Perimenopause brain fog is an important topic to consider. Why?
Well, do you feel like you’re losing your mind? Are you afraid you might be getting Alzheimer’s? Have you already forgotten why you started reading this article?
If you’re a woman in her late 30s to early 50s, your experience may be normal. But maybe the word “normal” doesn’t feel quite right to you. Up until now, there’s been nothing normal about forgetting where the keys are (all the time), missing meetings (even when you’ve written them down), and staring at a sentence in your 2nd grader’s homework for 5 minutes (with no idea what it says).
So, let’s throw out the word “normal,” and let’s say – there’s an explanation. The explanation has to do with hormone imbalance in – you guessed it – perimenopause!
Perimenopause, the Moment Before Menopause
Our society calls a woman’s transition from childbearing to wise woman “menopause”. The fact is that that isn’t quite right. The transition into menopause is called perimenopause.
Perimenopause occurs from the time your sex hormones start getting out of whack to the time that you’re no longer producing any estrogen. When your body no longer produces estrogen, you no longer ovulate, which means that you can no longer conceive. Until then, you’re officially in perimenopause. If you haven’t had your period for a year, you are officially in menopause.
Perimenopause: a Hormone Roller Coaster
Perimenopause brain fog happens because those out-of-whack years are a roller-coaster ride for most women. One day your estrogen levels could be normal, your progesterone low, and your follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) high. The next day your estrogen could plummet while your progesterone goes bonkers, and your FSH doesn’t know what to do.
And let’s not even get into elevated levels of cortisol (the stress hormone). When your sex hormones are fluctuating all over the place, your body says, “Oh no! What’s wrong? I better send out some cortisol.” Then your stress levels spike – as if they weren’t high enough already.
Why are you stressed? Because you’re dealing with the symptoms of perimenopause, hot flashes, night sweats, and the dreaded brain fog. That’s right. Perimenopausal brain fog. Let’s look at it a bit more.
Perimenopause Brain Fog
It turns out that hormones we typically think of as sex or reproductive hormones (testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, FSH, and luteinizing hormone) are responsible for various processes in the body, including cognition.
A study from the Menopause Journal states that 60% of middle-aged women report difficulty concentrating and other cognitive issues. Researchers found that participants in the study noticed changes in memory. They also noticed that brain fog might be connected with other menopausal symptoms like sleep issues and vascular symptoms such as hot flashes.
A 2012 study found that women in perimenopause can experience noticeable issues with cognition. Particularly if you’re in the final stretch – the first year of your last menstrual period. Women in this part of the transition scored the lowest on:
- verbal learning
- motor function
- working memory tasks
How long will the brain fog last? There’s no telling. But it’s normal and it should get better with time. Perimenopause symptoms can last from 1-13 years.
Brain Fog or Alzheimer’s?
Perimenopausal brain fog caused by hormone changes will get better over time. However, Alzheimer’s and dementia are progressive diseases, which means they will worsen over time.
Some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s include:
- repeating questions or statements over and over
- getting lost, even in familiar places
- trouble finding the right words to identify different objects
- difficulty making decisions
- changes in mood, personality, or behavior
- difficulty performing daily tasks
Sound a little like what you’re going through right now? Let us repeat (we know you’re struggling to concentrate!): You do not have dementia or Alzheimer’s unless your memory and cognitive abilities worsen over time.
If you’re still concerned, contact us for an appointment to discuss your symptoms. Otherwise, read on to find out how to help minimize your distress.
8 Tips Towards Clearing Perimenopausal Brain Fog
There are some things you can do at home to clear out the perimenopause brain fog that’s settled so thickly in your brain.
1 Brain food
Your brain loves Omega 3 Fatty Acids. Foods rich in Omega 3 include fatty cold-water fish, blackberries, apples, sweet potatoes, parsnips, brown rice, and buckwheat. You may want to consider adding a high-quality Omega 3 supplement like Nava’s Super Omega.
2 Gut food
Have you ever heard the term your gut is your second brain? You can support your brain fog by giving your gut prebiotics/probiotics. How? Milk kefir, fermented foods, garlic, white onions, apple cider vinegar, supplements. Consider adding Nava’s Daily Probiotic to your supplement regimen to support your gut microbial balance.
3 Water your brain
Your brain hates to be dehydrated. So drink a minimum of 8 glasses of water a day and avoid alcohol. Consider adding Nava’s electrolyte powders to boost your hydration status.
4 Boost your B Vitamins
Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Folic Acid, and Choline are essential to healthy brain function.
5 Exercise your body
Aerobic exercise increases brain volume and cognitive function – exercise for 30 minutes 5 times per week.
6 Exercise your brain
Learn a new language, knit, do puzzles, use your non-dominant hand to color or write for a few minutes each day, read a book outside of your regular reading list. Try new things. Play brain games. This may be frustrating at first because you aren’t as good at these things as you used to be, but keep at it.
Increase your ability to handle life’s little stresses and find ways to decrease or eliminate the big ones. Do something that allows your brain to rest, like yoga Nidra, mindfulness, or meditation.
Missing a few hours of good deep sleep can be a recipe for disaster. When you sleep, your brain renews itself. Do your best to tweak your sleep routine so that you get as much sleep as you can. The goal is 6-9 hours.
These tips not doing the trick? We can help
Are cognitive issues and other perimenopausal symptoms negatively impacting your daily life? Stop the suffering. At Nava, we have developed a strategy that can help address these conditions by restoring hormone levels that have become imbalanced or depleted. Our Hormone Optimization Therapy is unique because it’s not limited to Bioidentical Hormones. It also provides Adrenal Recharge therapy and Thyroid Balance programs.
Get your brain back and recapture the balance and energy of youth! Contact us for an appointment today!