Does menopause brain fog make you feel stupid?
Are you embarrassed in social or work settings when you can’t remember the name of someone you know very well, or you can’t recall a common word when you are mid-sentence?
Does it frustrate you when you speak gibberish during a conversation?
Do you walk into a room, and can't remember why you went there?
Are you forever misplacing things like your keys, phone or even your car?
Do you worry that brain fog will be with you permanently?
Right now there are more than 30 million menopausal women just like you in the US alone experiencing memory loss, confusion, lack of concentration and a general decrease in their cognitive abilities – all the symptoms of menopause brain fog.
There is no way of telling how many more women are experiencing this worldwide - It could be in the hundreds of millions, as research has revealed that 2 out of 3 women experience menopause brain fog to some degree.
Does it comfort you to know that you share brain fog with so many other women? Probably not! But it may comfort you to know that you don’t have to experience these symptoms any longer.
Before I tell you how you can relieve these symptoms, it will help you to understand the cause of them. If you understand the cause, the treatment will make sense.
The cause of menopause brain fog
First let me say it is a misnomer to call it menopause brain fog. Brain fog is most common during perimenopause. It is relatively uncommon after menopause (when a woman experiences her final menstrual period).
Prior to perimenopause, your hormones work in harmony by co-existing with one another in a certain ratio. They are said to be balanced. This keeps your body healthy and functioning. During perimenopause, the ratio of estrogen to progesterone significantly changes. Contrary to what you may have been led to believe, menopause brain fog and the other symptoms experienced during perimenopause are not caused by low estrogen levels. Extensive medical research has revealed that estrogen levels are higher during perimenopause than they are in younger women.
Dr Steven R. Goldstein, MD, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at New York University’s Langone Medical Center, says:
It’s the paradox of perimenopause. Estrogen levels go up before they go down.
While estrogen levels are in a higher range during perimenopause than they are prior to perimenopause, they are fluctuating. This means that their levels go up and down. They surge and fall cyclically, while the level of progesterone falls consistently.
As a result, there is a greater percentage of estrogen in your body relative to progesterone. This is known as estrogen dominance.
What does estrogen dominance have to do with menopause brain fog?
Your body functions as a holistic system. Changes in one part of your body affect other parts of your body.
While changes in the levels of estrogen and progesterone affect all of the other hormones in your body, they also affect the levels of chemicals in your brain called neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that transmit thought from one cell to the next, allowing your brain cells to “talk to each other.”
There are 3 neurotransmitters that have a significant affect on how your brain functions: acetylcholine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. If there is a shortage in these neurotransmitters, there may be a decrease in cognitive function, leading to difficulty concentrating and memory lapses.
When the levels of estrogen drop, as it does during one of its frequent fluctuations during perimenopause, the levels of these transmitters drop as well. This makes perimenopausal women susceptible to brain fog experiences.
In addition, estrogen helps regulate the level of blood flow to the brain. When levels of estrogen fall, blood flow to the brain decreases. This affects concentration and memory as well. Low levels of progesterone also directly contributes to poor memory and concentration difficulties.
How to relieve menopause brain fog
The most effective way to relieve brain fog during perimenopause is to get the levels of your hormones tested and re-balanced. This is a costly option and may be beyond the financial means of many women. There will be lab fees (hundreds of dollars) to test your hormone levels and physician fees to help you re-balance them. Often this is not covered by health insurance policies.
A safe, effective and inexpensive way to relieve your menopause brain fog is to use progesterone therapy – self administered natural progesterone cream. Natural progesterone cream will increase your progesterone level and help to regulate your estrogen levels.
This post is reproduced with the permission of Menopause Matters.
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