Understanding Period Brain Fog – How to Make it Disappear

Written by Donika Vata | Last updated on August 4, 2023

Have you ever experienced the frustrating haze of a foggy mind when on your period? Get ready to explore the interesting world of PMS brain fog, and tighten your seatbelts. 

Yes, you read that right. Your monthly visitor may be bad for both your mental and physical health. Many women describe experiencing this momentary mental cloudiness and inability to concentrate just before and during their periods.

Menstruation Illustration

When hormone levels go up and down, it's normal to have trouble remembering and concentrating for a short time. 

The question, "But why is this so important?" may arise. 

Understanding hormonal fluctuations and how they affect cognitive performance is crucial for overcoming period brain fog. If you know the truth about what causes your period, you can better deal with the physical and mental shifts that occur each month. 

So, come with us as we figure out what causes PMS brain fog and how to deal with it effectively.

Understanding Menstruation and the Menstrual Cycle

uterus and ovary model

Menstruation is a natural part of a woman's life with a uterus; it often starts around adolescence and continues until menopause. A menstrual cycle is a series of physical and chemical changes that happen every month and set the stage for pregnancy.

During ovulation, an egg is released from an ovary, which starts the monthly cycle. If the egg doesn't get fertilized, the thicker lining of the uterus that forms in anticipation of pregnancy is lost through the vagina. Menstrual blood, or a period, is the result of this shedding.

The emotional and physical changes that occur throughout a woman's menstrual cycle are the result of hormonal shifts.

Some of the symptoms that can come from these changes are breast tenderness, mood swings, bloating, and cravings. 

People have different cycles, both in terms of how long they last and how often they happen.

By understanding their menstrual cycle, a woman may keep tabs on her fertility, manage her birth control options, and identify any health problems early on. It also promotes empathy by enabling everyone to acknowledge the unique experiences and challenges they face. 

What is Period Brain Fog?

Period Brain Fog

Some people have what is called "period brain fog" during their monthly menstrual cycle. Affected individuals may have short-term mental fogginess, disorientation, or forgetfulness.

During this time, it may be hard for people to focus, make decisions, or remember things. They may sense that their concentration is wavering or that their thoughts are cloudier than usual. Period fog is annoying and gets in the way of daily life. 

Theoretically, fluctuating levels of estrogen and progesterone may have a role in the period of brain fog [1]. When these changes in hormones are combined with the brain's chemicals and the way it normally works, they may cause cognitive alterations.

Even though period brain fog is bothersome, it only lasts for a short time and generally goes away when hormone levels return to normal. Taking care of yourself by getting enough sleep, cutting stress, and living a healthy lifestyle might help lower symptoms.

Causes of Period Brain Fog

Period Brain Fog

Hormonal fluctuations throughout the menstrual cycle are to blame for the foggy mental state many women report experiencing at this time. Changes in hormone levels can affect how well you think and remember things.

It may make it harder to think clearly, remember details, and concentrate. Hormones have the potential to disrupt the brain's own chemical processes that keep us focused and rational.

Periods, changes in sleep patterns, stress, and physical discomfort are all potential contributors to a foggy mind. [2]

You should know that period brain fog affects different women in different ways and that not all women have it. By finding out what causes period brain fog, we can better deal with and control its effects.

Signs of Period Brain Fog

During the menstrual cycle, you may experience a variety of symptoms that suggest brain fog. Common symptoms include

  • Distraction or difficulty to focus on a single task

  • Reduced mental efficiency.

  • Impaired recollection due to forgetfulness.

  • At a loss of words

  • A diminishing capacity for coherent thought.

  • Reduced productivity.

  • Inability to make a decision or find a solution.

  • Decreased cognitive performance.

  • Negative feelings include annoyance, confusion, or anger.

Keep in mind that some people may not have any of these symptoms at all and that each person's symptoms may be different in how bad they are and how long they last.

If you or someone you know is having trouble thinking clearly when they are menstruating, knowing these signs may help.

Science Behind Period Brain Fog

premenstrual syndrome

Hormonal fluctuations and their potential effect on cognitive function are being investigated by scientists as a possible explanation for period brain fog.

During the course of a woman's menstrual cycle, estrogen and progesterone levels both rise and fall. Like the rest of the body, the brain feels the effects of these hormones too.

Estrogen, for example, has been shown to help the brain and improve memory. Neurotransmitter systems that control mood and thought, like serotonin and dopamine, are affected.

Changes in estrogen levels have been linked to changes in how brain cells communicate with each other and, by extension, to changes in how people think.

Progesterone, on the other hand, might help you relax and alleviate stress. This may have an impact on neuronal excitability and the accompanying cognitive processes.

Some of the signs of brain fog, like not being able to focus and having less mental clarity, may be caused by changes in hormone levels, which can throw off the delicate balance of neurotransmitters.

Hormonal fluctuations associated with menstruation have been linked to alterations in sleep, stress, and inflammation. All of these have the potential to impact cognition.

Researchers have connected hormonal fluctuations and their influence on neurotransmitters to period brain fog, but they have yet to pinpoint the precise causes of this condition. [3]

Factors Contributing to Period Brain Fog

During their menstrual cycle, some women have cognitive impairment and difficulty in mental focus. Several factors contribute to this phenomenon. 

Changing hormone levels, especially estrogen, and progesterone, are a major cause of cognitive problems. Changes in hormones have been linked to problems with how neurotransmitters work, which can make it hard to concentrate, remember things, and think. [4]

Changes in serotonin levels could also affect mental health. Sleep problems, pain, tiredness, and stress all play a part as well. 

As a result of these factors, one could experience a decline in cognitive abilities, such as memory loss and slowed processing of new information. If you know and understand these factors, you may be able to come up with effective ways to deal with and manage period brain fog.

Coping Strategies for Period Brain Fog

The cognitive impairment of PMS-related brain fog may be difficult to manage, but there are several methods that might help.

It's crucial to prioritize one's own health and well-being first and foremost. Following a healthy lifestyle, like getting enough sleep, eating well, and working out daily, may help improve cognitive ability. 

To deal with stress, you might also find it helpful to do activities like meditating or taking deep breaths.

The consequences of brain fog may be minimized by creating routines and breaking down difficult tasks into smaller, more manageable chunks. 

Using calendars, to-do lists, and notes can help you keep track of your tasks and decide which ones are most important. Focus and attention can be improved by taking breaks often and focusing on the present moment.

Friends, family, or a health care worker who understands and can help can be very helpful. Talking freely about the problems could help people understand it better and lead to changes in habits and expectations of routines.

Lastly, you might want to try other ways to improve your cognitive abilities, like brain-training exercises, puzzles, or memory games. Listen to your body, treat yourself gently, and experiment with different methods to find out which ones work best for you during times of brain fog.

Managing Work and Productivity During Period Brain Fog

Brain fog during your period can make it hard to work and get things done, but there are ways to make this time of the month easier.

1. If you're having trouble meeting your deadlines or keeping up with your workload, it's best to be upfront about it with your supervisor or colleagues as soon as possible.

2. Prioritization is crucial in this case. Set jobs in order of importance and only work on them when you can pay close attention. It might help to break up big or scary jobs into smaller pieces that are easier to handle.

time organization

3. It's important to take small breaks at certain times during the day. Pay attention to what you need, and if you're tired, take a break. Adding short bouts of physical activity, like stretching, can also help improve focus and energy.

businesswoman stretching

4. Tools and habits that can help you be more productive include schedules, to-do lists, and mobile alerts. Work output has been shown to go up with the Pomodoro Technique (working for short, focused times) and other ways to cut down on interruptions at work. [5]

woman checking her phone while working

5. Always remember to be kind to yourself. Know that your mental ability may change at this time and take care of yourself properly. Keep in mind that a lack of mental focus is only temporary and that once it passes, your effectiveness will return.

woman looking at the mirror

Natural Remedies and Supplements for Period Brain Fog

Rhodiola rosea

Herbal remedies and nutritional supplements are a possible solution for those who suffer from period brain fog and need assistance concentrating and recalling information.

Remember that these treatments work differently for different people, so it's best to talk to a doctor before trying anything new.

Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish oil, flaxseed oil, and walnuts, among other foods. They may help lower inflammation and improve brain performance. You can either put them in your food or take them as a supplement.

Gingko biloba is a plant product that may make your brain work better by getting more blood to the brain. It may have different results for different people, though.

Rhodiola rosea is an herb that has been shown to boost mental ability, lessen mental fatigue, and improve focus.

Vitamin B complexes, especially B6, B9 (folate), and B12, are important for brain health and may improve cognitive performance. You can get them from a healthy diet or from vitamin products.

Magnesium, a mineral involved in many brain functions, has been shown to have indirect advantages for cognition by reducing stress and improving mood.

Keep in mind that even though these natural remedies and vitamins may help in some ways, they are not meant to replace a healthy diet, regular exercise, and professional medical care. Talking to a doctor should help you figure out the best way to treat brain fog during your period.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I feel mentally weird on my period?

Changes in hormones like estrogen and progesterone can cause nerve activity and brain function to change, which can affect your mood, thoughts, and ability to focus. This could make you feel confused, irritable, and more sensitive to other people's feelings.

Can hormone imbalance cause period brain fog?

Yes, changes in estrogen and progesterone can cause hormonal troubles, which can cause PMS symptoms like brain fog. 

Changes in hormones during menstruation have been linked to problems with nerve activity and brain function, which can make it hard to pay attention, remember things, and concentrate. 

Is confusion a period symptom?

Period confusion is a real thing that happens to certain individuals. Changes in hormone levels, such as estrogen and progesterone, have been related to shifts in neurotransmitter activity and cognitive function, which may lead to fogginess of thought, difficulty making decisions, and overt disorientation.

How does the menstrual cycle affect the brain?

During the monthly period, the brain changes because of the changes in hormones. Neurotransmitter activity is altered when estrogen and progesterone levels are changed, and these changes in turn affect how we feel, think, and behave. 

During the monthly cycle, one's mental and cognitive skills change because of changes in hormone levels, neurochemistry, and other things.


"Menstrual brain fog" is caused by the rise and fall of estrogen and progesterone levels in women. These natural changes mess up the way neurotransmitters work, which has an adverse effect on mood, thinking, and being able to concentrate. 

Serotonin changes can make it harder to think. Sleep problems, pain, tiredness, and fear are all additive factors.

Self-care, open conversation, setting priorities at work, taking breaks, and using tools to increase output are all ways to deal with stress. It might help to take extra B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, and Ginkgo biloba. 

Treatment success levels, however, vary widely between individuals. Period brain fog is a temporary problem with thinking that can be fixed by knowing why it happens and using the right approaches.


[1] Brighten, D. J. (2022, December 9). Connection Between Brain Fog and Hormone Imbalance. Dr. Jolene Brighten. Retrieved from https://drbrighten.com/brain-fog-and-hormonal-imbalance/

[2] Zhu, C., Thomas, E. H., Li, Q., Arunogiri, S., Thomas, N., & Gurvich, C. (2023, March 15). Evaluation of The Everyday Memory Questionnaire-Revised in Menopausal Population: Understanding the Brain Fog During Menopause. medRxiv. https://doi.org/10.1101/2023.03.14.23287272

[3] Shrividya, S., & Joy, M. (2021, June 25). Brain Fog among Perimenopausal Women: A Comparative Study. Virtual Commons - Bridgewater State University. https://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol22/iss6/3

[4] Moriarty, C. (2020, November 14). Reasons Women Need Periods: The Role of the Menstrual Cycle in Brain Health & Development. Natural Womanhood. https://naturalwomanhood.org/reasons-women-need-periods-the-role-of-the-menstrual-cycle-in-brain-health-development/

[5] Noteberg, S. (n.d.). Pomodoro Technique Illustrated : The Easy Way to Do More in Less Time - The Pragmatic Bookshelf - Torrossa. Pomodoro Technique Illustrated : The Easy Way to Do More in Less Time - the Pragmatic Bookshelf - Torrossa. Retrieved from https://www.torrossa.com/gs/resourceProxy?an=5241765&publisher=FZP531

About the author 

A Medical Doctor with a rich experience for 5+ years in Medical Writing/Researching along with patient care. Collaborated with more than 10 companies, leveraging my skills to create high-quality content in various formats, including books, blog posts, articles, research papers, and social media medical content.

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