How to combat menopausal brain fog

Do you often forget where you put your mobile phone, or do you walk into a room and find that you’re not sure why you’re there? If you’re female and aged 51 (or close to that), this might be a sign that you’re going through menopause.

Menopause becomes official when you haven’t had your period for 12 months, which usually happens around 51 years — but you can have menopause anywhere from 45 to 55 years.

Perimenopause is the stage before menopause where you might begin to experience menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes, mood swings and low libido.

Most females will have mild to moderate symptoms, some will experience severe ones that affect their quality of life, and others will have no symptoms.

Brain fog is a common menopausal symptom, which up to two thirds of females experience. To mark the theme of this year’s World Menopause Day, cognition and mood, let’s explore how to combat brain fog.

What is brain fog?
Brain fog is not a medical term, but it’s how most people who experience memory or cognition changes refer to these conditions.

According to the Australasian Menopause Society, brain fog in menopause can present as a loss of immediate focus, distraction, misplacement of items and time lapses.

What helps with brain fog during menopause?
The good news is that brain fog associated with menopause is temporary. Here are tips from Jean Hailes for Women’s Health to help combat brain fog.

Exercise regularly.

  • Try mindfulness and meditation to help reduce levels of anxiety and stress.
  • Boost your thinking skills through activities that challenge your brain in an enjoyable way. These might include learning a new language or a musical instrument or doing puzzles.
  • Avoid illicit substances, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol and smoking.
  • Eat a Mediterranean diet. It’s a diet rich in antioxidants that are vital for brain health. The richest sources of antioxidants are in brightly coloured vegetables and fruits.
  • Use a diary or a list to give your days more structure, which can help to reduce anxiety. You can also take notes, use calendars and reminders to help with forgetfulness.
  • If you’re concerned about any memory or cognition changes, see your doctor.

For more information
Find out about what happens once you reach menopause.