Perimenopause Can Suck It #9: The Dreaded Brain Fog

I can’t believe that we’re already up to nine posts on the subject of how Perimenopause Can Suck It. This series started innocently enough with Post #1 and here we are, eight more later.  Just so you know, it’s not over yet.  I still have a few more informative (horrifying?!) posts to bring you up to speed on the amazing miracle that is a woman’s perimenopausal body.  Every dude I know just shuddered.

Perimenopause CAN Suck It #9

Brain Fog

Sounds like a bad B-movie.  Can’t you picture it?  It’s a dark and stormy night…an unsuspecting, regularly ovulating, woman, suddenly starts down a dark and unfamiliar path, exhibiting strange and powerful symptoms of the change of life only to temporarily forget almost everything she’s ever known.  A scream in the darkness: WHAT IS HAPPENING?!  ~cue foreboding music, an uncontrollable need to slap the stupid out of people, and possible hormone patches~

Or something like that…

What the holy hell is brain fog?

Brain fog is simply short-term memory loss that can have its roots in many causes.  Lack of sleep, hormonal changes and stress can all impact this disturbing symptom of perimenopause.

When I first started experiencing brain fog, Garry would note that I seemed “scattered.”  He said I wasn’t finishing sentences or that I seemed to just walk off.  I would brush it off by saying I had a million things on my mind, then promptly forget about it.  The first time he pointed it out to me, we were shopping and I said, “But, I didn’t run into anything!”  Ha!  Showed him!  Right?

When he mentioned it again, I asked for specifics that he could point to as proof for his ridiculous claim.  It wasn’t one thing in particular or anything obvious, like crushing fatigue, that he could cite.  It was more a feeling of being brushed off that he kept noticing.  While I tried to defend myself, I felt I would never purposefully ignore his concerns, I also tried seeing it from his POV.  Brain fog is tricky in the fact that it can come off as not paying attention or being fuzzy in thought or word because you plain forget about things, only to remember later, which then you’ll probably forget again.

It takes the appearance of what my grandmother used to call ‘flighty” behavior.

It wasn’t until I was out on a run and thinking about his complaint that I realized that the scatteredness he was observing was a perimenopausal symptom of brain fog.  THANK GOODNESS!  I would hate to think that not running into things was my new bar of achievement.

When Does a Foggy Brain Occur?

A foggy brain is found to establish itself at different phases of the reproductive life of a middle-aged woman. The stage at which the symptoms show up and the severity of symptoms differ from woman to woman…Women report high cognitive disturbances in the late perimenopause when compared to the early phase. These symptoms further get worse after menopause and improve in the late postmenopausal phase.

Anyone else have an Oh, Shit! moment?  Man, I thought this was gonna be an easy and quick symptom.  Doesn’t look that way, does it?  The article goes on to say the first year post-menopausal is the worst.  STOP IT!

Important Note: if you have a natural transition into menopause, your symptoms will be gradual, but if you have surgery-induced menopause, hang on, baby, because it’s pretty much a tougher transition.

More Important Note: Brain fog is temporary.  HUZZAH!  Finally, something we can hang on to as we slide on skinned knees to the other side.  Hang on!  We’ll all get there and then how we’ll laugh!  Remember that time…no?…okay, nevermind.

What Causes Brain Fog?

Your declining estrogen hormone, lack of sleep based on your skewed hormonal balance, possible medical issues (malfunctioning thyroid) based on your whacked out hormones, and stress bases on all the a fore mentioned.  See a pattern? Waning estrogen is key in brain fog.

What Can You Do For Brain Fog?

* Up the nutritional value of your diet.  Super boost the fuel you’re putting in your perimenopausal-ravaged body (some say supplement with omega 3s, but that’s your call. personally, I don’t) and boost concentration and overall well-being.  I find when I overdo on less nutritious foods, I have trouble concentrating, yet when I’m hyper-aware of my diet and take care to eat my vitamins, I’m much less scattered.

* Get moving.  Y’all know I’m a runner.  When I’m injured and can’t run, it’s not only hard for my physically, but mentally I’m not as sharp.  When I’m not able to run, I bike, lift weights or walk.  The point is to get your body sweaty and your breathing heavy (winkitty wink…that works too).  More movement = better brain flow to the brain = better concentrating and memory mad skilz.

* Hormone replacement.  Big topic.  I hit on this subject HERE.  This is a highly personal choice.  Do your research.  Talk to doctors.  Talk to friends.  Do more research.  I have opted out of hormone replacement; I’m gonna white-knuckle this ride with Garry’s support.  My choice may not be your choice, but whatever your choice may be, let it be an informed one.

* Check in with your doc.  Can’t hurt to be evaluated and to discuss your options.

While I’m fascinated about the changes occurring in my body and my resilience throughout, perimenopause has overstayed its visit.  I’m ready for this bad guest to pack up and leave me (and Garry!) in peace.

I’ve accepted what is happening to my body; it’s out of my control.  The very best we can do in this situation is to arm ourselves with as much knowledge as possible to meet our needs, so we can figure out a plan of action….even if we’ll just forget about making such a plan in 3…2…

Oh, my babies, perimenopause can suck it!

 

 

* Disclaimer: All information in this series is based on my personal experience and is not intended to take the place of your doctor’s advice.

 

~If you can remember what this post is about, please consider sharing on social media. Smooches!~

 

 

 

Comments

  1. “I would hate to think that not running into things was my new bar of achievement.” Hilarious!
    Although my doctor swears I’m not perimenopausal, just thyroid-challenged, I’ve been have “Oh, Sh!T” moments for months. The latest- balancing the check book, making out check, including stamped envelopes, and then sticking it all back in the file. Gotta love those ‘where’s my money’ calls.

    • Ha! The brain fog quietly rolls in….

      When I had my first symptoms of peri, in my 30s, my doc swore the same thing. Of course, now I knew it was wishful thinkin’. ~off to make sure i put the check in the mail and not the drawer~

  2. Oh I know it…I can’t remember the word I wanted, or what I was saying, I can’t finish my own sentences, thank goodness for hubby, he usually can. I have a big vocabulary, so people can’t always figure out what word I was going for…And then I will try to define that word and be unable t to do that well even… I am glad it is temporary, but you can’t take my words from me!

  3. I live in a perpetual state of Brain Fog! Greg and I will be having a conversation and I stop him dead in his tracks because ‘if I don’t say it RIGHT THEN – it’s forever gone!!” It can be so frustrating. I use Luminosity to try and sharpen what brain cells are left. It has helped me! Thanks for sharing the HONEST truth!

  4. I do sudoku, crosswords, I find it hard to do the quest games right now because so much of it is memory driven…I can not remember which spell worked best on the werebeast or the right path to the volcano pool…

  5. Oh nice, lol. I have fibro, so I experience these brain fog symptoms as part of my own ‘normal’. I’m 50, but not even close to peri, according to my doctor, so does this mean that “I didn’t run into anything” could really end up being the best I can do??? Lord, help us all, if that’s the case! Bwaahaahaha! D*mn, that’s a really scary thought! ;D

  6. Sadly my brain is so fogged I have no idea if I’ve left a comment just like this on any of your previous 7 posts about this!
    I had hormone injects to put me in temporary menopause prior to a hysterectomy. I’m now post op and waiting for the effects to wear off so give me (hopefully) a few good years before I start the menopause thing all over again. It’s such fun I hardly know where to begin!!! I do love reading a supportive, you are not alone, post like this now and again. I just wish I could remember what I’ve read, when, by whom and whether I am just repeating myself in terms of comments!

  7. Spam alert!

  8. Dearest Mrs. Tucker to quote you: “I still have a few more informative (horrifying?!) posts to bring you up to speed on the amazing miracle that is a woman’s perimenopausal body. ” MIRACLE! you call this f*cking thing a MIRACLE…boy my brain must be really F*CKING with me today, because not a THING about this mother F*cker feels like a miracle to me. I guess based on your vast knowledge might be able to tell that I am in rage mode today, the sad part is I don’t have a son of a bitch husband at home to take it out on, instead my 23 year old daugher got the hell out of dodge and left her awesome 15 year old brother to deal with this shit all on his own…that’s the worst part for me, he is a very unlike teenager, in the sense that he is not crazy and irritating, a kinder soul you will not meet (I am being very serious) and on “some day” I just want to do so many awful things to that boy or hurt him verbally, because he clicked his plate with a spoon and the sound resonated in my brain like IT WAS inside my brain…so! after never taking an aspirin in my life, now at the tender age of 47 , on days like this I got to the park and chemically cool myself off before I get home, because I tell you, the guilt I feel, after this F*CK of a design calms down is not fun at all. Having yelled at a complete innocent creature makes me feel like the F*CKING bully I never was. This might not be a disease, or even a condition, but WHAT A F*CKED UP DESIGN, by whomever or whatever designed it!!! FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF*CK
    Thank you for letting me share
    by the way Mrs. Tucker I admire your humour and strong will and I am grateful to you for having this forum for bitches like me to vent, maybe forums like this will me instrumental in that when all of this bull*hit is said and done, I will still be a free woman and not six feet under or in jail…let us all Pray.

    • Yikes, T, your symptoms sound a tad more extreme than brain fog! I relate to your daughter who got out of dodge, as I was the oldest by 6 years, so my mom hit menopause at the same time my younger sister hit puberty while I lived away at university!
      As with *ANY* extreme symptoms, you might want to check with your doctor, you might be fighting some depression or anxiety in addition to perimenopausal symptoms (NOT a doctor, but I am married to one, so I go for financial security by reminding everyone to GO TO THEIR DOCTOR!!!!). You don’t have to suffer so much, and certainly not alone!!

  9. T, I am grateful that you stopped by and left this comment. It seems as if your symptoms are extreme (from my non-doc prospective) and I would encourage you to check in with your doc, momma. When I started my journey, my doc advised that if I experienced extreme symptoms there were avenues to pursue; please check with your medical provider about what those may be to help your transition.

    You are right about one thing, let us all pray. On it.

  10. dearest Jo-mama,

    I guess I should’ve post my comments on the “rage post” of course I wasn’t talking about just brain fog, I was talking about the whole enchilada…as for Doctors? no offense to your husband, but don’t get me started, been there done that. Doctors with with specialties from my head to my A…. My sincere opinion is that doctors don’t know shit, they just know how to throw drugs at things that don’t need them…so thanks for the advice, but like I said, been there done that. The extreme of my symptoms is calle PERIMENOPAUSE FROM THE BOWELS OF HELL!!!! that is what my symptoms are…. but all the blood work is just fine (don’t get me wrong, I’m glad the doctors and the labs are putting great things about me on paper from ALL OF THE TESTS I have had in the last NINE YEARS!, but if you’ve had the real perimenopause from hell that some lucky ones like me have , you would not be surprised about my post at all…lucky you
    T

  11. I’m actually not quite there yet, being only 37. It does sound rather extreme! Do you notice anything at all helping? (Aside from “chemically cooling off” that is, just for seriousness-sake!) Have you tried keeping a mood chart along with some basic other things, like food, alcohol, sleep and stress to look for a pattern?
    I am hoping and praying that I am not headed for a perimenopause from hell! I have already begun to notice changes from “the way things were” when I was younger, everything downhill after my second child, around when I turned 35. Given my mother didn’t reach true menopause until around age 52, I am dreading what the next decade and a half may bring!

  12. By the way, you’re absolutely right about one thing- doctors are OFTEN guessing about what might help! I am the first to question EVERYTHING a doc says (most especially the doc I am married to). I guess I am fortunate to have a primary care doc, an OB/GYN and psychiatrist on my side that I trust and have been seeing for years now that can help me be proactive, they work well together, and with a fairly educated guess, haven’t led me astray just yet….

  13. First of all ,thank you for staying opene to keeping on sharing. Second, I should’ve known Jo_mama….you are a newbie and kuddos to you for getting into blogs like this before the eye of sthe storm hits you (or it might not hit you at all!), I whish I would’ve been that smart, but I digress. I don’t endoerse or sell or am affliated with anyhthing, I’m just your regular joe schmoe, HOWEVER, I can recommed a book that has saved my life many times over..”Female Brain Gone Insane” by Mia Lundin. I hope Mrs. Tucker is ok with me posting this. Read it if you can, it is not the ultimate authority on perimeno, but it is way up there. I treated myself with the authorherself for a while and she worked miracles on me, sadly my money ran out for that and bills took precedence. To your comment of: “(Aside from “chemically cooling off” that is, just for seriousness-sake!)” for seriousness sake let me put it out there that you like many others might’ve thought about booze or street drugs when I said that,that is where most people’s minds go to (I don’t do them, not that there is anything wrong with it if that is your thing) the chemical cooling off refers to prespcritions sedatives for when I feel explosive highly suggesed and prescribed by one of your so called doctors (an and very well known doctor nation wide at that, which by the way , it took him YEARS to convince me to take it, until I conceded when I felt I was coming out of my skin with anxiety,which by the way is another nice little symptom brough on by your friendly perimenopasue. The ups and down in Estrogen, causes Cortisol to go out of wack also, and guess what anxiety is A HUGE, SUDDEN RELEASE OF CORTISOL directly into your blood stream.). So! if we are able to set aside any judgment and take what we like and leave the rest, I will be thrilled to share what has helped me to make it to this point so far. At 37, and based on your comments, you have just started to deep in your toes into the “SWAMP THING”, hold on to your britches, because if it gets you like it has me….may the Universe have mercy on your soul. Right off the bat the first thing that comes to mind are the following :
    ALCOHOL , SUGAR, COFFEE, DRUGS AND NICOTINE will put you over the edge…guaranteed, (this goes whithout saying , but I still wiil say it THIS IS MY EXPERIENCE, I AM NOT A SCIENTIST, and only share from my experince. You have time to prepare for this, at 37 I was happy, jouys and free, not a care in the worl and then BAM! the ovaries grand finally started raping me from the inside out once a month, every month until today….but If I can help you or anyone, even if just with words, then maybe this shit,-tornado,- hurricane,- tsunamy,-earthquake- APOCALYPTIC- CONCENTRATION- CAMP, happened for a reason. If you can look into megadosin with powdered Vitamin C, IT IS A MIRACLE!!! OF A VITAMIN,it will do so much to get you ready and carry you thorugh ( I just discovered it and my overall moods and physical ailments have come down to a manageable level (it has been only a month). No regular practicioner will support this, IT IS NOT PROFITABLE!.Having said all of that your body has an inner wisdom, it truly does, so PLEASE, start educating yourself about it and even though you have a team of “doctors” on your side, that you trust (that is hugely awesome) your body wisdom belongs to you, arm yourself with knowledge and not a the mercy of what others think is best for you…follow you gut….you will be fine, but like an over 50 lady told me long time ago “if is FABULOUS on the other side of 50, but there is work involved, being proactive and there is some putting up with it that goes a looooooong way”
    Namaste sister in menopause
    I bow to you
    See? it is 10:35 pm and just by sharing here ,all my pisiosity has gone bye, bye…until next month that is….oh! one more thing, I would’ve never believed a woman could go through this crap , had it not be happening to me. It sound crazy,it feels crazy and it looks crazy! just FYI…in addition, as you can see I am a writter, as the hormones dwindle, you course of action will change, THERE IS NO MAGIC PILL! Support groups have helped me TREMENDOUSLY.

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