Brain fog, off balance, difficulty concentrating - PNI ORG UK


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Brain fog, off balance, difficulty concentrating

Ljoostman profile image

I am currently 6 months postpartum and started getting a weird feeling when I was 4 months postpartum. I noticed one day I felt kind of off balance. Not necessarily dizzy, just like my equilibrium was off. I have bad health anxiety so I started to worry about this feeling. I had blood work done, all was normal. I also seemed to have a pressure feeling in my eyes when I moved them around, and it felt like my eyes were hard to move around. Saw my ENT, genera practitioner, and my endocrinologist, and other than some congestion they found nothing wrong. Saw a neurologist and had an MRI, and all was fine.

So now I've had this off balance feeling for the past two months. I feel like my brain is in a fog, and when I try to complete a task like grading papers I find it hard to concentrate and focus. It almost feels like the first day of a head cold, except I'm not sick. I also recently noticed I wake up every day with a feeling of dread. I had anxiety even before I was pregnant and now I feel like I don't really get excited about anything anymore. I feel kind of numb emotionally. I also have no sex drive, and spend most of my time being concerned about the way i feel. I just want to enjoy my baby and not feel so out of it all the time. Anybody else gone through these feelings/symptoms? Is it common to feel this 6 months postpartum? I should also mention this all started within a week of getting my period back.

13 Replies

Hello and welcome

PNI for me started in a similar fashion to you when my baby 4 months old - strange physical symptoms which directly or indirectly triggered or were linked to anxiety.

My physical symptoms started off with pressure sensation behind one of my eyes, sensitivity to light, eye sight worsened, then feeling very detached and foggy headed . I too have suffered from health anxiety and in my case I started to obsess what could be wrong. Tests also came back clear .

The other symptoms you describe are also common with PNI.

I don't know what triggers these physical symptoms in some ladies but I've found from that it can.

Have you spoken to anyone about how you're feeling? I found that the physical and emotional symptoms are very much linked so perhaps counselling where you can offload and help change thought patterns re health anxiety would help. Medication (antidepressants) are an option which I took and they helped me hugely, but there are pros and cons to these- I'm not medically qualified but happy to share my experience of meds with you.

A huge positive factor was exercise. This helped me hugely with the physical symptoms.

It's really positive you're aware of how you're feeling - do keep talking x

I started with similar symptoms, didn't feel like myself 5 months postpartum, there was a lot of stress in my life at this point with selling of our house, moving into a new bigger home and dealing with 4 yr old and a new little one. I started with numbness in my legs and arms and the brain fog was intense. I also dealt with some anxiety before but this was time it wasn't something I could just shake off. Fast forward to now, between then and now, after dr.'s and functional doctors, come to find out I'm low on all sex hormones. Low progesterone, low testosterone and a low functioning thyroid. Have you had your hormonal's checked? My functional dr seems to thing with sleep deprivation and stress after baby along with birth control pills I was on for nearly 15 years, that my hormones never went back to balance after the birth of my baby.

Anyway it may or may not be that case for you, but I would say it's working running tests of your hormones. And age doesn't matter, I'm 38 and never thought I'd be dealing with hormonal imbalance symptoms at this age.

Good Luck!

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Hidden in reply to MoniT38

What did they prescribe for you?


I'm having the same symptoms. They started about 1 week postpartum! I'm 11 weeks now. I woke up one day feeling very dizzy, light sensitive, seeing spots and constantly feeling I'm in going to faint! It's I constantly worry about what's wrong with me. I've had all sorts of tests ran and they are all normal. Sometimes I stop in between sentences and can't focus on anything except the room's awful.

Not sure how to snap out of it


I replied to you Tosha87 by pm. I had odd physical symptoms similar to yours. They actually preceded the anxiety and were extremely debilitating.

It's positive you had tests and that they've come back negative.

For me the turning point was anti depressants (there are pros and cons to this) but they really improved things. Exercise can give you a huge boost and I found would nearly always alleviate the foggiheadedness I used to suffer from. Learning techniques to help with anxiety can help hugely also as this can trigger horrid symptoms.

PleSe do come back and talk to us - we really do understand what you're going through x

I've been experiencing the same symptoms now for 9 months. It started when my son was 8 months. The very first symptom for me was the fogginess. Then tingling in hands and feet followed along with many other symptoms. At first i used to get a lot of dizzy spells (no vertigo/spinning) but dizziness in my own head. Then few months in it became an every day off balance feeling. I also experience muscle twitching and upper body stiffness. Occasional headaches and nausea as well.

I've done every test under the sun (bloodwork, mri, ultra sounds, xrays, emg...). And no luck in figuring out what this is.

I've always had anxiety but never had these offbalance dizzy symptoms before.

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I'm exactly the same, I had a spinal headache and got admitted to hospital, since then been in twice more with horrendous dizziness and nausea

I'm also getting pins and needles in my nerves from my neck to my feet,

Had brain and spinal scan and ct

All normal

Today seen vestibular rehab lady who has shown me exercises to focus the eyes from scratch

I'm at the end of my tether , 8 weeks now and I feel awful

Got anxiety too as a result of this

It's a loving nightmare I just wish the dizziness would go and I could get on with life again

Wow! You guys are describing most of my symptoms. I know this is an old thread but I would love to know what ended up working for you guys? I am considering anxiety medication at this point but I find the thought of taking anxiety meds are making me anxious.

rocky77 profile image
rocky77 in reply to Becks11

Welcome Becks11

I’m sorry you’re struggling with these symptoms . When did they start postpartum and what are your symptoms ?

My symptoms started off with what I took to be visual disturbances - I did have sore eyes , eyesight worsened , feeling of pressure behind one eye then I started to feel really spaced out all the time leading to numb/tingly patches on my body , a weird type of dizziness , exhaustion leading to horrendous anxiety , agrophobia, insomnia etc.

For me antidepressants gave me my life back - I was prescribed citalopram and took then forcabout 1 1/2 yrs . What are you being offered? X

Becks11 profile image
Becks11 in reply to rocky77

Hi Rocky77!

Thank you for your reply and I’m sorry I didn’t reply sooner. I’m still struggling with trying to figure out if I can control this by myself without meds. They offered me Citalopram a few months back but I never took them. I am almost six months postpartum and am breastfeeding, which makes me anxious to take medication. I feel like I have no quality of life at this point because I don’t feel like I’m present 80% of the time. I have started therapy and it looks promising as he was able to explain to me how most of my symptoms can be very logically explained by anxiety. However, I feel like it is going to be a slow progress.

My concerns about meds are these:

-Effect on my baby since I’m breastfeeding. I could stop but my baby has never taken the bottle and I love breastfeeding.

-side effects of meds since I’m already feeling so unwell I don’t know that I would be able to take more symptoms.

-scared that I won’t be able to stop taking the medication.

It does reassure me that you were able to stop after a year and a half.

rocky77 profile image
rocky77 in reply to Becks11

Hi Becks11

Really no pressure when or if you reply. This is your space to do as you please.

I’m sorry you’re still not feeling great. I do wonder how long it would have taken me to feel better without meds though I think I would have . Yes recovery can be painfully and unfairly slow. Great that the counselling is positive and helped with understanding what’s going on with your body . I never had a clue anxiety or hormones could be so crippling.

I completely understand your concerns re meds. They were the right thing for me . Other things that can help massively for many are exercise (especially something aerobic though you may not be up to that atm) but even a walk round the block can help. Try to do this daily perhaps?

Side effects - I did feel worse for 2-3 weeks and yes it was hard but worth it. I got extra help from relatives and partner. Newer meds are said to have fewer side effects.

Re meds and bf - I don’t think citaloprsm has been deemed suitable with bf (prob due to lack of research) but there are others that are.

Pg 14 - essentially says sertraline and paroxetine are the preferred meds for bf mums but there are other considerations to take into account.

Antids are said not to be addictive. Generally (I’m not a healthcare practitioner ) you should stay on them for at least 6 months after feeling better - my gp recommended 1 yr) and withdrawal after this time should be tapered. Basically the longer you’re on them the longer you should take to come off them. It took me 2-3 months . My gp gave me a plan which took one month - it took me longer and I took vit b and evening primrose supplements.

All this is something to discuss with gp and counsellor . You have to weigh up pros and cons . Maybe given your understandable reluctance wait to see if the counselling helps first and try a bit of exercise, eating healthily, getting out and about x

leanne_h profile image
leanne_h in reply to Becks11

Hi Becks,

I totally understand your reluctance to take the antidepressants. I was exactly the same. It took me 6 months to finally take them and they really helped. I tried citalopram initially as prescribed by the GP but it didn’t really do much to help. My CPN said Sertraline has better results with PND and switched me to that. Apparently citalopram is one of the cheapest which is why GP’s tend to go for it but it’s not suitable for breastfeeding. There are some that are though and sertraline is one of them so if you decide to give them a try make sure you speak to your GP as you really don’t need to stop breastfeeding!!

I started them around 2 years ago and came off them about 9 months ago. I just weaned off them really slowly. You don’t have to go on them for ever. As my psychologist said if you broke your leg you would use a crutch until you were strong enough to walk on it again. The antidepressants are just your crutch! X

Hi Becks,

How have you been? X

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