel balanced overall. 

When we encounter stressful occurrences in our life, we spend our serotonin, and as estrogen levels fall during menopause, we start spending serotonin faster. If you are not sleeping well, your body cannot produce enough serotonin to replace what has been used throughout the day. How are you supposed to remember anything when your body is essentially always in survival mode? This can be a difficult cycle to break unless you commit to making changes.

What we call brain fog in midlife is usually not a cause for major concern and the true. Women’s Health team will help to explain the differences between hormone-related memory issues, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. We can help you find coping strategies and get you back to living your best life!

Six Tips to Help Manage Brain Fog:

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