Brain Fog. Wait…What Was Your Name?

Tuesday, April, 1, 2014 < Back to Blog Posts

You know what it’s like to drive in fog. It’s scary, it’s irritating, and you just wish it would clear up. It’s possible to feel the same way in menopause…you can feel like you’re walking around in a fog. It can be really disconcerting at first, and if you don’t realize it’s part of menopause, you could start to assume you have some type of aging memory issues going on. It bothered me until I did some research and realized it was part of this menopausal journey we are on.

According to Pauline Maki, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology and Director of Women’s Health Research at the University of Illinois in Chicago, memory loss associated with aging is a common complaint of women in menopause. Studies show that 60 percent of women in perimenopause and menopause report that their memory is not what they were used to.

Loss of recently learned information and concentration were common complaints. I can relate to the findings: drawing a blank on the names of people you just met and forgetting what you walked into a room to do. In 2009, researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, found that in the more than 2,000 women studied over four years, memory and learning ability tended to return after menopause was complete.

We can blame it on good old fluctuating estrogen. The changing level of estrogen is thought to affect the brain, because estrogen contributes to language skills, attention, mood, memory, and other brain processes. Dr. Maki also did a study that showed that women who experience many hot flashes during menopause may be more susceptible to a loss of verbal memory; remembering words.

Your level of physical exercise can also play a part in your mind working well. In fact, aerobic exercise and strength training may help keep your mind in shape as well as your body.

And then, there’s sleep. It just makes sense that if you are struggling with occasional sleeplessness, that’s not going to do any favors for brain fog. Eating right is also important. Omega-3 fatty acids are helpful and can be found in cold-water fish like salmon and mackerel and nuts like walnuts. Since we can relax and know we’re not going crazy, it doesn’t hurt to use some tricks to help us remember things. It’s easier to remember names if you can associate the name with an image. Associate the name with a movie star you like or a place that will help you remember.

I haven’t enjoyed brain fog, but because of the tips above, I have been able to make it better and not feel like I’m losing it! One thing you never want to forget no matter how “foggy” life gets: be good to yourself today! And for reducing menopausal hot flashes, night sweats and mood swings, remember that Remifemin® is your safe and effective herbal alternative to HRT.*

Michele is a real person who is experiencing menopause just like you. If you have a menopause-related question, a story to share, or you just need to vent, go to our Remifemin Facebook page.