How to manage menopause brain fog

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July 1, 2020
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How to manage menopause brain fog

Now what was I about to say? ….. hmmmmm

How often have you forgotten what you were about to say? Struggled to find the right word? Been totally confused? Suffered with poor concentration? Not know why you entered a room? Spent ages looking for your keys to find them already in your hand, or discovered your ‘safe place’ is so safe even you can’t find it!?

 

Welcome to menopause brain fog.

Around 60% of women report brain fog during their menopause years with research suggesting that it peaks during the first year after the last period. I know many women who experience a level of cotton wool brain for some years, (including myself) but it is encouraging to know that it can improve over time and you can do something about it now.

Sadly though, when severe both your home and work lives can be disrupted, maybe leaving you wondering if something else is wrong with you. It’s really not a nice feeling if you’re finding it difficult to cope.

What is brain fog, and why does it happen?

What it is is real! Very real, you are not on the road to dementia. Plus you are unique so may manage different aspects of this symptom differently at different times. For example if you are feeling particularly stressed or tired this will have an effect on how well you perceive your brain to function.

Why does it happen? No-one seems to know for sure, however research consistently shows that it’s due to the fluctuation in the hormone oestrogen, and as there are oestrogen receptors in the brain that makes sense. Other research indicates an interaction between the decline and fluctuation in oestrogen levels through perimenopause and serotonin activity in the brain having a negative effect on mood and cognitive ability. That fluctuation in oestrogen is probably why you find you cope better at some times and not others.

Tips to help menopause brain fog

The good news is you can definitely do something to help yourself, prevent or reduce the severity of your cotton wool brain. Simply adjustments to diet and lifestyle can make a really profound difference AND help you attain your optimum health through menopause and beyond.

  • Stay adequately hydrated. Your brain is 80% water, and every electrical impulse in your brain sparks over that water.
  • Ensure sufficient omega 3 foods in the diet e.g. nuts, seeds, oily fish, avocados. The other 20% of your brain are these essential fats.
  • Supplement with Omega 3. You can’t have too many. Omega 3’s are also essential for hormone balance
  • Manage stress levels! Chronic stress contributes towards dehydration and uses up your essential supplies of Omega 3
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol, both have a dehydrating effect on the body.
  • Eat a variety of natural foods provided by Mother Nature. She does know best
  • Ensure restful sleep, practice good sleep hygiene
  • Lose excess weight, reduce fizzy drinks, white sugars and carbohydrates
  • Exercise at least 3 times/week, ensuring some fresh air too
  • Meditate, practice mindfulness, yoga
  • Black Cohosh, Gingko Biloba, B vitamins & CoQ10 may be helpful
  • Emotional Freedom Technique may help
  • Include plenty of serotonin/tryptophan inducing ingredients in your evening meal. Don’t be fooled into thinking that dairy, eggs and turkey are the only sources! Tryptophan is also high in the following vegetables:
    • Organic, dairy, eggs
    • Turkey
    • Mushrooms
    • Dark chlorophyll rich leafy greens (spinach, kale, mustard greens, swiss chard)
    • Soya (beans, tofu, tamari, miso). Ensure these are organic and don’t come from genetically modified soya sources.
    • Lentils and beans (kidney, black, pinto, navy etc)
    • Cauliflower, cucumber, celery, peppers, aubergine
    • Seeds (pumpkin, sesame, sunflower) and nuts (walnuts, cashews, almonds)
    • Whole grains and seeds (quinoa, oats, buckwheat, rye, bulgur)
  • Stay active. Exercise at least 3 times/week, ensuring some fresh air too for e.g. walking, cycling, jogging.
    • If you have a sedentary job/sit down a lot.
    • Set an alarm on your phone every 30 minutes to remind you to stand up and stretch, move around.
    • Move your ankles/feet/hands in circles regularly
    • Include weight lifting to build strong bones, avoid osteoporosis post menopause.
  • Use your brain. It’s said that if you don’t use it you’ll lose it, and I think this has some merit.
    • Join a choir
    • Learn a language or play an instrument
    • Join a dance or step class
    • Puzzle books are good, from simple word searches, crosswords to harder sudoku, all will exercise your brain.
    • Tease yourself with some memory tests
    • Vary the brain challenging exercises to ensure you work every part of your brain.
  • When the cotton wool seems too thick to work through, practice restorative mindfulness, gratitude, meditation, relaxation techniques, gentle yoga.
  • Buy more Post-It notes!
  • Keep a sense of humour. So important!
  • Share your ‘moments’ with friends, know that you’re not alone.
  • Finally, see your GP if you’re really concerned. It’s always good to get the reassurance all is well.

 

Clare Shepherd

Nutritional Therapist, Award Winning Menopause Coach

Member British Menopause Society

Helping busy ladies naturally create harmony and  health through the menopause years and beyond.  Regain control, confidence, and be free to live the life they choose.

Follow the Natural Menopause Road Map to create hormone harmony, reduce or banish unpleasant menopause symptoms and create your optimum health through menopause & beyond.


A full hysterectomy in her 30s led nutritional therapist and health coach Clare on an amazing adventure exploring the many opportunities available to manage her enforced menopause and create long-term health.

Clare prefers the natural approach, and qualifying in nutritional therapy gave her the confidence to come off HRT, take back control of her life and health, and look forward to living the best third of her life free of prescription drugs. Understanding the importance of creating harmony of health of both body and mind through menopause and beyond, she’s now on a mission to inspire, educate and empower other women, too.

Click HERE to find out more about how Clare shares her years of exploring, experience and knowledge through 1:1 consultations and online programmes, and where you can request a FREE 30 minute consultation with Clare to discuss any personal menopause/health concerns you may have.

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