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Mental fogginess/altered state of consciousness?
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Mental fogginess/altered state of consciousness?

Hi.  I hope someone (especially a doctor) will have some insight to share.  I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's 2 years ago at age 29 (although it most likely began much earlier), and have had my levels managed with levothyroxine and synthroid since then.  My dosage has only ever been .25mg and .5 mg, so as my endo' says, I'm not really all that bad, and my levels stay normal when I'm on the meds.

But, my question is about a symptom that has not gotten better after 2 years of carefully managed thyroid treatment.  My problem is difficult to express clearly, but I'll try.  Basically, it's a heavy feeling of being only half-awake; of living in a dream; like I'm sleepwalking; heavy mental fogginess; serious difficulty concentrating due to this feeling; difficulty focusing on what's happening around me.  Really, it is the feeling you get right before you lose consciousness- like I'm on the edge of passing out and losing consciousness, and the world around me is seeming really distant and starting to fade away and get dark.  This feeling has been permanent since I was 16 years old, although it started as brief, random episodes when I was 12.

My endo' says that it can't be my thyroid, because my TSH, T3 and T4 levels are all normal when I'm on my meds.  He sent me to a neurologist who did an MRI, but there was nothing abnormal on the MRI, and the neurologist doesn't seem to have anything else to offer.  The only thing the neurologist seemed to suggest is that this might all be an endocrine problem.  I have no idea, but I am going to see my endo' again soon, and I am going to press him for more tests and more ideas of what could be causing this.  

It is so extremely difficult to live like this.  Every part of my life feels like a burden, because I am struggling so hard to focus and "be here", when my brain seems to be trying to shut down on me.  I've had to learn to cope, learning all kinds of ways to deal with this and try to live a normal life, and trying to get by with my mind almost shut down on me.  (This post will take me a very long time to compile, because I will reread it and fix it).  I just don't know how much longer I can go on like this, and I'm desperate for answers and help.

Thanks for any suggestions or ideas.
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you know i have heard of a condition called "alice in wonderland" or something like that. you could try researching that.
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393685_tn?1325870933
Actually the term used here is Brain Fog. I am really effected by that. It was unbearable when I was on Synthroid - but now that I have a different thryoid med - it is much better for me.

Still have it - but I cover it up the the "blonde" thing quite often.  

There is no medical terminology that I know of - and some doctors do not even talk about it being thyroid related.

It is from not being regulated yet on meds to balance your thyroid.
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I would defintely try another thyroid med on a trial basis with a Dr you like and trust.  If this all started early in life and early in life (relatively speaking) you were DX'd with Hashi's it wouldn't surprise me if it is thyroid med and/or hormone related ???  That, is, of course speaking as a thyroid patient and not a Doc as I do not have any degrees.

I get that awful "word retrieval" problem simply from being on too much synthroid YET MY TSH IS CONSIDERED NORMAL!!!!!!  I made them make note in the chart bcz it happened in middle of sentence, etc. and could not think of the word I wanted to use .. learned to cover it up but then the adrenelin would flow and I would realize I was messed up and this was not right and then my Synthroid got lowered from 100 to 88mcgs and it all but went away within a week!!!!!!  My TSH was 0.667 and now I am fine at 1.3

What are your labs?

I want to welcome you to the board and hope you stick around and keep us posted as you help others,

Cheryl (Thy Ca 1/07)
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Hi.  Thanks for the ideas.  I should have explained a bit better, but this problem began as the random, brief episodes when I was 12- and this was before I had ever been diagnosed with any thyroid problem.  I wasn't on any meds of any kind.  Then it became a permanent feeling when I was 16, and still not on meds and before I was ever diagnosed with a thyroid problem.  So, it can't be a side effect of any medication.

My labs that I had 2 weeks ago came back with everything (kidney function, liver function, glucose, etc...) all normal; T3 and T4 were both within normal range (T4 at 0.63 (normal is 0.61-1.76) and T3 at 136 (normal range is 85-205).  But, my TSH level was 11.68 (normal is 0.35-5.50).  So, then with the normal looking MRI, it seems like the only thing out of the norm' is my TSH level.  

But, even when I am on my synthroid/levothyroxine (I've been on either/or for 2 years), and my TSH levels are normal, this brain fog does not clear up.  So, to me this brain fog problem is not related to my thyroid levels.  The neuro' will see me again on Monday, but it sounds like his answer will just to be to recommend for me to go on migraine meds (I have constant mild headaches, and he seems fixated on the headaches and completely uninterested in my actual complaint, which is the brain fog).  

I know that the pituitary gland controls TSH levels, and therefore my husband (medical researcher) wonders whether this is a pituitary problem, seeing as we already know that my pituitary gland is releasing too much thyroid stimulating hormone.  What other hormones might my pituitary gland be releasing too much/too little of?  There's nothing "structural" that showed up on the MRI, but it's something that the neuro' is suggesting I talk to my endo' about.  

I go back on my synthroid tomorrow, so my TSH levels should start to be normal again.  I'm only on .025mg, which is the lowest dose, so there shouldn't be any side effects.  I'm looking forward to all my 'other' symptoms (chest tightness, shortness of breath, fatigue, lack of appetite, etc...) being resolved by the synthroid within the next few weeks.

I will go have a check around about the Alice in Wonderland thing, though.  That sounds about right.  Thanks.
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221609_tn?1215447928

Hi CarrieMae,

   Ask your doctor to test the health of your parathyroid glands.  I'm going in on Thursday and I have brain fog and fatigue ( I had silent thyroiditis before ).  I've also had a bout of vertigo, and the way I feel now is sort of how I felt right before I got my vertigo.  Just tired and feeling like I need to sleep all the time.  You can find information on the parathyroid at:  http://parathyroid.com  I hope you feel better soon.
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Do you have a low blood pressure?
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Your FT4 is still very low.  You are nowhere near optimal range for a thyroid patient.  I would ask Dr. for dosage increase.  You should be in the upper 50% of the range not the basement.  My fT4 was 1.1 and my dr just increase my dosage because I was still having symptoms.  
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Hi again.  Okay, I looked into the parathyroid page.  It seems that the one big indicator of parathyroid disease is the elevated (even just slightly) blood calcium levels.  I can report that as of 2 weeks ago, my blood calcium level was within the normal range, (I have the test results in front of me, I wanted a printed copy for myself!)  So, it would seem that it isn't my parathyroid.  But, that was a really interesting suggestion, seeing as I've never heard anybody ever mention a parathyroid.  

My blood pressure is always nice and normal, too.  Even during my 3 pregnancies, my blood pressure was always really good.  That's the crazy thing- everything always looks so nice and normal, and I look like a healthy young mom to everyone.

The only thing that has ever turned up abnormal is my stupid thyroid.  This is most likely an inherited condition for me, because my father had a thyroid tumor removed when he was 16 (in the year 1949!).  I didn't know about any of this until after ~I~ was diagnosed 2 years ago.  Interestingly, my father is the only other person I've ever known who had these constant mild-severe headaches and the permanent brain fog, too.  He died at the age of 71 about 3.5 years ago now, but in his life they were never able to give him any answers.  He had the whole array of symptoms for thyroid problems, but was not being treated for his thyroid.  So, I don't know whether his thyroid was good or bad after his tumor surgery.

I was only "accidentally" discovered to have Hashimoto's because I finally insisted on haivng a complete physical, and I specifically asked them to test my thyroid function.  I had just seen 2 news reports about how common thyroid problems are, and they listed the common symtpoms, and I just went "Check, check, check" to everything they listed.  Of a possilbe 20 symptoms, I had 14.  But, because they are such random and seemingly unrelated things, I never connected the dots, and doctors always looked and me and thought I seemed fine, so they never even checked my thyroid function.  So, even though I'm "not that bad" as the doctors say, my symptoms are pretty bad and I can tell just by my symptoms what my levels will be, and how they are flucuating.  At least I know what to recognize now, and I've taken control of things.

So, I'll ask my endo' when I see him next about any other things that he might be able to check for.  

Thanks for these ideas.  It is giving me some direction in where I search.

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As TDCRose said, you need to get your Free T4 into the upper half of the range.

Yout TSH should be around 1.0 give or take a little. The reason it is high is because you need more hormones. It is not a pituitary problem. It is a lab range problem.

A Free T4 of .63 is like starvation. You need to be in the upper half of the range to feel good. I don't know why the lower half is even there. My TSH was 102.3 once, and my Free T4 was still within range. It's ridiculous.

TSH ranges are just as bad, only in reverse. The upper half of the range should be chopped off and thrown away. Anything above 2.8 is BAD. Saying it isn't is ludicrous, yet the lab range often says 5.0 is still good enough.

Talk to your Endo about getting your Free T4 higher, like 1.3 or so. You will feel much better after a few months.
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I'm in tears.....I have the exact same symptoms and I cant stand it anymore. I'm so tired of being in space, dizzy, slow, unable to focus, difficulty talking, writing etc. It seems like it's getting worse/occuring more often. I'm not sure where you're located, I'm in Canada. My problem is that I have a doctor that I don't respect and find it difficult to talk to. In Canada it's impossible to find a new doctor so I've been living with this problem for quite sometime because my doctor doesn't think anything is wrong.
I've tried many holistic therapies, vitamins, eating organic but nothing helps.
I AM DESPERATE. ANYONE PLEASE HELP. Some days I don't want to continue anymore.
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Do you take any medication for your thyroid?
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As far as I know, my thyroid is okay. All the symptoms stated are the same though. I live in a "dream state" or a constant 'drunk'.
My doctor is reluctant to share my file with me....from what I understand (in Canada) this is not out of the norm.  I've tried getting a new doctor but it is impossible. My only chances are moving to a new area, which I'm contiplating seriously.
I want my life back.
Anyone, any insight????
Please, any feedback is grateful.
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Im the  same but with anxiety added to it! I really noticed it when I was walking around college a few months back. It was almost like I was dragging my body... My eyes just wanted to close and I would have slpet if I sat down. It felt like the '3pm slump' but to me it was the 'all day slump'. Then I started to notice that when i spoke I couldn't get the words out, and if I did they wouldn't sound right.  I went into slow motion. Everything around me sloooowed down. Do you ever notice that mid sentence you forget what you were going to say???? It always happens to me and I feel like a pure fool then.. Happen in a presentation I was giving in college, I just looked so stupid.. Im now on meds for hypothyroidism. My levels were being monitored over the past few months but no-one ever told me how bad I would feel when I got the symptoms....ANXIETY is the worst!!!!! Keep checking your levels they could be going out of whack!
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Most of my brain fog symptoms went away once I start taking the natural form of thyroid medication - Armour. I was taking Levothyroxine before and now I combine Armour with Shyntroid and it's better. I do not really know if it is because the medication or because my THS has a normal value.
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I'm sorry to hear about the symptoms and grief you're both going through with the brain fog, and maybe thyroid problems.  It's not something any of us want to have in common.  But, we do, and at least we can talk about it together and not feel crazy or alone.

The only connection for myself that I can possibly make is that these brain fog symptoms began right at the time when I began going through puberty.  I am very convinced that this is a hormonal/chemical-imbalance, which has not been detected in the normal range of blood tests I've had so far.  It makes sense, because the brain fog symptoms would come over me like a wave the first few years, out of nowhere and for no reason, and then "wash away" and disappear almost like a fresh breeze had blown through my head after about 5-10 minutes.  

Then, when I was 16.5 years old the brain fog came and never lifted.  But, I know I am prone to stress, and that really anyone's body will have endocrine and chemical reactions to stressors in their lives.  At the time when this brain fog became permanent, I was being made to move across America (from New Hampshire to California) with my family, and being made to leave my boyfriend of over a year, and all my friends and my school, and start a new life.  That was incredibly stressful, and I'm sure my stress hormones were extremely high, and affecting my mind.  

So, to me, and knowing my own family history of a tendency towards anxiety problems, depression, hormonal problems and some chemical imbalances, and chronic stress, I think this can be the only answer to what I am experiencing.  My Hashimoto's hypothyroidism, where my low thyroid function is being caused by an attack of antibodies from my own immune system), along with the stress and the onset of puberty (and the hormonal fluctuations my body is subjected to as a female), I think was "the perfect storm" that came together and made this brain fog.  Maybe my brain chemistry just will never be right again, because of the effects these hormonal, stress and chemical "attacks" it went through, and probably continues to go through.  

Maybe part of my brain is altered and not as active or functional as it used to be, (which could only be seen in real time on a FMRI- functional MRI, which watches your brain activity and shows changes in brain function, either compared to 'normal' brains, or when faced with outside stimuli.  They use these when researching the differences in brains of autistic people, the criminally insane, the affects of drugs etc...  Essentially anyone whose brain seems to be functioning in a way that is not considered 'normal'.)  The neurologist I saw did mention that this was the only other brain test left, but that it's only for research and experimental purposes, and it's hard to find any researchers/doctors who would be willing to do one.  So far, it seems that no researchers or doctors are looking into "brain fog" as a primary complaint, instead only as a peripheral symptom of other disorders and diseases.  

I would be ~enitrely~ willing to sign a petition and join a campaign of other "brain fog" sufferers, to come together as a community with this common debilitating and chronic ailment, to fight for recognition of what we are suffering and to insist that researchers and doctors take it seriously and put some time and money into research to understand the cause(s) and to find a treatment or cure.  There should be "Walk Against Brain Fog" days in major cities around the world to raise money, foundations started to raise awareness and money for research and  publicity, etc....

Is there anyone out there with public relations, finance, political, website, and/or marketing experience who would know anything about starting such a foundation or grass roots movement?  It's time.  I've got a molecular biology/immunology researcher for a husband, so I've at least got ties to the research community, and directly to the N.I.H. through him.  He used to work for the N.I.H. directly, and is still funded through them, and he knows people (who also know people...)

If there can be people fighting for a cure for AIDS, breast cancer, autism, poverty, hunger and so many other things, it's high time there was also a strong, vocal and active group of people fighting for answers and a cure for Brain Fog.
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Just wanted to add to all the input, that you should also insist that the doc check your free T3 levels.  Sometimes the body does not convert 4t to T3 very well.  Free T3 is the most active component, which largely regulates metabolism.  For someone who is hypo t, the best result is usually obtained by moving the free T3 level into the upper third of its range, and getting TSH into the low end of its range.  Sometimes this cannot be accomplished with a T4 only type of med.  Sometimes it takes a T4/T3 type such as Armour thyroid.  

If you want to get an idea of your current thyroid state, try checking your normal temperature several times a day and for several days and compare the average to the optimal of 98.6.  If you fall sig. below 98.6, that is a good indication of low metabolism/low thyroid, suggesting you need more of the right kind of meds.

Here is a good link on temp.

http://www.drrind.com/tempgraph.asp

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From all the research Iv been doing and all the questions Iv asked etc I know that brain fog comes with being hypoT. The thing that annoys me so much is people (unless their going through it themselves) don't understand how it effects us. Iv never felt so 'not me' in all my life. Its almost like Im a different person. I remember having a conversation with some friends and it took me 3 attempts to say what I wanted becuase I couldn't get the words out... Needless to say I just gave up and stayed quiet...The worst is when they laught thoght... No point explaining it to them is what I keep thinking.... Pity theres isn't more awarness about it becuse it would hwlp alot!!!!
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Hi my name is Kylie and I have been going living in a state of "brain fog" for as long as I can remember. I was recently diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and I see a psychologist, but even being on anxiety meds has never gotten me feeling "alive." I have tried explaining to my psychologist the brain fog and how I never feel like I am actually performing the actions I'm doing, but I can never quite find the words to describe what I am going through. I can't believe I found this discussion, I just typed in brain fog to google to try and find some answers and I stumbled upon this forum....funny how that happens. I never knew other people suffered from this. I just want to feel aware again. Has anyone gotten any new information?
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Thanks for the suggestion, gimel, about getting my freeT3 level checked.  I don't believe my endocrinologist has been monitoring that.  Maybe twice, on a complete blood work up, they've checked my total T3, but never my free T3.  And, the rest of the usual quarterly blood work is only monitoring my TSH and free T4.  And, now that I check around on the Internet, I see many, many other patients with hypothyroidism who also suffer from brain fog who have had their free T3 checked, and then been put on either Cytomel or Armour Thyroid.  And, at least with the patients who went on Cytomel, their brain fog symptoms completely cleared up, and so did their fatigue, within about 7 days.

So, I've called my endocrinologist's office, and asked whether they've ever checked my free T3 (I do not believe they ever have), and asked that if they haven't, that they start checking it now, because I said "a friend" suggested that the unresolved symptoms I'm still experiencing, even after 2.5 years of being treated with Synthroid, maybe actually be due to low T3 levels.  

So, that's what I'd ask if you might do as well, Kylie408.  Have you ever had your thryroid function tested?  Even if you have had it tested in the past, you may want to go again to your family doctor and ask for a full physical, asking very specifically that they test your TSH, free T4 and free T3 levels, because you want to know whether your thyroid is functioning properly, and only by having all 3 of those levels monitored can any doctor have a full picture of your thryoid function.  

Anxiety is one of the main symptoms related to thyroid disorder.  So are insomnia, shaking hands, heart palpitations, chest tightness, trouble breathing, hair loss, weight loss/gain, depression, fatigue, brain fog, irritability, extremely heavy or very light menstrual periods, miscarriages and/or infertility, high cholesterol, rapid pulse, sensitivity to heat or cold, frequent headaches & muscle & joint aches, and sometimes nausea and dizziness.  Because those symptoms individually can seem like so many other things (and are so often just chalked up to plain old 'depression') doctors very often will never even think to consider them together and to check your thyroid function.  

It was only after I self-diagnosed (after seeing a news report about women's increased likelihood of having a thyroid disorder and hearing them list all the possible symptoms) that I booked a complete physical with my doctor, and insisted that they check my thyroid function, (as well as for Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthtritis and a full check up with a cardiologist for my cardiac symptoms).  And, sure enough, there it was, plain as day.  My thryroid was completely out of whack- sometimes way too high, and then passing through a normal phase and going way too low.  Before this, every single doctor (and even some still) say that I've just got depression, and they literally go and get depression meds' from a cupboard and tell me to just take these.  I've been sent home by at least 3-4 doctors will a bag full of depression meds when I explained these symptoms.  And, only once did I ever take a pill.  My 2nd son was 2 months old, and the OB/GYN diagnosed me with postpartum depression (it wasn't, it was actually my thyroid going too high that caused the severe insomnia and anxiety).  She never even thought to check my thyroid before prescribing the meds.  And, I took one that night.  An hour later, my husband had to take me to the ER because I was having an acute anxiety attack, because the Zoloft was making my existing insomnia and anxiety much worse.  So, in short, doctors get it wrong all the time, and prescribing anxiety and depression meds is just their last resort when they can't think of anything else to tell you.  I've refused to believe that my symptoms are all in my head, and I've refused to believe it was just "depression".  Depression and anxiety have real, physical causes.  They are symptoms, not necessarily a diagnosis.  I do experience true depression when my thryoid function is too low, and I do experience true anxiety attacks when the function is too high.  But, the answer for me is getting my thryoid function under control.  That's what cures my depression or anxiety.  

What I have is called Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, which is an auto-immune disorder where my own body is producing anti-bodies to attack my thyroid as if it's a foreign invader in my body.  I now am on daily medication to make up for the hormone my sick thyroid is not producing, and I see an endocrinologist about every 2-3 months to keep a watch on how I'm doing.  And, hopefully, very soon I'll get my free T3 level checked and might be on the road to a new medication to cure the fatigue and brain fog.

I've also read that brain fog can be caused by some other things: a diet high in soy; by food allergies; consumption of the sugar substitute aspartame (in many diet sodas and in some fake sugar packets).  I do have "food chemical sensitivities", so I have to avoid artificial flavorings (especially MSG!), artificial preservatives, artificial colorings and some foods like peanuts, orange juice, grapes/raisins, broccoli, mushrooms, onions, and cured meats (ham, sausages, pepperoni, etc...).  Essentially, I cannot eat processed foods.  But, even when I was on the very strictest elimination diet when I was seeing a dietitian who specialized in food chemical sensitivities, my brain fog and fatigue symptoms never changed.  The severe symptoms related to the food sensitivities can be controlled through my diet, but none of the symptoms that ended up being due to my autoimmune thyroid disorder are helped through diet control.  

So, for myself, my last and most hopeful "shot" at getting my brain fog & fatigue symptoms diagnosed and treated is if they are part of my existing thyroid disorder.

You just have to be persistent, and sometimes meet the right people, or see the right news report, and do some research of your own on the Internet to really get to the bottom of the symptoms, and to start asking firmly for doctors to check you for these things.  I hope things turn out well for you.  I'd be interested to hear what your doctor finds in your blood results after your complete physical. =)  

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Here is the link to a Google book (that you can get in the library or bookshop, too).  I've read parts of it, and I am just amazed and encouraged and think that this could really help a lot of people who are struggling to find causes for their brain fog symtpoms.  It did a great job explaining the possible thyroid hormone imbalances as a potential cause:

It's called "Brain Fog" by Binyamin Rothstein D.O.

http://books.google.com/books?id=ukLtoxo0zFwC&pg=PA48&lpg=PA48&dq=free+T3+brain+fog&source=bl&ots=_KnNNMIa6r&sig=aP9uBpANAOHduXbjZFwFqq0hFcI&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=1&ct=result
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I completely stumbled across these posts by accident and am so glad that I did.  I have been wondering what is wrong with me because for weeks now, I feel as though I have been in this "brain fog".. it is the strangest feeling I've ever had.  I was diagnosed with anxiety just earlier this month and put on Xanax (.25mg) to help with it.  I was told that due to the stressful year I had plus losing my job 2 weeks before Christmas is what started the anxiety.  All I know is one minute I was fine and then shortly after the holidays, I had severe dizziness and was told I had stress induced vertigo.  Once this went away, I was left with the "brain fog" and it isn't going away.  My doctor keeps telling me to rest and take it easy and I have been doing this but I cannot even resume normal activities.  I can no longer read a book because I lost my ability to focus; if I try to clean my house, I can only do a couple of things because I start to feel slightly motion sick.  I am in no physical pain but do not feel like myself.  I am going to see my doctor next week and am requesting to have all these thyroid tests done in addition to my hormone levels because I wonder if any of this has to do with being on a new birth control pill?  

I just want to figure out exactly what is wrong with me so I can try to get back to my normal self.  I almost feel trapped in my own body and don't know how to escape.

If anyone has any other suggestions, I would love to see them.
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676032_tn?1315677663
I would suggest getting your thyroid checked! It causes a lot of problems for a person.. I suffer from hypothyroidism and am having a rough time with anxiety. You described it well, I feel trapped in my body too, and its falling apart! To start with all I had was anxiety then all the physical symptoms started happening! It has effects every aspect of my life, college has suffered big time as I can concentrate and my memory was so bad at the start! Like you, I just woke one morning feeling like this, having horrible thoughts and feeling C*appy!!! It would be best if you get your levels checked. Ask for a TSH, free t3 free t4 and antibodie tests! Just to be on the safe side!
Good luck, Jen.
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Hi all,

just thought I would share some of my experience with hypothyroidism and brain fog. I am on levothyroxine, and my TSH levels are now within normal range, but I still experience the brain fog from time to time.
I have found that the only thing that really helps is exercise. And I don't mean just taking a short walk. It has to be high-tempo and last at least half an hour. The harder the better, it has to be so you get really exhausted and sweat. My favourite is a long jogging/run. But it really helps. After a round of exercise I feel like a different person. I can think clearly, I can concentrate for longer periods of time, and my mood is really improved. This improved state lasts for 1 to 2 days after hard exercise. If I haven't exercised for a week or two I get the brain fog symptoms again.
I know it can be difficult to motivate yourself to do this exercise when you are feeling down, but if you just manage to get out and try, I hope you will see that it helps for you too.
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I seem to have all of the same symptoms that you guys are experincing. Like some of you, all of my blood test results come back balanced. It seems though we are all looking for the fix. The only thing I didn't see mentioned in any of the posts is that I feel like I have a pressure, which right now is slight. In the past it has kept me from driving. Not because I lost control of motor skills, just because I was a danger to those around me because I was so unaware of my surroundings. I was in great health running 50 miles a week, until I injured my knee. Since then I have been gaining weight, and I have no motivation to do anything. I found running was my escape from the fog, so to speak. I actually appologized to my wife today because we had lunch and I don't think I heard a word she said. I was daydreaming the entire time. I am going to change my eating habits drastically. One person asked me if I consumed large amounts of asparthmine. I said I do. He said, stop it will help. I am starting that today. I don't think (in my mind) any one of the items will fix my problem. I do feel that a heavy concentration of all things might help.
When I explained the condition to my neurologist, I said, Dr. if you could just stick a needle in my head and get the pressure off, it would help so much more. It was my understanding that they can test these pressures by doing a spinal tap. My Dr. said no, there were too many risks involved for the possible benefits. I said ok. My problem ended up being a severe chest infection, coupled with what they believed to be Meningitis (?sp) Topped with, a bad diet, tons of stress (and I mean tons) and a recession affecting my income. I recovered from the seriousness of my condition through anti-biotics (it took 2 months). So I am certain I had something other than just Fogginess.
Now I am seemingly slipping into the abyss again. I don't feel sick this time. I am not stressed. I have never slept well. I have done the sleep studies and was told that I am beyond what there equipment can study. Plus I never act up when I go. I sleep walk, talk, etc. Anyway, just wanted to share my story and my thoughts and see if anyone can relate to any of the pieces of this puzzle so we can assemble it. Something is triggering this.
Incidentally, my wife sent me an article that was describing the power of laughter. I explained to her that one thing that I did notice is that when I am into something that I am really enjoying, I am totally unaware of my condition. Do any of you notice the same thing? At a point I called it selfcentered syndrome.. As long as people kept me happy I was real responsive. I currently have no sex drive, All I want to do is sleep and eat. So the fact that I am responsive to the Happy stimulus, tells me that stress is a part of the key to this door.
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Stress is absolutely a trigger to the "fog". And when you are happy, the "fog" isn't there. Very true. I wonder what hormone is triggering this symptom when stress hits. The stress is a "fear" of sorts. I can handle a large workload but when I think my job is in jeopardy, the "fear-stress" kicks in and so does the fog. When I'm happy, there is no "fear-stress" and no "fog". When the fear stress/fog kicks in, so does the dizziness, fatigue and the vertigo on occasion. This is very aggravating. I feel like a blithering idiot on occasion.
I'm waiting on my latest labs. Will post when I get them.
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I do too. Forgetting what you want to say midsentence really irritates me. And no matter how hard I think I can't figure out what I was going to say. I always find myself lost for words too..Simple words. I'll say something like my son has a um um..and the word will be a cold..But I just can't find it. Sad thing is, I am pretty smart. So when these episodes happen I kick myself like, hey buddy get in gear..You know this. But truth is, at the time, I don't. I pray someone clears up and says, WOW here is the answer
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Wow.. re-reading that post that I made should prove that yesterday was indeed a bad day
It's strange that I know what I was trying to say but I'm not sure it came through lol
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Update:  After seeing my endocrinologist last week, I have now been on Armour Thyroid (and am off Synthroid) for a week now.  Although all of my thyroid levels were very, very good (I couldn't have asked for them to be better- TSH at 2.086, and free T4 = 1.16 and free T3 = 3.2, both really great levels- this is while on medication), I was still having some symptoms that weren't going away while I was on the Synthroid (which is purely a T4 replacement medicine, requiring the liver and other organs to do the work of converting most of that T4 hormone into useable T3 hormone).  

So, I asked to be put on Armour Thyroid instead (which is a fixed ratio T3/T4 replacement medication, where the body does not need to work to convert the T4 itself.  The work is already done).  I had read medical articles by doctors that said their results were showing that people with the neurophysiological symptoms related to low-thyroid got much better relief when put on a combination T3/T4 replacement medication.  Those symptoms included depression, fatigue, headaches, brain fog, irritability, trouble concentrating, confusion, forgetfulness, etc...

And, a week into being on the Armour Thyroid, I must say that my symptoms are improving.  The brain fog is still there (although lessening), but the constant headaches have lifted; my attitude is improving and I am feeling much more positive;  I can concentrate better; I am feeling able to wake up faster in the mornings and like I got good sleep in the night; I am better able to handle stress and physical pain (can explain that later); and I think that as I continue on this Armour Thyroid medication, my brain fog will start to lift.  I've got 15.5 years of symptoms to work through, so I know it may take a little while for them all to clear up properly.

I guess the upshot is to make sure (if you've got a thyroid disorder) that your TSH is within the .3 - 3.0 range (closer to 2.0 is the best, from what I have been reading) and that you ask your doctor to put you on the T3/T4 replacement medication, because studies and patient testimonials are showing that T4 medication alone, even when the patient's results are all very good and totally normal, does not seem to address the neurophysiological symptoms.  Having the fixed ratio T3/T4 medication (where the conversion from T4 to T3 has already been done, meaning less work for the patient's body) does truly seem to give relief to the symptoms that Synthroid, Levothryroxine, etc... do not give.

I hope that helps.  I will post more as the symptoms continue to get better.  In the meantime, here is a link which can give you more information about the research and studies that have been done.

http://www.lef.org/protocols/metabolic_health/thyroid_regulation_01.htm

Exercise may help, but if a person truly has an underactive thyroid, then they need to be on medication, and getting their levels to the optimum point, and being on the best medication for their condition is very important, not just for how they are feeling, but for their overall body health.  The link above does a good job outlining the health risks of not having adequate treatment for an underactive thyroid.  The health risks are serious, so making sure your thyroid levels are very good is important for your long-term health and wellbeing, especially for your heart and bone health.
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In the references to thyroid problems. I have read several clips regarding optimal levels for certain people. I also read that a prescriptive (generic) table is not an accurate take on each individuals needs. Everytime I got blood tests, my thyroid reports came back as what the Dr.'s called normal. I have learned through my experiences that ranges are not always accurate. I.E. my truck alignment was within manufacturers specs (ranges). However, my tires still showed irregular wear. When I asked them to get the alignment perfect (which was not physically possible, but they narrowed the tolerance), no wear was evident.  How can I (a very ill informed person as far as any of these medical technicallities goes) ensure that I am at my personal optimum range? Although I consider myself an easy person to talk to, I am weary about asking the Dr. are you sure? Like I am second guessing him. I have seen the effects of a runaway thyroid and it can literally make a sane person crazy. Any help you can provide me that could make me understanding is greatly appreciated.
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Hi CarrieMae

Re: hyperparathyroidism, I have heard from an excellent endocrine surgeon that blood calcium levels do not necessarily indicate whether your parathyroid glands are overacting.  You can have a slightly elevated blood calcium level or be on the high end of the normal range and still have hyperparathyroidism.  Get your doc to find out your PTH level (parathyroid hormone).  Depending on the scale used, I think I remember that it should either be under 36 or 3.6.  If you've had long-lasting fatigue and if you are prone to breaking bones, hyperparathyroidism should be seriously considered.  Check out the "Best Doctors" reports in your area for a good endo doc.  I've also had great treatment from my internal medicine doc who I see instead of a general practictioner or endocrinologist.  They seem to be much more thorough than the GP's.
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Your posts have all saddened me as I know how debilitating brain fog can be.  I have been suffering with these symptoms for over 20 years.  I dont kow whether I have a thyroid problem I have had a number of tests - nothing conclusive and I did have TB in a gland in my throat (this was in my late 20's).    I have had brain fog symptoms since puberty too.  I would get very spacy and I found it difficult to concentrate in school - but I thought it was just me. During this time something very traumatic happened in my family which I found very difficult to come to terms with.  In my late teens and early 20's I was consuming copious amounts of alcohol - this looking back masked the problem - so I didnt realise how bad things were until my early 30's. I did for a considerable length of time refuse to acknowledge the fogginess as I was unable to explain it.  I have had possibly two moments that have lasted an hour or so in the last 20 years where I have felt some clarity (how scarey is that).  I have never been able to drive - as my concentration levels are so bad.  I am in marketing but have found that every little task or project seems like a mountain to climb.  I know I suffer with stress, depression and anxiety too and I think they're all connected.  Although my job is stressful and I feel such a failure in my role - I know if I take something on less challenging I would switch off altogether.  Right thru my 30's this illness has persisted  Each visit to the doctor I was told this was the symptom of depression.  Perhaps they are right - or perhaps the depression is because of the brain fog!!   I am in my early 40's now with still no answers which makes me very frustrated.  I have two wonderful children and I would dearly love to appreciate them, feel the rush of emotion that every mother should have.  But its like my feelings are so enclosed that I cant feel the happiness.  Strangely though I am able to feel negative emotions far more easily and often.  I feel so much sympathy for all of you desperately looking for an answer.  It may be that we all have a differing problem and brain fog is just one of the symptoms.  I really dont know. I thught my symptoms pointed towards Candida and  I spent a whole year following a candida diet, which left me anaemic and in bad shape.  But I did lose over two stones (so couldnt have been all bad!).  I do think brain-fog is the silent epidemic and I just wonder how long it will take for it to surface.  I know that most doctors I have visited have been very unhelpful.  Perhaps if we can find some common denominator between us all we may find an answer.  I know a number of you are mentioning thyroid but it doesnt appear that your brain fog is lessening or being relieved in anyway by the drugs prescribed - or have I missed comments to the contrary?  Please, if any of you do find the answer or have a really sympathetic doctor who is helping you - let the rest of us know - you may feel no need to come back to this site once you are well but the rest of us would value the insight.  

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OMGoodness!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thankyou so much, I honestly thought I was the only one.And that I was crazy! Well now I know there are others out there like me because of medhelp.org. I have the exact same problems... And have no clue what so ever as to what this so called "brain fogness" is...It's driving me to be severely stressed out a lot! Even though I have no physical,emotional,or personality problems that I no of. I was also born perfectly normal. Although my mother has type two diabates.AND ALTHOUGH I AM NOT AWARE OF ANY THYROID PROBLEMS. SHOULD I GET TESTED FOR ANYTHING?<3<3-THANKX SO MUCH :)...
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I also experience the brain fog.  I don't have any diagnosed thyroid problems though I have all the symptoms.  However, as to the brain fog, I found that when I took gluten, dairy and sugar out of my diet it greatly improved as did the constant headaches I was having.  You might want to experiment with taking one or all three of those things out of your diet just to see how you feel.  Give it about a week or two before giving up.  You might be surprised as to how you feel.  Hope it helps!
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Stop bothering with that endo. He's obviously clueless. If he says your FT4 was normal and then didn't bother to test your FT3, fire him! Find one who pays attention to your symptoms and your free levels, not the TSH. Get your frees in the upper 1/3 of the range. This is most likely causing the brain fog.

Many endos specialize in diabetes, not thyroid. It's the sad truth.

Below is a list of endos recommended by their patients. Call the office and ask how many thyroid patients that endo treats. Mine treats 75 percent thyroid.

http://www.thyroid-info.com/topdrs/

:) Tamra
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I am so grateful that you are all willing to be so open & honest! I am 52 years old, have been "diagnosed" with depression/anxiety since I was 33yrs old.  Anxiety, weight loss, severe fatigue, chronic constipation..and yes you guessed it..brain fog!!  I experienced 6 miscarriages, of which the last miscarriage in 1991, brought on all of my "issues".  I starting seeing a psych who prescribed zoloft, which after almost 1-2 yrs, effectively worked.  I would go on/off as needed, primarily needed in the fall/winter when the anxiety & severe brain fog would occur (then referred to as 'Seasonal Affective Disorder/SAD').  The brain fog, by the way, would trigger the anxiety, which would verify the need for the zoloft. This scenario worked extremely well for years (aside from the unpleaseant side effects of weight gain & severe constipation).  Then in 2008 the zoloft stopped working...did not alleviate the brain fog at all, anxiety became worse, took xanax as needed.  My dr decided to run a thryoid test, which came back "borderline" .. I was put on .25mcg Synthroid which completely took care of the brain fog (praise God) & was then prescribed Cytomel (t3)  .5mcg every other day. This worked wonderfully!  Brain fog was completely gone, no fatigue, no anxiety...it was an answer to prayer.  Then my weight began to drop quickly - normal wt was 118-121, dropped to 107 within 2 mos, severe day/night sweats.  Dr. recommended stopping the cytomel due to the fact that I was "pre-menopausal" at the time & wanted to verify if it was in fact menopause or the cytomel...WELL..within 2 weeks I crashed hard!  Horrible panic attacks, couldn't concentrate, heavier brain fog than I've ever had, increased weight loss, insomnia.  This was 1 year ago & they continue to "play" with the meds, test my levels (which supposedly are all normal) & I am back to taking xanax as needed for anxiety while attempting to muddle my way through the day (I own a business) take care of my husband, daughter, son & elderly mother.  I pray alot, cry alot, PUSH through all of my routing activities...everything that once was a joy is now a chore..I truly just can't "figure out" how to start to clean, cook...even have a normal conversation!  When I read all of the other postings, I am "selfishly" grateful that there are actually others out there that truly know & understand what I am dealing with.  I am most encouraged & will do more research on the info from Binyamin Rothstein, D.O.!  Please keep posting...
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"Basically, it's a heavy feeling of being only half-awake; of livingAdvanced care directives in a dream; like I'm sleepwalking; heavy mentalMental retardation
Mental status tests fogginess; serious difficulty concentrating due to this feeling; difficulty focusing on what's happening around me.  Really, it is the feeling you get right before you lose consciousness- like I'm on the edge of passing out and losing consciousness, and the world around me is seeming really distant and starting to fade away and get dark."

I've been feeling the exact same way for almost four months now, with the added caveat that i'm developing anterograde amnesia as well. I've had different blood tests and urine tests as well as an MRI and everything shows up to be normal, except for my thyroid, which at one occasion appeared to be somewhat over the normal range (three subsequent blood tests however revealed nothing strange). Its been two years now since the original poster commented on her symptoms and i'd like to know if anything had changed since then.
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this is me.. omg.. I was around 16-17 when the feeling suddenly hit me.. I was at school, and the rest of the day I could barely focus on anything.  Just like you, my family and I had just moves across the country.  6 months later, and it happened.  I've been like that ever since, but every 2-3 years the feeling hits me again, and I'm worse than before(I'm 24 now).  You gave the perfect description of the feeling Carrie; half conscious, in a dream state, difficulty focusing.  I keep rubbing my eyes hoping to wake up.  One other sympthum I have is a "fuzzy" look around edges of shapes I'm looking at.. I don't know how to describe it, as if something's vibrating really really really fast and the edges of the shapes I look at have this "bleeding" effect.  Kinda like in dreams I guess.  I don't feel tired at all.. Actually I'm pretty hyper, but this feeling is stopping me from showing my full potenitial in college, and at work.. I'm pissed.  Everyone thinks I'm normal, they even think I'm smart and very talented, but I'm a robot.  The other day I woke up from a dream and I couldn't tell if I was still dreaming or not.  I walked around my room, and I was still having that "fuzzy" feeling of being in a dream, feeling like things aren't entirely real.. It made me claustrofobic, like I'm stuck in a place I can't get out of.  I sometimes think what if when I was 16 I died and now this is like a dream.. I'm walking around like a ghost slowly fading away.  It's very frustrating, hard to put in words.  All tests normal, mri, blood test, even thyroid test, but now I need to get a copy to check the levels, just to make sure.  I exercise all the time, I eat healthier that anyone I know.  I sleep 8 hours a day.. I'mhealthier than anyone I know...

...we really need to make a website for us, and this brain fog...  
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Thanks!!!!!!!!!!  47 next month and fogged in! Hyperthyriod in late 20s.  I  crashed  @ 29-30 been on thyriod meds..every since 5 miscarriages 2 kids high blood pressure 16 yrs.  and anti-phospolipid (thick Blood/blood clots, so far only in the miscarriages.)  Never had anyone else discribe fog  like I do till I came across this forum.  My Mom had radioactive meds. to kill her thyriod in her early 30s , she is only 19 yrs older than me.  Menal illness runs on her side of the family and diabeties and addison disease on my Dads side. So I know all 'bout endo system and its problems.  Now perimenopause too!!  Foggy......
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About to post a comment and got distracted - now 2 hours later! Ah, one of the fun aspects of my Brain Fog, which started about 3 months ago. Find myself having to write everything down at work to make sure I keep myself on track. I'm so used to being motivated and mentally alert that this has really thrown me for an emotional loop - probably part of the whole deal. Going back to my naturopathic/thyroid doctor tomorrow and a neurologist next week. I hope that we can get this train back on the track, because this is only living half a life at best . . . . and I have too many great things in my life to be so disengaged!

Fog started when my TSH shot up, although I don't think my T3 and T4 were too off. I'll need to look again at my levels. But also just found out that my mom has a parathyroid problem, so should look int that, as well.

I began to get migraines when my Hashimoto's started after the birth of my first child. Have others experienced the same? My doctors say the two aren't linked, but I disagree and have found information on the Intranet that headache/migraines frequently co-exist with hypothyroidism. Interestingly enough, I've had my most clear-headed, mental fog free moments after taking Imitrex for my migraines. It's like my brain has been short-circuiting and the Imitrex has reconnected my synapses. Weird.

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Update From Lisa
After I wrote my statement, I fell ill. I had Shingles and whooping cough within a week of each other. After losing all faith in my doctor, I started seeing a Naturopath Doctor. Long story short, my adrenal glands and immune system were shot. After intense supplement therapy and an elimination diet (for about 6 months~ no wheat, red meat, milk, sugar or soy because many new food allergies were present) I am full functional again! After years of brain fog, I feel human again!  Please ask you doctors to check your adrenal functions and please consider food allergies.
My thoughts are with all of you. That dark inhuman place is an awful experience. I hope you find your cause.
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IANAD but I have been suffering from brain fog myself and have been researching the potential causes. One potential cause of brain fog is low ferritin/low iron levels. Please take note that ferritin can be "in range" and still be too low. The range is something like 25-300. That's huge and that's a red flag right there. Another potential brain fog cause is low levels of serotonin. I myself have recently found I have low levels of this which I think might be the culprit. There are also various other vitamin and chemical deficiencies that can cause this. Also having your sex hormones out of whack can cause this as well. If you are suffering from any of this please seek out a reputable alternative or integrative doctor and ask them to test you in all the areas I mentioned above. If nothing else, it will at least allow you to rule out more potential causes. God bless you guys, take care.
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how's the brain fog?  In the mist of one myself....had off and on as long as I can remember but this one hit about 6-8 weeks ago and still going strong!
Had one about 5 years ago, Dr and Neuro coudd find nothing, went away on it's own....any new news on what to do for this?
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If you haven't already done so get checked for allergies and chronic sinusitus.......it can come on very gradually.......things to watch for are sensitvity to smells and fatigue........I had it for years as did my son and we just never knew what it was........we had the same......diffiuculty concentrating, fatigue, weakness, spaciness etc.
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I can't believe I found this forum. I have had very similar symptoms to what some of you are describing. My first experience with this was at 17, playing soccer in high school. This overwhelming sensation hit me, like I wasnt really there on the field and that I might pass out at any second. It lasted about 3 hours. For the next 20 years ( Im 37 now) I have gradually been getting worse and experiencing this "out-of-body" sensation more often. The last 3 months have been the worst. I now cant go into a store without feeling like Im going to pass out. It hits me all of a sudden, this sensation like Im outside of my body and on the edge of consciousness. I often have to hold on to my girlfriends purse or sleeve, or a shopping cart for fear I might topple over. Its just the weirdest dream-like state, almost like Im a ghost, like my actions arent really being performed by me, I find myself reciting my phone # over and over in my head to try and stay alert.

It sometimes happens at home, like I can stand up and look at my couch, but it feels to me like the couch might not really be there. I struggle with attentiveness lately, and have zero sexual drive towards my live-in girlfriend( which presents its own issues..).

Have pretty much lived with depression and anxiety my whole life. Physicals, MRIs, blood pressure, etc. have all shown Im pretty healthy physically.

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There can be multiple possible causes for some of the symptoms you mention.  Why did you choose the Thyroid Forum to post your message?  Have you had thyroid tests that indicated a problem?  If so, please post your thyroid related test results and their reference ranges shown on the lab report.  

In the long time period you mention, you must have seen different doctors.  What have your doctors said about possible causes for your symptoms?
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It sounds to me like a brain fog is a name for another condition. Everyone on here should look in to depersonalization. This can be treated with meds.
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How about explaining what you mean by depersonalization and what it involves and some verification that it is worth even pursuing.
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What you have described sounds more like Dissociation. It comes from early trauma and EMDR and EFT will be far more effective than this typical response of desperately running around to different doctors, trying to figure out what is medically wrong...There is a movie called "Numb" that describes this so well.  So sorry to hear you are going through all this.
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It sounds like you might have high anxiety/depression. I have all the same symptoms you have described: fogginess, darkness, alienation, disconnected, tiredness, etc. I've been to several doctors and in and out of the hosiptal, had an MRI and several tests and nothing is physically wrong with me. A couple of doctors determined that I may have anxiety so I went to see a psychiartrist and I described all my symptoms and she diagnosed me with high anxiety/depression.  I've done a lot of research of my symptoms and it all points towards anxiety. The meds I was prescribed helped a little but were either not strong enough or were benzo's which are not to be taken regularly because they are highly addicitive (althought the benzos worked the best) I tried ignoring it which helped some but I've found anxiety is a viscious cycle that feeds itself and ignoring it only prolongs the feelings. Also, fighting anxiety or your feelings will only intensify them. I decided to just deal with it and have found that confronting the way you feel and embracing it and doing the opposite of what anxiety or fear tells you to do helps more. It may take awhile but I believe it will get better. I also believe that God is the ulitmate healer and trust and devotion to Him will cure any anxiety or bad feelings or perceptions I may have but that's just what I believe. High anxiety is an irrational fear and cannot hurt you and if the doctors have told you that are physcially ok then this could be what you're experiencing. I understand how difficult it is, trust me I'm struggling, but I'm am confident you can get better.
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If you look at this list of 26 typical hypothyroid symptoms, do you seem to have any of them?  Have you ever been tested for the possibility of being hypothyroid?

http://endocrine-system.emedtv.com/hypothyroidism/hypothyroidism-symptoms-and-signs.html
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I suffer from the same thing every day, It has gotten so bad that I forget where im driving while behind the wheel, I forget what year it is, I forget peoples names I have known for years and so on. I also understand the dream state thing I experienced that when my thyroid levels switched to hyper I kept saying I feel like this is all a dream, is this all really happening? am I really here? it was like watching the movie of my life detached from it. I have an endo appointment, a neuro appointment and a internal medicine appointment and thousands of dollars in bills from all of the other tests done in the last 6 months an no answers. im sorry I have no advise for you but I wanted you to know you are not alone and yes it is very scary!
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Please update us on your brain fog!! I desperately need hope that this will get better. Please let us know if yours is gone!
Thanks!!
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CarrieMae has not posted on this Forum in years, so I seriously doubt she will see your post and respond.  If you would care to share with us your thyroid related test results and reference ranges, along with symptoms you have other than brain fog, perhaps a member can provide some useful info for you.
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A ~very~ long time since I posted or responded.  Have re-read through everyone's posts, to catch up properly.

Long story short:  Now living in Melbourne, Australia.  Over here, thyroid problems are managed differently, and ~no~ natural thyroid replacement medication (such as Armour Thyroid) is available.  So, I am again on Levothyroxine.  It was a very hard transition back to the synthetic hormone.

Something that has been determined in the last 2.5 years is that I technically have PCOS (poly-cystic ovarian syndrome).  Although all hormone levels come back 'normal' I do have one ovary with many follicles.  Read up about it, but this in essence means that my body is exposed to more of the androgens than a 'normal' woman would be.  I have been on Spiractone/Aldactone for over a year.  It hasn't helped or changed the brain fog, ~but~ it did completely fix the problems with irritability, aggressive feelings and is lessening the unwanted hair growth.  And, within months I could sing all the high soprano notes again, which for years had been just squawks because they had become to high.  

The brain fog has not gotten any better.  But, here's something:  Recently, it got worse.  I was quite unwell, but really couldn't put a finger on what was wrong.  I was having ~drenching~ night sweats every night, fevers during the days, headaches, and for a few days I was in agony with nerve pain, especially in my neck.  As it happened, I was due for blood work during that time.  Kidney function & TSH came back normal. ~But~, all 4 liver enzymes were significantly elevated; my lymphocytes were extremely high, and my platelets were extremely high.  I had episodes of palpitations (heart rate suddenly at 110+ bpm) and skipped beats.  This has meant a series of more blood work, ultrasounds of my liver & glands, Holter heart monitor, etc...  The doctor was very confused to have any of these types of results come back abnormal, because the initial blood work was just routine stuff that's always "normal".

Well, point being:  The doctors can tell that I've had a fairly serious viral infection, most likely viral meningitis.  So far, after testing for every type of virus they can think of (from those initial blood samples) they cannot determine what virus it was.  Not hepatitis, not TB, not cytomegalo virus, not Epstein-Barr, not mono nucleosis, not mumps...  Whatever it was, it really affected my liver and I had a very strong immune reaction to the infection.  The time period (all of March) that I was "coming down" with the infection and then was sick with it is a real blur.  My memories are scattered and fuzzy- there were events in that time period like Easter, my birthday, 2 weddings, etc... that I can just barely piece together.  I am still not feeling 100% better.  More blood work to monitor 'deranged liver function' in 2 weeks' time.

So...  Someone else had mentioned they'd experienced meningitis, (bacterial or viral?  That wasn't mentioned).  There seem to be so many possible causes, even multiple causes, of brain fog and an infection around the lining of the brain seems like a ~very~ valid possibility!  Especially considering my recent illness.  I wonder whether as a young adult or child this could also have happened, because there were multiple times in childhood (not having medical insurance) where I got very ill and never saw a doctor (like with Strep throat; ear infections and who knows what else that we were just told to stay in bed & sleep off).  

Another suggestion, which is closer to the suggestion of dissociation (triggered by traumatic events), was 'borderline personality disorder'.  Again, I'll let others read about that elsewhere, but there are elements of that which do speak to many of the 'brain fog' symptoms.  And, yes, actually it's possible for myself that borderline personality disorder is a cause.

Other possibilities (though not in my case) are very low Vitamin D levels, problems with adrenal glands (as someone has already mentioned) and sleep apnea.  Depression, stress, insomnia and food allergies are real possibilities for others, too.  

(Yes, I do have food sensitivities, and in my case the foods that cause the symptoms of fatigue, headaches, body aches and general exhaustion are: black pepper, peanut butter, oranges, pineapple, red wine (not intoxication!) and silicates- used as a preservative in dried fruits, wine, cured meats, etc...)

Although it can make a person sound like a hypochondriac, I have met other people with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis who ~also~ have polycystic ovarian syndrome and food sensitivities/allergies.  So, it really does seem that some of these things are related and come as a 'package deal'.  There are so many symptoms within each of these diagnoses that it can take a person ~years~ to sort through things and get the right treatment or understanding of their body & have adequate symptom management.

I hope any of that update helps.  I guess the best answer is to keep a really good symptom diary, listing how much sleep you've had, what you've eaten & drunk, the weather, what physical activity you've had, what you did that day (work/school/life activities & stresses), for women where you are in your "cycle", and then throughout the day keep a detailed list of the symptoms you were experiencing.  ~That~ is how they diagnosed my food sensitivities.  With this specific and detailed information, you'll be much more able to state clearly and firmly to the doctor what your exact symptoms are, and give the doctor something to "go on", because they can review weeks or months of the symptom diary to see whether there are patterns & trends of things like certain foods, stresses, activities, etc... that are influencing or causing your symptoms.  

God bless, and try to stay positive everyone.  It is ~hard~ sometimes, but there's always hope for a better tomorrow.
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Thanks CarrieMae for the update.  Hope things improve for you soon.  

And by the way, even hypochondriacs get sick occasionally.  LOL

Best to you.
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Have you had your Vitamin D and B12 check ?
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Did you ever find anything out??
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I found that my brain fog and mental fatigue, which I had over 6 years, did not go away until I got my TSH below 1!  It all had to do with my thyroid! I had been taking levothyroxine (T4) (brand name Synthroid) since 2003 because I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's hypothyroidism (an autoimmune condition where your immune system attacks your thyroid, causing too little thyroid hormone to be produced).  However my TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone produced by the pituitary gland in the brain) blood test was always in the "normal" range (anything under 5, or now 3 is the recommended high normal), and so I never suspected it could have anything to do with my worsening brain fog and mental fatigue.  BUT I came across an article that stated it is difficult for women to get pregnant if their TSH is above 2! So it got me thinking I should try reducing my TSH and see what happens.  And that was the answer!  I told my doctor my goal to get it below 2 and so we gradually increased the levothyroxine.  It took time to get it right because as took more levothyroxine, my TSH would go down, but then it would go up again because my thyroid was being stimulated less by the lower TSH, so it would produce less thyroid hormone, and then my TSH would go back up a bit.  So you have to keep getting tested at least every 4 weeks.  If TSH goes up again, take more levothyroxine.  I went from 75mcg gradually to now 150mcg.  Now my TSH seems to be staying around 1 or less, and I'm free of brain fog!!!!  I'm able to work at a computer job again after 6 years of suffering.  I feel like a new man again!  So remember, it's more important how you feel, not what the TSH level is or the doctor says.  A good doctor will go based on how you feel.  Everyone is different.  I found I only feel normal if my TSH is below 1.  I hope this helps people out there who are suffering like I did!
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Thanks for taking time to tell us about your experience.   I agree with you about treating hypothyroidism clinically.  In fact you might find the following interesting.  I post it a lot so that hypo members will notice it and understand what tests and treatment they should be getting.  



A good thyroid doctor will treat a hypo patient clinically by testing and adjusting Free T3 and Free T4 as necessary to relieve symptoms, without being constrained by resultant TSH levels.  You can get some good insight into clinical treatment from this letter written by a good thyroid doctor for patients that he sometimes consults with after initial tests and evaluation.  The letter is then sent to the participating doctor of the patient to help guide treatment.  In the letter, please note the statement, "the ultimate
criterion for dose adjustment must always be the clinical response of the patient."

http://hormonerestoration.com/files/ThyroidPMD.pdf


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