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Brain fog

(24 Posts)
GottaPickaPocketorTwo Wed 26-Jun-19 13:25:49

I'm 50 this year, and have DC1 age 10 and DC2 aged 6. I am post-menopausal (last period was around 4 years ago).

I feel like I am living day to day without all of my previous mental capacity. It feels like my mind is empty, or more accurately 'foggy'. I am constantly forgetful - not just occasionally, but all the time.

I work part time in a fairly responsible job, that my younger self (pre-DC) would have handled with no problem whatsoever. I now struggle to remember names, dates, actions (I can't even remember if I have done things or not the previous day). I don't just mean occasionally, all of the time. I also don't pay attention to details, whereas I always used to be annoyingly detailed focused!

I think it started when I had DC1, and was severely sleep deprived for a couple of years, and that happened again with DC2. I cannot use that excuse any more - I now do get enough sleep, I think - although I do seem to feel tired a lot.

I know that menopause is often blamed for memory loss, but I am really starting to worry. It feels as if I have never recovered from the sleep deprivation of having a young baby.

Do others feel like this? What could be causing it? What can I do to improve my alertness/memory? Are there supplements, or mental strategies I could use?

Any advice would be welcome.

OP’s posts: |
Egghead68 Wed 26-Jun-19 14:57:50

I have the same symptoms. Memory does get worse with age and it’s normal to start forgetting names etc from around 50.
It’s good you are sleeping better. It’s important to exercise regularly and watch your stress levels. If you are depressed or anxious get treatment for these as they can interfere with memory. Don’t take on too much. Make time for yourself. Make sure you are getting enough B vitamins and iron. Use diaries, smartphone, shopping lists, alarms etc to compensate. Have a routine. Lots of people in their 40s or 50s start worrying that they have a dementia as their parents do. This can understandably lead to anxiety about any memory problems as well as a tendency to be hyper vigilant for them. These things in themselves can also interfere with memory.
If you’ve tried all these suggestions and things haven’t improved I would suggest seeing your GP.

EssentialHummus Wed 26-Jun-19 15:01:09

Bit of a MN cliche, but get your thyroid checked. I’m hypothyroid and was very foggy pre-diagnosis.

Egghead68 Wed 26-Jun-19 15:01:27

P.S. things that often cause memory probs in otherwise healthy people in their 40s: stress, chronic pain, sleep problems, nutritional deficiencies, depression & anxiety. It’s really rare to get dementia at that age and if wouldn’t generally be a dementia where memory goes first. There are other less common causes too.

Egghead68 Wed 26-Jun-19 15:02:57

Yes thyroid, ME, fibromyalgia and some autoimmune disorders can make your brain go foggy I believe.

GottaPickaPocketorTwo Wed 26-Jun-19 16:46:28

Thanks everyone for your suggestions.

I don't get a lot (any) exercise, and I am currently fairly stressed through work pressure and a family bereavement, but I have felt like this for a long time before that.

I don't have pain, anxiety or depression. I think I eat fairly well, although I have put on 10kg since menopause and could really try a bit harder to lose some of that.

I do use lists and diaries, both for home and work, and this gets me through - but I often have trouble thinking of things that need to go on the list - then I'll remember something, and then forget it again!

Anyway, I will monitor a bit more closely, and if I still feel like it's getting worse rather than better, I will see my GP.

Thanks for your help.

OP’s posts: |
Egghead68 Wed 26-Jun-19 16:55:46

Sounds like some lifestyle changes (well an exercise regime) would be helpful in any case then. Sorry to hear about the bereavement. I hope you feel less foggy soon (with your GP’s help if necessary).

PenguinsRabbits Wed 26-Jun-19 17:13:06

I am mid 40s and get this - its strange as I had very academic job before then suddenly brain starting going. I couldn't remember what the manager was called despite seeing him everyday for 2 years, I couldn't work out how to do things I had done a year earlier. Today had e-mail saying I filled in form and I have no recollection of that at all, I struggle knowing what year or month it is, I couldn't remember address of our other house recently. People on here have told me its normal with anxiety or peri-menopause so maybe its that. Blood tests are normal though hormone tests lost and adrenal gland was enlarged. I am awaiting results of brain MRI but if nothing shows on that then presumably its a peri-menopause thing.

PenguinsRabbits Wed 26-Jun-19 17:14:25

I previously had the odd stress comment but now I am hardly working and same symptoms so not stress. Not depressed. Am anxious.

PenguinsRabbits Wed 26-Jun-19 17:17:29

I get the wrong words for things too - I don't notice though until people look at me and ask me what I am talking about or start giggling - I asked DH to move a toy car yesterday, it was a boat.

Egghead68 Wed 26-Jun-19 17:30:19

I have all the same symptoms penguinsrabbits. My spelling has gone to pot. I often say or write words I don’t mean. Names are a non-starter. I hope nothing sinister shows on your MRI - do let us know. I am contemplating having a private one but, as I work in a related field, I know that most cases are just stress etc and, if they are not, usually nothing can be done anyhow.

eurochick Wed 26-Jun-19 20:58:52

This sounds very familiar to me, op I'm a bit younger than you, peri menopausal and have a four year old. I feel like it all went to pot when I had my daughter. I was very sharp before that. I had pregnancy insomnia followed by a tiny premmie that I couldn't sleep train as she really needed the feeds. I want my old mind back!

PenguinsRabbits Wed 26-Jun-19 22:12:15

Thanks EggHead Will update if I get news, wouldn't be surprised if its clear which will be slightly depressing too as will mean nothing they can do. It's more for lack of balance and stroke like symptoms than the confusion but all the brain or lack of it now I had some private tests done before (due to bleeding) and they are very thorough but costs a fortune, had work insurance then but some bills were coming in at £2k. Did do more tests than NHS and picked up things NHS missed and gave me treatment which worked. But a lot of women seem to have brain fog around this age so suspect its peri menopause. Seen a few saying HRT helps 50%. Doctors say I am not peri but periods every 2 weeks atm and right age so think I am.

I did get it for a year or so after child but then came back before disappearing again. Suspect its hormone changes but no doctor just going by number of women on menopause threads reporting same. Wouldn't bother paying for MRI unless other symptoms. Quite depressing to think may not get better, would like to try HRT but will see MRI results first then need to persuade doctor.

swingofthings Thu 27-Jun-19 09:19:02

Gotta, I'm convinced that the changes in our hormones during the menopause mean that we don't have the ability to cope with stress as we used to and this impact on our ability o fall into deep sleep at night. It is known th the older we get, the less deep sleep we get but I believe there is radical change during the menopause. It is the on going lack of deep sleep, nights after nights that bring on this brain fogness, lethargy and physical à he's.

The only way to improve it is to reduce stress, ie. mental stimulation, including from noise. Very hard to do when we have busy lives to live.

despondentatwork Fri 28-Jun-19 23:51:35

This happened to me OP, last year aged 43. Really truly thought I had early onset dementia. Turned out my Folate levels were v low & honestly after a few days of supplements (same dose as in pregnancy) I felt way better. I still feel that there is an underlying level of brain fog & fatigue, but not as bad.

Egghead68 Sat 29-Jun-19 02:42:28

PenguinsRabbits it will definitely be good news and not depressing if it is clear. There’s not much they can do for many of the things that show on scans. I am told (and dearly hope) that perimenopausal brain fog, if that’s what we have, reverses after menopause. Working on reducing anxiety and stress can also help a lot. I’m crossing my fingers for a normal brain scan for you (even if you’re not!)

Egghead68 Sat 29-Jun-19 02:45:11

P.S. posting at this hour due to yet another night of perimenopausal night sweats and insomnia!

Egghead68 Sat 29-Jun-19 02:48:32

Pps lack of balance and stroke-like symptoms can obs have many causes but are sometimes “functional”, I believe, I.e. with no organic cause and probably loosely stress-related. I hope that’s the case for you PenguinsRabbits.

PenguinsRabbits Wed 03-Jul-19 14:15:04

Thanks EggHead Just got MRI back and it just found scattered white matter in brain and apparently that's not treatable and the lady (A&E doctor) said they don't know what that means, possibly mini-strokes.

PenguinsRabbits Wed 03-Jul-19 14:15:32

No tumours or sign of full stroke.

Egghead68 Wed 03-Jul-19 18:00:31

Hi - I posted on your other thread. Sorry your scan wasn’t clear but glad it’s not worse. If it is small vessel disease that can cause balance and cognitive changes. I hope you can talk it through with someone face to face soon. I suspect I have the same but won’t bother with a scan as is untreatable anyhow (and so I can keep kidding myself it’s menopause-related).

PenguinsRabbits Wed 03-Jul-19 18:28:14

Thanks - yes hopefully can see neurologist at some point. I was hoping they could do a bit but sounds like I'm destined to have the brain of an 80 year old. Still at least it wasn't worse.

KoalasandRabbit Tue 24-Mar-20 15:24:03

NC from Penguin. I finally got to see neurology on NHS. Spine MRI was clear apart from very minor things you would expect. The brain the neurologist thinks is small vessel disease. She has signed off now, still having balance and bladder issues but the NHS is facing a lot bigger issues than mine atm and at least I got the spine MRI done and issues there ruled out. May go private once the coronavirus crisis is over though NHS doctors have all said it's not treatable. They told me to take folic acid as that was very low.

dontaskformedicaladviceonmn Tue 24-Mar-20 16:46:57

Do others feel like this? What could be causing it?

Mine was caused- at several different times over the last 15 years- by the following:

Underactive thyroid
Iron deficiency anaemia
B12 deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency.

I now have treatment for all the above & am much improved.

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