Mayo Clinic Minute: Does menopause cause brain fog?

Menopause can bring on an array of symptoms from hot flashes and night sweats to weight gain. But can it cause problems with memory?

Mayo Clinic’s Dr. Juliana Kling, assistant director of Mayo Clinic’s Women’s Health Center, explains the connection between menopause and brain fog.

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Brain fog is a condition often used by women during menopause to describe problems with memory, concentration and focus. It can create concerns that it could be an early sign of dementia or other serious issues. Dr. Kling says patients going through menopause often ask whether their brain fog is a real thing.

“Yes, it is. When I tell women that in clinic, they’re like, ‘Oh, thank goodness, I’m not getting dementia, right?’ I think a lot of us go there, that it is a reflection of something bad,” says Dr. Kling.

Experts say studies show evidence of brain fog during menopause

Dr. Kling says studies have shown evidence of brain fog during menopause.

“Multiple studies have shown cognitive complaints by women that are going through the menopause transition both subjectively like, ‘Oh gosh, I keep forgetting where my keys are.’ And also objectively when they do cognitive tests, they see changes in executive function,” says Dr. Kling.

Dr. Kling says brain fog could be related to sleep disturbances, another common symptom of menopause. She says hormonal therapy may help ease symptoms.

“We don’t have enough studies to say hormone therapy is definitely going to treat those, but many women, once their hot flashes and night sweats are better controlled, their sleep is better, their mood is better. Because they’re on treatment for their menopause, they’ll notice improvement in their cognitive complaints too,” she says.

The good news, brain fog appears to be temporary. Dr. Kling says tests for brain fog after the menopause transition do show improvement. Check with your clinician to find out what treatment is right for you.

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