Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Seeing through the (Brain) Fog

One of the most frustrating things about hypothyroidism, when it isn't adequately treated, is the brain fog that goes along with it. At least it's that way for me. I don't feel good when I can't think clearly. I am a high functioning person and I use and expect a lot of my brain all the time. When it's not working, I feel like I've shut down. My quality of life is so diminished when I can't concentrate that it depresses me.

When this goes on for a period of time, it can make you question the meaning of your existence, and not in the philosophical sense. I've heard people say it feels pointless to go on living like this. That's another reason why we need to be vigilant about our physicians' handling of our treatment. They might not have ever experienced brain fog, but I bet if a doctor had to deal with their own brain fog, they would understand. Completely.

Being an oncology nurse, I am constantly hearing about chemobrain, a phenomenon that many people experience when going through chemotherapy, and for months to years after treatment, or even permanently. I have never experienced chemobrain but from the way patients describe it, it sounds just like hypothyroid brain.

One of the newsletters I subscribe to featured this article on concentration recently, intended to help people experiencing chemobrain to function better. When I read it, I found it perfectly applicable to hypothyroid brain.

I hope this helps. I'd like to hear your comments.


  1. Another insightful post. When I had Grave's Diasease initially and then after my thyroid removal when I developed hypothyroidism, the brain fog was horrible. So much that during that time I had the worse time ever because I couldn't concentrate and almost got fired from my job. That was horrible because this never happened to me before. Now I know my body better and can tell when I need to check my hormone meds because I feel the symptoms coming... brain fog being one of the initial ones to show up.

  2. Thanks Maria. Brain fog is one of the first things that I notice, too. Sometimes you're so brain fogged though, that you don't realize what you need to do about it, until some time has passed and you've been walking around in a fog or have other symptoms. I hope you're doing well now.

  3. I'm soon so much better and have learned to know my body so I can start telling the signs when brain fog is creeping in. Sometimes like you say, you don't even realize it especially I you are on the go 24/7.

  4. Hi Alene,

    I was wondering who your doctor is or if you know how to find doctors like her who listen to athletes. I am a collegiate runner going through these same problems, and I am finding it very frustrating. I would love to talk to you. My email is shaylynnfuller@gmail.com. Thanks for sharing your story!

  5. Alene Can you recommend a good doctor or endo in AZ for Hashimotos? I have had hypo to hashimotos in the last 10 years in May 1, 2015 my doctor added cytomel .. I've gained 10 lbs and I feel like I have arthritis in my hips and shoulders not to mention the brain fog.

    1. Casey, I am no longer living in Arizona so I don't have any recommendations. I suggest you start asking around. You can go online and look for doctors and their credentials and read reviews. Word of mouth is better than the Internet though. You can call your insurance company to get a list of the doctors who are on your plan and start there. Since I don't know anything about you, I would discuss it with your doctor who ordered the Cytomel and see if there are any adjustments they can make. Sometimes there can be other things causing the joint pain and brain fog, so the doctor should look at all the possibilities that could cause that.


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