Thursday, June 27, 2013

Cotton brain, cog fog or a lesion hangover?

In scanning through the archives of the Lesion Journals, I came across a brief post I wrote over three years ago. It was about my first experience with the symptom I dubbed “a lesion hangover” and I wrote it during the weeks leading into my official MS diagnosis [read more]

Since then I’ve learned that this “lesion hangover” is more commonly referred to as MS brain, cotton brain, cog fog or brain fog. For me, it really does feel like a hangover, less the over abundance of alcohol, and sometimes lasts a couple of days. I have this feeling periodically and it can feel slightly different each time.

Sometimes it feels like a massive number of cotton balls have been jammed into my head and the pressure is intense (hence cotton brain). Sometimes it feels like someone else is at the controls of my brain, slowing things down and making it difficult to process signals, information and/or perform basic calcs (hence cog fog).

Cotton Brain
In their web post, “MS: The Words You Should Know”, our friends over at Healthline describe MS brain as “…when thoughts are cloudy and you can’t think clearly. Everything seems surreal and fuzzy.” Good description.

I find that taking naps helps, a lot. How about you? If you live with MS, is this symptom common for you? And, how do you deal with it? Any tips for the rest of us?

Best always,

P.S. be sure to check out the MS lingo decoder over at Healthline. Great way to learn all about symptoms that MSers live with.


  1. No matter what term you use for it, it's like being drugged. Naps do help, or waiting to see if it's not as bad the next day. I started a medication called Ampyra which has been shown to improve walking (aids in nerve conduction)- a nice benefit is that I think clearer when on it.

    1. It does sometimes feel like you're being drugged, doesn't it? Ugh. I am glad to hear, however, that Ampyra works for you, especially if it helps clear up your mind. Take care, Christie


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