Why is brain fog a side effect of birth control?
Because of lack of research, it is not entirely clear as to why some women experience brain fog and other symptoms while on hormonal birth control. Women who get pregnant also can experience similar symptoms, known as “pregnancy brain” or “baby brain.”
Some experts suggest that it is the fluctuation and elevation of hormones, particularly the effect of ethinyl estradiol, that influence brain function. Few studies have shown that use of hormonal birth control can actually alter the brain’s structure. The hypothalamus is responsible for regulating mood, sleep, memory, and body temperature. As a result, a smaller hypothalamus volume is also associated with anger and depression.
Scientists need to do more extensive studies on the use of hormonal contraceptives and brain function to better understand its effects.
If you are currently taking birth control and feel like you are experiencing brain fog, it may not be ideal to suddenly stop taking it. Oftentimes, side effects like brain fog can come and go. Over time, your body may become more accustomed to the hormones in your contraception.
Regardless of hormonal birth control use, brain fog can still occur because of other conditions or medications. Dealing with the other factors may improve your mental clarity. Other ways to “un-fog” your brain include:
Firstly, regular exercise has many benefits aside from clearing up brain fog. You don’t need to join a gym or run a marathon to exercise. Standing, stretching, and taking a brisk walk are effective enough.
Moving around improves your blood flow throughout your body. This is especially important if you spend most of your day sitting at a desk or stuck at home.
Proper, well-balanced diet
Second to regular exercise, a balanced diet can greatly improve your overall health. A healthy diet includes moderate servings from each food group. Aside from including all the macronutrients such as protein, carbohydrates, and fat, a healthy diet should include vitamins and minerals.