Is brain fog or ‘menopause brain’ making you crazy?
Brain fog is one of the most common symptoms that affects more than 60% of perimenopausal and menopausal women. Some women worry that their inability to quickly remember things may be an indication of early onset of dementia, such as where did I put my glasses (on top of your head), my keys (on the counter) or forgetting what you were trying to say in mid sentence.
However, if you are a perimenopausal or menopausal woman, there are tons of hormonal changes happening in your body and chances are your brain fog is related to hormonal changes. With that said, women experience brain fog at varying degrees which may be related to certain brain health habits such as intellectual activities, exercise or diet. Researchers have speculated that these differences may also be related to hormonal levels in your body or the neurotransmitters in the brain.
Hormones responsible for brain fog
Low progesterone levels
The hormone progesterone helps us to feel grounded and balanced and functions as estrogen’s twins. They function together and must be in proportion/balanced. In perimenopausal or menopausal women, when progesterone levels decrease, they may experience mood swings, anxiety, brain fog and other empotional disturbances. The reduction in progesterone can affect your ability to sleep restfully which impacts your brain’s ability to perform optimally.
Low estrogen levels
Estrogen hormone is produced primarily by the ovaries, small amount in the adrenal. It is
responsible for puberty, regulates the reproductive system, grows the menstrual lining that either is going to support a pregnancy or be shed as your period. When estrogen levels decrease, many women experience mood swings,hot flashes, weight gain and difficulty losing weight, fatigue and brain fog.
Studies have found that younger women who had a hysterectomy and their ovaries were surgically were more likely to experience effects on the brain due to lower levels of estrogen produced by the ovaries which were removed. Additionally, women whose uterus and ovaries were removed and then took hormone replacement therapy (HRT) experienced a slower rate of cognitive decline than women who did not take hormones.
Tips to manage and reduce brain fog
Make sleep a priority. The lack of proper rest impairs normal brain function and contributes to brain fog. Create a sanctuary in your bedroom by making sure pillows and sheets are fresh and comfortable, remove electronic devices (including TVs) that emit light or make noise. Establish a bedtime ritual such as diffusing essential oils, applying oils to your pulse points or spritzing your pillow with your favorite essential oil. Additionally, it is a good idea to establish a consistent time to go to bed.
See your medical practitioner regularly. Confirm that your symptoms perimenopause or menopause related and not some other illness. If you suffer from blood pressure, this can cause hot flashes and can also increase the risk of cognitive decline, vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. According to researchers, women with very high blood pressure are 30% more likely to develop cognitive decline.
Check your medications. If you are taking medications for sleep, high blood pressure, antidepressants and statins, these could impact your memory and brain function. Check with your practitioner if you suspect that your meds are impacting your memory.
Move your body. Movement helps to ward off diseases, improve your mental state, improve the quality of your sleep, manage your weight, and to develop strong bones and muscles. For perimenopausal or menopausal strength training helps your brain function.
Maintain a healthy diet & nutrition. Your diet should consist primarily of whole foods (lots of fruits and vegetables), avoid processed foods, excess sugars, artificial sweeteners. Studies show that people who consume at least one drink containing artificial sweeteners per day suffer three times more strokes, and are three times more likely to develop dementia.
Take supplements and herbs. As a menopause coach, spplements is one of my number one recommendation for supporting and calming menopausal symptoms. Vitamins B6 and B12 are important to support healthy brain function. Herbs such as black cohosh, red clover, and ginkgo biloba help to support hot flashes, mood swings and cognitive related issues like brain fog.
Reduce consumption of Alcohol. Alcohol can cause weight gain, increase blood pressure, hot flashes, night sweats and insomnia.
Stimulate your mind daily. Healthy social relationships and interactions, crossword puzzles, reading, learning new things such as a new language or playing a musical instrument stimulate your mind and your brain.
Practice relaxation techniques. Practices such as meditation, tai chi, yoga and breathing techniques can help reduce anxious feelings, depression, mood swings and improve your sleep.
Adopt a daily essential oil protocol. Essential oils are extracts from plants that have many uses, including helping to increase focus and mental clarity. High quality essential oils are natural solutions that are able to support the body without using harmful chemicals or energy drinks loaded with sugar and caffeine.
Rosemary essential oil has high terpene levels that has the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier and immediately work on the body by supporting the brain’s acetylcholine levels and improving memory AND FOCUS by about 75%. Peppermint essential oil also helps to improve focus and can be combined with Rosemary. Another effective oil for memory is Basil.
BRAIN FOG ROLLERBALL BLEND
8 drops Tangerine or Wild Orange essential oil
7 drops Peppermint essential oil
5 drops Rosemary essential oil
5 drops Basil essential oil
4 drops Ylang Ylang essential oil Carrier oil of choice (Fractionated Coconut Oil or Sweet Almond Oil)
Directions: Add the essential oils to a 10 mL glass rollerball bottle and fill the rest with your carrier oil. Swirl to mix them together. Apply to the back of your neck and your FEW spots - feet, ears, wrists. Mental clarity and alertness will return. Couple this with your deep breathing technique to lower stress levels and prepare to face the world with your best self
The above essential oil blend recipe was taken from Dr. Mariza Synder
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DISCLAIMER: This information is not intended to provide medical advice. The purpose is to provide education and broader understanding to my readers. Always seek the advice of your qualified healthcare provider before making any dietary or lifestyle changes. I do not recommend or prescribe, or recommend changing dosage or discontinuing, any prescription medications or pharmaceutical drugs.