What Causes Brain Fog?

Senior woman holding hands up, confused, magenta background

It’s normal to have days when you feel a little foggy or confused occasionally. But if it happens frequently, you might be dealing with brain fog. What causes brain fog, and what can you do about it?

What Causes Brain Fog?

Have you ever had a day where you felt like you couldn’t think straight? Maybe you had trouble remembering things or concentrating on an important task. While these days can be frustrating, they aren’t necessarily anything you need to worry about as long as they happen infrequently. However, if you’ve noticed these issues occur quite often, you may be dealing with brain fog.

What Is Brain Fog?

When someone refers to “brain fog,” it may sound like they’re talking about a specific medical condition. Brain fog is actually a group of symptoms related to cognitive difficulties:

  • Difficulty concentrating on particular tasks
  • Trouble with memory
  • Cognitive struggles like not being able to think clearly

Causes of Brain Fog

These symptoms can lead to significant frustrations and even anxiety for the people who experience them. However, brain fog can be caused by a few different things, and sometimes the cause isn’t necessarily a serious issue. What causes brain fog, and when should you be concerned about it?


One of the most common causes of brain fog is poor quality sleep or insufficient sleeping hours to rest. A lack of adequate sleep can lead to concentration issues, irritability, and memory problems.

Fluctuating Hormones

If you have lower levels of certain hormones, sometimes brain fog can result. For example, drops in estrogen levels can cause cloudy thinking and confusion, which is why brain fog is a common symptom of menopause.


Stress is terrible for your body in many ways. One of the most prevalent is that it affects your ability to think and concentrate. Stress can raise your blood pressure and make it difficult to relax, leading to mental exhaustion.


Some medications and treatments can have cognitive issues as a side effect, which can lead to brain fog. Brain fog is a known side effect of chemotherapy as well as several common medications. Medications particularly likely to cause brain fog include anti-depressants, pain medications, and sleep aids.

Dietary Issues

Sometimes, brain fog can be caused by something as simple as your daily diet. A lack of nutrients like Vitamin B-12 that support brain health can lead to brain fog for seniors, especially those who already have food sensitivities.

Medical Conditions

While brain fog doesn’t always indicate that a severe medical problem is occurring, it can sometimes point toward issues that need serious attention. Medical conditions related to blood pressure, inflammatory illnesses, and certain mental health conditions can cause brain fog. Cognitive issues like worsening dementia can also cause brain fog.

What Can I Do About Brain Fog?

If you think you’re experiencing brain fog, talking to your doctor about it is crucial. If you can identify what is causing it, your doctor can help you make adjustments to address it. And if a more serious health issue is at play, your doctor can get you the help you need.


Brain fog can be irritating, but with help, it can be managed. Now that you know what causes brain fog, talk to your doctor about finding a solution.

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