What Causes The "Menopause Fog"?

Reported by: Lauren Gawthrop
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Updated: 5/23/2012 7:19 am
Post-menopausal women sometimes complain of feeling a step behind, and it's not just in their head.

Doctors say the "menopause fog" can be caused by a variety of factors. The first cause is a fluctuation in hormones, which can affect brain function and word-finding ability.
 
Hormonal hot flashes can also play a role. If the woman experiences them at night she may not realize it, though her sleep may still suffer, and she could wake up the next day feeling tired and in a "fog".

"Menopause fog" can also be brought on by a poor diet or vitamin deficiency. A diet high in Omega-3 fatty acids may help lift "the fog." Doctors also suggest B-complex vitamins, which have been shown to aid brain function.

Regular exercise benefits the brain, too, but the key is to get good restorative sleep and keep your hormones under control.

"For women who have wide fluctuations where their hormones are high one day and low the next, it is important to talk to the doctor about the options to control those wide shifts because in some women it triggers migraine headaches or the executive functions of being very alert causing this fogginess," said Dr. Holly Thacker of the Cleveland Clinic's Women's Health Department.

Dr. Thacker says if you think you're experiencing menopause fog, see your physician. Your doctor may be able to suggest some additional lifestyle changes that could help.
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