Migraineurs Commonly Suffer from Brain Fog

Can you picture it? You’re going about your day when out of nowhere, you suddenly feel heavy in the brain like you’re trying to think through quicksand; you just can’t keep up with the world around you.  You start to forget what you were doing, lose your words, miss appointments, and second-guessing yourself becomes a regular occurrence.  This is brain fog, a well-documented sidekick to migraines.

Brain fog, also known as brain fatigue, is a unique condition that plagues migraineurs after the pain phase of a migraine ends. Once the attack stops, the body has to recover. This process mimics a hangover, hence the name “migraine hangover”.

During this phase, migraineurs experience a wide range of symptoms including lethargy and fatigue. Other less-than-pleasant symptoms may also include:

  • Confusion
  • Lack of Focus
  • Reduced Mental Clarity
  • Irritability
  • Forgetfulness
  • Mood Swings

 

How Long Does It Last?

Brain fog doesn’t have a start or end time. It doesn’t care about your schedule. It’s usually a gradual process that takes place suddenly and lasts for a few hours or even days. Brain fog is treatable, but first, you must find out what is causing the fog.

What Causes Brain Fog?

Migraineurs aren’t the only ones suffering from brain fatigue. In fact, lots of medical conditions and medications can make you feel like a cloud is sitting on your brain. If you experience symptoms as I’ve described here, then it’s time to take a close look at your lifestyle and your environment, as these are the likely culprits.

You Are What You Eat

Your diet has the most influence on your body and how it responds to different stimulants. One of the biggest stimulants is glucose – a simple sugar that can be found in carbohydrates like bread or fruits. Your body uses glucose to fuel itself. The body produces insulin to distribute glucose from the bloodstream into your cells.

Your brain is a glucose–hog.  It loves those simple sugars. When the blood glucose levels in your body drop, you can physically and mentally feel the crash ultimately leading to brain fog. Additionally, continuously high levels of blood glucose can lead to diabetes. Most diabetics experience brain fog because their glucose levels are constantly changing.

Just like a person with diabetes, migraineurs should seriously consider changing their diet. Keep in mind, though, low-fat diets are bad news because your body needs fat to function.

Food allergies also largely contribute to brain fatigue. When the body can’t process food molecules, it creates antibodies to destroy them.

Common foods your body may have a hard time digesting are:

  • Dairy products
  • Peanuts
  • Shellfish
  • Gluten
  • Corn
  • Soy
  • Additives (like MSG)

I covered the dangers of monosodium glutamate in my Chemical Warfare blog post.  If you haven’t read this yet, you should.

Treating Brain Fog

The best way to “lift the fog” is to find the original offender. Dietary changes are highly beneficial to migraineurs because a lot of triggers are linked to food, so an Elimination Diet may be just what you need. You can read more about the elimination diet on my blog.

Brain fog is debilitating and can be very difficult to treat, but that doesn’t make it impossible.  You’ll need a healthy dose of persistence and patience, along with a good doctor to help you investigate.

Sources

WebMD- Reasons You May Have Brain Fog
The Link Between Migraine and Fibromyalgia
Chemical Warfare in The Body-Substances That Make Your Head Hurt
The Migraine Elimination Diet Chronicles Part I- How It Works