Brain fog and fatigue: how to honor where you are now on your menopause journey

‘Brain fog’ and overwhelming fatigue. They’ve captured my attention because they’ve started to interfere with my quality of life. 

Part of the reason I started this website was to help myself. I never do anything without thinking of how I can help someone else, so helping myself is always a good place to start. If these are your menopause symptoms, read on…

I have a hard time getting up in the morning and I feel exhausted when I do. Sometimes the fatigue is so bad I’ll have to go back to bed at some point during the day. I feel wooly-headed and I’ll walk into a room and forget why I went there. Several thoughts will come to me and I know I have to be patient and write down the ones I can remember before they’re gone.

Strangely enough, I haven’t found much information about how to solve ‘brain fog’ in my menopause library of books. I did on-line research and one website described brain fog as “due to fluctuating hormone levels during perimenopause and menopause. Lowered estrogen levels may cause mood fluctuations and unclear thinking, depression, and anxiety.” This speaks to finding ways to balance hormones to even out the spikes in estrogen.

I recently joined a menopause forum to see what other women were experiencing re: brain fog and fatigue.

Here is how several women described their symptoms:

“When it first started, I thought I was losing my mind. At work I couldn’t remember how to do things I’d been doing for years. Some days it just feels like I’m not fully awake – can’t see straight and just want to go back to bed. Some days I can’t hold a rational conversation. I can’t find the right words or I ramble and have no control over it. Makes me feel really dumb and I’ve lost much of the confidence I used to have in myself, especially in business situations.”

“I have been in a state of brain fog for at least a year now. I lack motivation, drive, and can wander around the house for hours doing very little. Not like my old self of having to be the workaholic and perfectionist. Those days seem gone. But maybe that’s OK too. I think perhaps this time of life is one for us to go inward and let go of the past drives and needs to be perfect. Also I finally gave myself permission to just be- that took awhile but now I accept it. So I keep myself on as even and low key mode as possible- trying not to add any stress to my life.”

“For me the brain fog feels like my head is filled with cotton!! Feeling spacey is a good way to describe it and I do think when it happens my eyes seem not as clear…I know my head is not!!”

Here’s what I posted today on www.power-surge.com – an excellent menopause forum about brain fog:

“I cannot believe women are meant to suffer like this at menopause. Of course, not everyone does, but why does anyone? I’m 52 and my main menopause symptoms are brain fog and fatigue. I’ve never had a hot flash or night sweat; I’ve had mood swings, but not frequently.

So under pre- menopause circumstances, what would my symptoms mean? To me they would feel like extreme sleep deprivation – I remember feeling like this when my son was a baby. Taken collectively, would brain fog and fatigue be a signal from my body to make some lifestyle changes?

Instead of choosing hormone replacement menopause drugs, would I be honoring my body to get the sleep I need even if it seems excessive, avoid alcohol and stimulents like coffee to not artificially force my body into another state, take C and B-vitamins daily to help my body, mind and emotions handle stress better, eat more vegetables and fruit (fiber, vitamins and minerals), regularly (weekly) cleanse toxins from my system, exercise by goiing for a walk every morning – even when I don’t feel like it?

I know I felt much better during the month I was juicing fresh veggies and drinking a glass of fresh juice twice daily. I feel better when I have an uninterrupted night’s sleep. I feel better when I get off my rebounder after just 10 minutes and I’m breathing fast. I feel better after a cleanse day. I feel better when I take 2 ounces of a B-vitamin tonic – one in the morning and one in the afternoon, or before bed. I feel better after I meditate for 15 minutes. I feel better when I listen to Mozart!! I feel better when I reassure myself that I can do one thing at a time – I don’t have to load up and multi-task. I know I feel better when I use hormone-balancing aromatherapy oils in a massage oil after my morning shower.

Putting it all together, it seems like I need to have the confidence and determination to follow-through to do what I know makes me feel better. I also think it’s OK to accept that I can slow down and not have to ‘achieve’ quite so much in order for it to be a good day. I think gratitude plays a role too. Even though I want more, I am grateful and happy with all that I have in my life.”

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Leave A Reply (3 comments so far)


  1. “E”
    6 years ago

    I am going through Perimenopause..I am 50 now..the restless legs started two years ago..my memory has really gotten bad in the last year or so now, cramps are really bad also-my flow is getting heavier with clots-I have adenomyosis also which does not help the cramps and pain..although the flow only lasts about three days-and my cycle takes it’s time to ebb out totally..I feel like I’m having PMS three weeks out of the month with a week devoted to my cycle..which lately has been at least 12 days late or less..I have migraines just before and right after my cycle..my breasts are so sore I feel like I’m pregnant-just leaning over is excruciating..and sometimes I think I’m going crazy-my husband thinks the same..I go off on him in my mood swings-or anyone who is present-and afterwards I wonder am I now Psycho for having done that..I’ve went from a size 5 to a size 12 in over a two year period-I’ve never been heavy in my life til now..I’ve gained at least 50 pounds..I’m depressed all the time-have lack of drive or motivation..and am not sure what to do..I rarely have hot flashes-but I have extreme anxiety attacks with claustrophobia..and feel like I’m having a heart attack when this happens-I can be awake when this happens or sound asleep-and suddenly awake..I’ve lost all interest in sex..I take multi-vitamins and try to eat right-I’ve tried exercise which I’ve always done routinely in my life-but just no longer have the desire or drive to continue with it…I quit my job because the stress level was so high-I could no longer continue there short of a heart attack…God, I know it sounds awful but for me this is how it has been..I honestly don’t know what to do as I am now opposite of what I use to be as a person..


  2. Kristine Hitt
    2 years ago

    I’m sorry you are going though this but I almost could have written this myself. I’ve had a few hot flashes and had bad insomnia. The brain fog is crippling. I stumbled on here because I’m about to try essential oils. My son is buying me some for mothers day. I wish there were answers to this and now help. When I tell people how I feel including doctors, I get a perplexed response. Is this new? Is this something unknown because we have more stresses upon us? I wonder!


    • Wendy Vineyard
      2 years ago

      My book Powerful Habits to Grow Younger Every Day is being published in July 2015. In it, I devote a chapter to balanced hormones. To receive a free downloadable version of my book after it is published register at this website: http://www.powerhabits31.com! If you have menopause challenges that affect your quality of life you’ve probably either got an over-worked liver, stressed adrenal glands, low-functioning thyroid – or all three – many women do. You will benefit from working with a practitioner/health coach who can work with you over several months. No one has to suffer through menopause. And yes, stress is a huge factor in a miserable menopause.If you want to know how we can work together to make this the best time of your life, please send me an email: wendy@wendyvineyard.com.



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