Estrogen, progesterone and testosterone are hormones that most people are familiar with. These and many others need to be in balance and working together. If even one hormone gets out of balance, the body will express symptoms. But can you get brain fog from hormones!? Yes, it’s quite common. Here’s how it can happen.
When your hormones are out of balance, it will show in our bodies. For women, it could be the loss of a menstrual cycle when you should be having one, or the loss of a pregnancy if you don’t have enough progesterone. You could experience a thickened uterine lining, zero sex drive or even bone loss. For men, it could be poor concentration, depression and lost muscle mass in addition to problems with sex drive or function.
Brain Fog from Hormones
But what is often not discussed is what happens to the brain when you are hormonally out of balance.
If you are experiencing PMS, perimenopause, menopause, estrogen dominance, or low testosterone, your brain health and function may also be compromised! Yikes! Your brain can suffer.
I often say that these hormones are like a wonderful symphony when they are at optimal levels. But if just one is out of range, that beautiful piece of music will not sound as good. And yes, it just takes one being out of balance to really mess up the body.
Brain fog, loss of concentration and negative emotions can all be related to hormones because they have direct connection to your brain neurotransmitters including serotonin, dopamine, acetylcholine receptors and GABA receptors.
Image by OpenStax College – Anatomy & Physiology, Connexions Web site. , Jun 19, 2013, CC BY 3.0 Edited to fit horizontal space.
Here are several of the body’s hormones along with the neurotransmitters that they influence and the symptoms that an imbalance can cause. You can see that it can get much worse than brain fog from hormone issues.
(Don’t worry if this sounds like a lot of gibberish to you, that’s what I and my team are here for! We understand this and I am trained to know how hormones effect your health and what to do about it.)
- Estrogen influences serotonin, dopamine and acetylcholine receptors. Dysfunction of these neurotransmitters can cause depression and the loss of cognitive function such as spatial memory and fine motor skills.
- Progesterone influences GABA receptors which can degrade repair and nerve remyelinating (the repair of the protective coating around your nerves).
- Testosterone influences dopamine and acetylcholine receptors which a lack of can contribute to Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.)
- Thyroid hormones – T3, Thyroxine and Calcitonin – influence ALL the neurotransmitters so problems in your thyroid can cause brain fog, inflammation and degeneration.
Hormones Depend on Cholesterol
What?! Isn’t cholesterol completely bad? You might not know that all your steroidal hormone production starts with cholesterol. Yes, cholesterol is not a completely evil substance for your body, in fact it is necessary! Your body uses it to make estrogen, testosterone and other hormones and to build your cell walls.
So if you are on statin drugs – the medication designed to reduce your total cholesterol level – it may reduce cholesterol to the point that you are not able to make enough hormones. Your doctor could be putting a band-aid on one imbalance or overproduction while causing an exponential number of other imbalances that ultimately can cause brain fog and inflammation.
We also need DHEA from the adrenal gland to make healthy levels of hormones. If your adrenal glands are out of balance (and this is extremely common), your hormone production will suffer. And your brain will too!
- Be wise.
- Listen to your body.
- Get your hormones checked once a year.
- Do a brain map (QEEG) to check for inflammation.
The QEEG will also show if your brainwaves are out of balance which also influences how you think, feel and behave. You’ll fill out a questionnaire to additionally help us determine your neurotransmitter status. I have all my patients do this because it’s incredibly beneficial and helps us find issues before they become long-term damage.
You can avoid brain fog from hormones. Don’t wait until terrible damage is done. An ounce of prevention is truly worth it!
Cover image by Cole Patrick
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