Complete Symptom Guide to Menopause Brain Fog | Stella

Menopause and brain fog


Is there anything more frustrating than menopause and brain fog? Your brain feels more like mush rather than the sharp and useful tool you’ve been used to. You are not the only one. While going through menopause, many people experience forgetting words, or why they’ve come into a room or lose focus during a particularly tough task. 

Menopause and mental confusion are very real and it is more common than you’d think in the earlier stages of menopause.


Brain fog is the popular name for many cognitive symptoms during menopause, including forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating, inability to think clearly or problem-solve, and confusion

It’s sometimes also described as mental fatigue. It can interfere with work and other important parts of your life depending on its severity. It can feel devastating but it’s not likely to be a permanent fixture in your life and typically gets better as you progress through menopause.

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  • Brain fog tends to happen most during perimenopause and within the first year after your periods stop
  • Other research has shown that women within 12 months of menopause scored the lowest on memory, attention, verbal learning, and motor function tests compared to those in late reproductive – before any changes in major changes in your menstrual cycle – and late menopausal transition stages
  • Some research has found that other menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes and sleep problems can affect cognitive function

Read more about the stages of menopause.


Memory issues

Lack of mental clarity

Poor concentration

Inability to focus

Read more about anxiety and sleep issues in our symptoms library.


1. Exercise regularly. Aim for 75 minutes of intensive or 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week

2. Eat healthily. Especially a Mediterranean diet

3. Learning something new. An instrument, a language, puzzles, crosswords, or reading, can help boost brain health

4. Sleep well. Good quality sleep set regular bed and wake times

5. Reduce stress. Try mindfulness or yoga


HT is known to improve sleep, mood and hot flashes during menopause.

While HT is highly effective for many symptoms of menopause, current research about its effect on brain fog and other cognitive symptoms is mixed. HT is therefore currently not started as a treatment for brain fog alone. Sometimes it may help your brain fog if you are struggling with other symptoms, such as low mood and anxiety, that affect your concentration.

HT isn’t suitable for everyone, read more about HT risks and benefits.


Declining levels of estrogen and progesterone can impact your cognitive function. Their fluctuations during perimenopause are partly responsible for brain fog symptoms.

Also, your cognition can be affected by stress, poor diet, lack of exercise and tiredness from poor sleep, which is also a problem during the menopause journey.

Many people during menopause report that they can forget words in the middle of speaking, or forget important things, such as a colleague’s name or appointments.

It is not clear why this happens but research shows a possible link between estrogen levels and the neurotransmitter systems, the chemical messengers that aid memory and processing.

Research shows that brain fog often improves in postmenopause. Lifestyle change is key to keeping your brain healthy. Try to eat well, get good sleep, exercise and manage stress.

Exercise your brain and memory with crossword puzzles – Wordle is a great start! Or try quizzes, socialize more, learn a new language or take up a new hobby.

Memory issues and brain fog during menopause are common, especially if you’re forgetting where you’ve put your mobile phone or glasses!

It’s a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider if your brain fog starts to negatively affect your daily life or if you are worried about your symptoms.

Focusing on my diet and foods that help the brain has helped me a great deal.”


  • Healthline: Brain fog
  • Healthline: Menopause brain fog
  • Thurston, Rebecca C. PhD Cognition and the menopausal transition: is perception reality?, Menopause: December 2013 – Volume 20 – Issue 12 – p 1231-1232 doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000000137
  • Weber MT, Rubin LH, Maki PM. Cognition in perimenopause: the effect of transition stage. Menopause. 2013;20(5):511-517. doi:10.1097/gme.0b013e31827655e5


My perimenopause brain left me fearing I had Alzheimer’s. Read more

Woman in office

How to boost confidence at work during menopause. Read more

HT risks and benefits Read more

Menopause care to help you feel better

  • Learn your menopause stage
  • Virtual visits with board-certified clinicians experienced in women’s health
  • Prescriptions for FDA-regulated hormone therapy
  • Holistic lifestyle guidance with the Stella app