Period Brain Fog: Why It Happens and How to Find PMS Relief


Every month, about two to three days before my period, I experience the dreaded brain fog. It’s similar to how I feel when I oversleep: I can’t think as fast or clearly as I usually do, my memory is a bit fuzzy, and I’m just a little out of sorts.

Experts use terminology brain fog Describes a series of temporary “cognitive difficultiessuch as inattention, forgetfulness and mild confusion. Brain fog is not a medical diagnosis; rather, it is a symptom associated with a range of health conditions, including pregnancy, depressed, Long COVIDYes, PMS (premenstrual syndrome).

Research on PMS-related brain fog is limited, but interestingly, going through it can be a struggle, Jennifer Rowlands, MD, an ob-gyn who specializes in holistic medicine, tells SELF.For example, mental cloudiness and difficulty concentrating may hurt your work performanceas previously reported by SELF, and Research suggest that PMS symptoms, including cognitive symptoms such as confusion, also affect relationships.

The simplest tasks for me — like sending an email — suddenly became so difficult that I sometimes felt like I didn’t have the funds to have simple conversations. “Dealing with this every month is excruciating, but there are definitely things you can do to help,” says Dr. Roelands. More info coming soon, but first…

Why does menstruation trigger brain fog?

I always attribute premenstrual brain fog to the hormonal fluctuations that occur in my cycle. I think the mental sludge has to do with the cyclical changes of estrogen and progesterone. According to Dr. Roelands, it might not be that far off. Menstruation can cause a variety of intense and rapid hormonal changes associated with a range of symptoms (aka PMS), As previously reported by SELF.

Estrogen and progesterone are also known to play a role in brain function and cognition, but specifically how changes in these hormones directly contribute to brain fog has been unclear, Cheruba Prabakar, MDObstetrician-Gynecologist and Chief Medical Advisor for Health Ingredients very pure, tell myself. The evidence is mixed: A 2017 Small Study concluded that there was no relationship between brain fog and the hormonal changes that lead to menstruation, while Analysis in 2020 suggests that it is too early to declare whether and how menstrual-related hormonal changes affect cognitive function.

Although the research on PMS and brain fog is inconclusive, many reproductive health Experts, including those interviewed by SELF for this story, say it’s interesting that people commonly report experiencing brain fog before and during menstruation. According to Dr. Roelands and Dr. Prabakar, the current theory is that the feeling of mental fog may be due to all the dramatic changes in hormone, neurotransmitter and insulin levels that occur during the menstrual cycle.

and also yes Some data to support this theory: Research Estrogen and progesterone have been shown to affect neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin, that deal with executive function (a complex set of cognitive abilities including working memory and problem solving). study also linked low estrogen levels to cognitive impairment, while higher estrogen levels were associated with improved memory with studyThere are estrogen receptors throughout the brain, so it makes sense that your cognitive function would be affected by the drop in estrogen that occurs during PMS, says Dr. Roelands.Experts also know that cognitive problems are common in menopause People with chronically low estrogen levels.


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