You find yourself stumbling for words. Names that are on the tip of your tongue don’t move any further. Are these frustrating episodes examples of early-onset dementia or something else?
Don't worry too much about minor memory lapses. You might think your brain cells are on the downswing, but it could be your thyroid hormones or testosterone (T). Our experts at Men's T Clinic® — with locations in Dallas, Frisco, The Colony, Houston, Cypress, Pearland, Pasadena, and Spring, Texas — are committed to helping men achieve optimal health at all stages of life.
Here’s how we might be able to make your memory lapses a thing of the past.
Your thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland at the base of your throat that produces the thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Thyroid hormones control many of your body’s functions, including your metabolism and your brain. When T4 or T3 are low, a condition known as hypothyroidism, you move more slowly, your brain moves more slowly, and your memory does, too.
In addition to brain fog and memory lapses, low T4 and T3 can cause a range of other symptoms, including feeling cold when everyone around you is comfortable or getting tired easily.
During your consultation at Men’s T Clinic®, your doctor asks you about your medical history, symptoms, and medication use. If they suspect your thyroid is low, they order a blood test to determine your levels and prescribe a thyroid supplement, if necessary.
Your adrenal glands release “stress” hormones, such as epinephrine and cortisol. You get a big boost of cortisol whenever you’re in a fight-or-flight situation. Both epinephrine and cortisol arouse your emotions and your awareness of your surroundings.
Emotional arousal was a big help when you were trying to quickly find an escape route so you could avoid being a hungry tiger’s next meal, but it also helps in less-fatal stress conditions. Even something as innocuous as taking a test (our ancestors would think we’re such wusses) can spike your stress hormones and sharpen your brain … and your memory. At least temporarily.
Unfortunately, too much cortisol wears out your adrenals and keeps your brain in such a high-alert state that it can’t function well over time. If your cortisol levels are too high, your doctor may recommend relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing and meditation, so you can get stress under control. A happy brain is better able to retrieve memories.
Testosterone (T) literally put the hair on your chest when you hit adolescence, and it lowered your voice, too. Though you may associate T with male sexual characteristics, it also influences how your brain works.
Research into how low T levels affect memory hasn’t come up with a definitive cause-and-effect relationship. However, it’s clear that as men’s T levels drop with age, their cognitive abilities decline, too. If your T levels are low and you have other troubling symptoms, such as erectile dysfunction (ED), fat gain, and muscle loss, your doctor may recommend testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).
Don’t shrug off memory lapses or worry unnecessarily, either. Take action instead. Find out if your hormones are affecting your memory by contacting our office nearest you by phone or through the online booking form.