Since May is “mental health month,” let’s shed some light on a common cause of mental health issues that often goes unrecognized: hormones. When you think about mental health, you probably aren’t thinking about your hormones. Those are more about hot flashes, night sweats, PMS, and low libido, right? Actually, hormones have a profound effect on brain health.
Do you experience any of the following symptoms?
• Difficulty concentrating at work or performing basic tasks
• Trouble remembering people’s names or simple words
• Feeling like you’ve lost parts of your memory
• Wondering if you might have the onset of Alzheimer’s
• Feeling like you’re in a fog and state of confusion
• Decreased mental sharpness
• Unable to focus
• Short term memory loss
• Feeling depressed
• Feeling like you are losing your mind
If you can relate to the above symptoms, you are not losing your mind. Don’t panic and rush to the assumption that you might have the onset of dementia or Alzheimer’s, because these symptoms could very well be caused by a hormone deficiency.
How Hormonal Decline can Affect Brain Health
1. Hypothyroidism – Low thyroid function is a common cause of brain fog, depression, difficulty concentrating and short term memory loss. Mental conditions are very common in thyroid disorders.
2. Testosterone – Testosterone is crucial for maintaining mental sharpness and mental clarity.
3. Estrogen, Progesterone and Testosterone – These hormones act directly on nerve cells in the brain, facilitating neurotransmission, protecting those cells from attack by neurotoxins and free radicals, and enhancing blood flow of the brain, all of which protect against loss of memory, cognition and progression of dementia.
4. Menopause – Menopause can cause memory loss, dementia and mood swings. These are signs that estrogen, progesterone and testosterone levels are declining.
5. Postpartum Depression – After childbirth, the drop in progesterone causes the low moods of postpartum depression.
6. Progesterone – Progesterone has a calming effect on the brain. It stimulates the brain’s GABA receptors, the feel-good, calming neurotransmitters. Progesterone also has a protective effect on the brain by reducing swelling and improving mental clarity after a traumatic brain injury.
Terri’s story is a prime example of someone who was suffering from memory loss due to hypothyroidism, but who was initially misdiagnosed by traditional doctors with the onset of Alzheimer’s.
“Although I had begun to notice some significant signs of memory loss 3 years ago, I dismissed them as stress related. At that time, I wasn’t the only person to recognize my deteriorated memory; my husband, children, employees and mother all began expressing their concerns. I became scared that I was facing the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.”
– Terri Jaggers
Keeping your hormones at their optimal levels will help keep your brain working at its best. Supplementing with vitamins, minerals and fish oil is important, too. Don’t forget that prescription drugs, such as the cholesterol lowering drugs, can cause memory loss, so be aware of the effect these drugs can have on your brain.
Is Hormonal Imbalance Causing Your Mental Health Symptoms?
Take our symptom checker health quiz to find out if you have symptoms of hormonal imbalance so that you can take action to protect not only your brain, but also your overall health.
What are your biggest fears when it comes to your mental health? Leave us a comment below.