Brain fog associated with menopause can have many negative health effects on the body and mind. Some women suffer from such a decline in cognitive function that they experience what is referred to as “mental fog” or “brain fog.”
Women that suffer from mental fog are often irritable, experience mood swings and emotional upset, and find themselves forgetting things. Some even report being concerned that they are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
Fortunately for these women symptoms including memory loss and mood swings do not mean they are more likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease at a later point in your life. In most instances the brain fog lifts and you feel normal again after menopause.
The average age at the time of menopause is 51 years of age; however, normal menopause can occur as early as age 40 or as late as age 59. It is defined as having a cessation of any type of menstrual bleeding for 12 consecutive months.
Prior to the onset of menopause women may have irregular periods associated with symptoms other than brain fog.
Brain fog is usually the result of declining hormones normally produced by the ovaries. Progesterone is most often the first hormone the ovaries start to fall back on. Low levels of progesterone are linked to irritability, mood swings, and brain fog. Progesterone can be a calming hormone. Without proper levels women may experience a lack of sleep which in turn can contribute to daytime brain fog.
Testosterone levels are the next to be depleted. Without testosterone women can feel a decrease in libido and even symptoms of depression. The adrenal glands and ovaries still make some testosterone but the amount can be appreciably less than before menopause.
Estrogen is the last hormone to decline during menopause. A lack of estrogen can lead to poor energy levels, headaches, mood swings, dizziness, depressive symptoms, and mental confusion. This is usually when most menopausal women feel at their worst.
Estrogen has been found to elevate the levels of acetylcholine in the brain. Acetylcholine is a brain neurotransmitter that causes an increase in the blood flow to the brain’s tissue.
There is a lot of conflicting results relating to Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). Some studies have concluded that it has a positive impact on brain activity while other have found that replacing estrogen does nothing to help the brain or that it might even make cognitive functions worse.
While it may be unclear why menopause can bring on brain fog type symptoms there are some things women can do during this sensitive time. For instance, stress reduction may be effective in preventing mental fog associated with menopause.
Stress can cause an imbalance of the major reproductive hormones, namely estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. It can also cause an increase in the levels of cortisol, which affects your ability to sleep. As stated earlier a lack of sleep can lead to mental fog during the day.
Women should also consider eating a healthy diet that is high in antioxidants and included plenty of fruits and vegetables, cessation smoking, decreasing alcohol consumption, and limiting the amount of aspartame.
Women might also consider supplementing with pregnenolone. Pregnenolone is the precursor hormone to several neurotransmitters in the brain and is a major building block for other hormones of the body, such as estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and DHEA.
Pregnenolone, when taken in supplement form may help to elevate mood, decrease problems with sleep, improve cognitive function, decrease stress, and control inflammation in the body.
As always make sure to consult with your doctor or medical professional before starting pregnenolone supplementation or any other treatment method to make sure it is right for you.