PMS Brain Fog: Understanding the Link Between Hormones and Mental Clarity

Dinesh Patel
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Dr. Kaushal

Review medical content on WOW Rx Pharmacy, so that accurate drug use information is easily accessible to everybody.
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pms brain fog

Menstruation is a natural and recurring process experienced by individuals with a menstrual cycle. 

|While most people associate menstruation with physical symptoms, many menstruating individuals also experience various cognitive and emotional changes.

They may  have experienced the frustrating and puzzling mental fog that descends before their period. 

Often called “PMS brain fog,” this cognitive cloudiness can disrupt daily life and leave individuals feeling forgetful, unfocused, and mentally tired. 

This article explores the causes, symptoms, and strategies for managing PMS brain fog, shedding light on this common yet perplexing phenomenon.

What is PMS Brain Fog

PMS brain fog, or cognitive difficulties or mental fog, is a state of mental confusion and lack of clarity that occurs in the days leading up to menstruation. 

This phase typically begins a week or two before menstruation and can last until the period starts. 

It is a common symptom experienced by many individuals during their menstrual cycle. 

Brain fog can manifest as difficulty concentrating, memory problems, slower thinking, confusion, and mood swings, impacting various aspects of cognitive function.

Symptoms of PMS brain fog

The symptoms of PMS brain fog can vary, but common signs include:

  • Forgetfulness: Difficulty remembering things, important dates, or routine tasks
  • Reduced concentration: Trouble staying focused on tasks or processing information efficiently
  • Mental fatigue: Feeling mentally exhausted despite adequate rest and sleep
  • Slower processing speed: Taking longer to process information or respond to stimuli
  • Impaired decision-making: Finding it challenging to make decisions or feeling indecisive
  • Emotional disturbances: PMS brain fog is often accompanied by mood swings, irritability, and heightened emotional sensitivity.

Causes of PMS brain fog

The exact cause of PMS brain fog is not fully understood, but it is believed to be connected to hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle. 

Hormonal changes

Fluctuations in Estrogen and Progesterone levels influence neurotransmitters in the brain, affecting cognitive function. 

Cognitive function is the mental processes that involve acquiring, processing, storing, and using information. It includes perception, attention, memory, language, problem-solving, and decision-making abilities.


menopause supplementsSource: Afirca_Getty_Images
Woman who slept on sofa due to fatigue

Hormonal changes and physical discomfort associated with menstruation can lead to fatigue, exacerbating brain fog.


Stress can worsen cognitive function and make it challenging to think clearly and concentrate.

Strategies to manage PMS brain fog

While PMS brain fog can be frustrating, several strategies can help alleviate symptoms and improve cognitive function during this phase of the menstrual cycle:

Maintain a healthy lifestyle

Adopt a balanced diet, exercise regularly, prioritize sufficient sleep, and practice stress management techniques to support overall cognitive health.

Recommended Article:
To know which food is best to manage PMS read, Nourish Your Body with Best Foods for PMS.

Manage stress

You can manage stress by trying meditation, deep breathing exercises, or engaging in enjoyable activities. 

Limit caffeine and alcohol

Avoid AlcoholSource: Andrii_Zorii_from_Getty_Images
Avoid Alcohol

Both caffeine and alcohol can affect cognitive function, so reducing their consumption may improve mental clarity.

High doses of caffeine may cause nervousness, restlessness, and insomnia, disrupting normal sleep patterns and leading to fatigue and irritability. It can also lead to increased heart rate, palpitations, and potential cardiovascular issues in susceptible individuals

Supplement with Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil and certain foods, have been shown to support brain health and cognitive function.

Track your menstrual cycle

Monitor your menstrual cycle to predict when PMS brain fog may occur and plan activities accordingly.

When to seek medical help

While PMS brain fog is often a normal symptom, paying attention to any changes or worsening of symptoms is essential. 

If brain fog is severe, persistent, or significantly impacting daily life, seeking medical advice is advisable. 

A healthcare professional can assess whether underlying medical conditions contribute to the symptoms and recommend appropriate treatment options.


PMS brain fog is a common and often frustrating phenomenon experienced by many individuals with a menstrual cycle. 

While the exact cause of PMS brain fog is not fully understood, it is believed to be linked to hormonal fluctuations, stress, fatigue, and inflammation.

Adopting a healthy lifestyle, managing stress, staying hydrated, and getting enough rest is essential to support overall cognitive health. 

Tracking the menstrual cycle can help predict when PMS brain fog may occur, allowing individuals to plan activities and responsibilities accordingly.

Although PMS brain fog is typically a normal symptom, paying attention to any severe or persistent symptoms that significantly impact daily life is crucial.

Ultimately, by understanding the link between hormones and mental clarity and implementing effective strategies, individuals can easily navigate PMS brain fog.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does PMS do to your brain?

During PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome), hormonal fluctuations can affect neurotransmitters in the brain, leading to various cognitive changes. This includes symptoms like brain fog, difficulty concentrating, memory problems, slower thinking, confusion, and mood swings. These effects are temporary and typically occur in the days leading up to menstruation.

What hormone causes a foggy brain?

The primary hormones causing a foggy brain during PMS are Estrogen and Progesterone. Fluctuations in their levels can impact neurotransmitters and cognitive function, contributing to symptoms like brain fog and mental fatigue.

Does PMS include overthinking?

Yes, PMS can include overthinking as part of hormonal changes and emotional disturbances. Many individuals with PMS experience heightened emotional sensitivity, which can lead to overthinking, anxiety, and mood swings. Managing stress and relaxation techniques can help alleviate these symptoms during this menstrual cycle phase.

How do you get rid of hormonal brain fog?

To manage hormonal brain fog during PMS, adopt a healthy lifestyle with balanced meals, regular exercise, and sufficient sleep. Practice stress management through meditation and deep breathing exercises. Stay hydrated, limit caffeine and alcohol intake, and take short breaks for rest. Consider Omega-3 fatty acid supplements for brain health. 

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