Reasons You May Have Brain Fog
If you’ve ever had a day where your brain just feels tired, to the point that you have trouble remembering things accurately or reasoning, you may be experiencing something known as brain fog. While it’s not a medical condition, brain fog symptoms are those that affect your ability to think clearly. In the moment, you might feel confused or disoriented. It can even prevent you from putting your thoughts into words, which can lead to feelings of anxiety or fear.
Fortunately, there are several things we know about overall brain health and brain fog causes. So, if you’re experiencing it, see if one of these factors is what’s causing your brain fog.
When you’re carrying a baby, your body goes through a lot of changes, quickly. Some of those changes release chemicals in the body to protect your baby and help them thrive – but this process can also bring on brain fog. That’s one of the reasons many women find it difficult to remember things while they’re pregnant.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
MS is a disease that alters the way your brain communicates with your body. Because it affects your central nervous system, many people with MS also have difficulty with language, remembering things, paying attention or planning. One possible treatment for MS includes learning and memory exercises but having a therapist can also help you find ways to cope.
Whether over-the-counter or prescribed, medication can cause all sorts of side effects including, in some cases, brain fog. If you’ve started taking a new medication and it seems to be affecting your ability to think clearly or remember things, consult your doctor. When you do, be sure to clearly detail your list of medications and any of the symptoms you’ve experienced.
Cancer and Cancer Treatments
You may have heard of “chemo brain,” which is a term used to describe a brain fog-like effect that results sometimes from chemotherapy. During chemotherapy, which is a cancer treatment involving the use of strong drugs, brain fog can set in, causing issues with remembering things or completing tasks. In most cases, it resolves quickly and on its own, but in rare instances, chemo patients experience long-term effects.
About a year after women experience their last period, they may find that they have more trouble remembering things. The onset of menopause can cause symptoms like hot flashes, which involve bouts of sweating, spiked heart rates and elevated body temperature. While there isn’t one designated brain fog medication, in these cases, hormone supplements and other medications can help to alleviate symptoms.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
CFS causes your mind and body to feel tired for long stretches of time. It can also lead to feelings of confusion, forgetfulness or even the inability to stay focused. CFS doesn’t have a cure, but can be treated with medication, exercise and/or therapy.
Common symptoms of depression include fatigue or lack of motivation, which could cause your brain to feel foggy. Depression-induced brain fog might also stem from the way that the mental illness affects your brain. Trying depression treatments, like medication or speaking to a therapist, can help the symptoms subside.
Getting enough sleep for your brain to function properly is important, but there’s such a thing as too much of a good thing! Ideally, 7 to 9 hours will help you feel rested. Anything more can make you feel foggy. If you’re having trouble getting high-quality rest when it comes time to sleep, try avoiding caffeine and alcohol for several hours before bedtime and stay away from screen time, as well. If you suspect that your brain fog is caused by sleep apnea or insomnia, discuss your concerns with your doctor to be safe.
For those with lupus, the disease can cause the immune system to attack the body. As many as half of people with lupus also report struggles with memory, confusion and concentration. Again, there’s no specific cure, although sometimes, medication or therapy can help.
When it comes to allergies and brain fog, the things you eat can trigger brain fog. The most common brain fog-related allergies include sugar substitutes like aspartame, as well as peanuts and dairy. Deficiencies, like a lack of B-12, can also bring about symptoms.
If you’re experiencing signs of brain fog, it’s important to communicate your symptoms with your doctor, as well as any possible triggers. With their help, you may be able to pinpoint the cause and create a treatment plan for how to treat your brain fog symptoms.