Laura asks…

What can cause brain fog?

I’m a 17-year old girl and I occasionally experience extremely horrible brain fog. It is so detrimental to the point where I need to spend so much time completing simple tasks. I feel stupid even though I know I’m not! I’m extremely adept at math and science (2310 on SAT and 5s on AP Calc BC and Physics C exams) and I’m fairly talented at writing. My brain fog only seems to affect the linguistics area of my brain. When I have brain fog, I say the wrong words (apartments instead of compartments), I can’t think of a certain word, I use a word incorrectly (contrite instead of contrived), and I take a long time responding to questions. It rarely happens when I’m writing because I have time to ponder and think beforehand.

What can cause bad brain fog? Is it causes by hormone imbalances (I have REALLY high estrogen levels)? Diet? Or is it genetic? Thanks

Helen answers:

Brain fog is a symptom of hypoglycemia, high blood sugar, hypothyroidism (the thyroid produces two hormones based on iodine levels), hyperthyroidism, anemia, low potassium or calcium levels, diabetes, dehydration, electrolyte imbalances.

It can also be a side effect of certain medications or birth control.

Symptoms of high estrogen levels:

fluid retention
puffiness in the feet and face
joint stiffness and pain
irregular menstruation
breast pain and swelling
weight gain
decreased sex drive
mood swings
hair loss
memory loss
gallbladder disease
thyroid disease
unstable blood sugar
mineral deficiencies

there is a link between estrogen dominance and certain cancers, such as, cancer of the breast, uterus, and ovaries.

Sounds like it’s time for a thorough physical including urine, blood and thyroid testing. The balance between estrogen and progesterine and other hormones is very delicate but easily controlled. Best of luck to you.

Susan asks…

It is bipolar and how do I talk to the doctor and my mother?

I have crazy mood swings. i hadn’t even noticed it before but now I’ve started to realize that I do- you know, happy one day, like deliriously happy for no reason and then a couple weeks where I’m really depressed, and then maybe a few days where I’m pissed for no reason and lash out randomly. The depressed times are the worst, I feel like anything that goes wrong with anyone is my fault and I’m constantly paranoid checking behind my shoulders thinking that people are laughing at me hate me etc. I also sleep aalso like abnormal. If I’m not at school I’m asleep. And when I’m happy I get these ideas especially late at night and I can’t wait till later to look at it or w/e, I have to get up and start on it right away. And about a year ago I finally told my mom I was depressed(I have been for at least three, four years now) and she said she’d get me to the doctor, well it never happened, but I’m making her schedule an appointment ASAP supposedly for acne. Ever since I told her that, everytime I bring it up, or mention that I think I might need help, she scolds me that I’m not crazy and makes me feel a lil like sh*t…. now the question is how do I bring all of this up to both of them?
@Garden, actually it does affect school. I’ll be okay, like last year I had my average of a‘s and b’s and then after november I just couldn’t sit there and care and it all went to F’s. And my social life is affected too, i can’t make myself take an interest in friends or else I flip out on them for no reason and lose them.

@Christian: thanks.
oh and rick,
wow. someone’s clueless.

Helen answers:

If you are still able to function at school reasonably well, then it probably isn’t severe enough to be bipolar. Bipolar episodes are VERY severe. Also, in mania, you would expect to see periods of weeks to months where you need very little sleep – in full blown mania, say you need 2 hours a night (NOT insomnia, I mean, you are truly fully rested after 2 hours of sleep for weeks to months at a time!) in hypomania, it would be less dramatic, but say 6 hours a night, if you normally need 8 or 9. Other possibilities: Seasonal depression, PTSD from childhood abuse, especially sexual abuse or severe emotional abuse, side effects from medication – acne medication and birth control pills can even be problems – hypothyroidism, lonliness and so many more possibilities.

Perhaps you think it will be a relief to get a bipolar diagnosis, because then you will be given mediations to “treat” it and you will be all better. This is not how it goes for most people – you are hearing only the best case scenarios. The medications only help some people somewhat, and the medications are often disabling in themselves, plus so many of them cause massive weight gain, acne, diabetes, hair loss, and so many more side effects (different ones for different pills, but nasty side effects are almost the rule with psychiatric medications, with very few exceptions). So – you will ask the doc for medications that are likely to be either ineffective in the long term, or partially effective, and will get a host of uncomfortable side effects in the bargain. It isn’t worth it, and is a major reason so many people with bipolar and schizophrenia will not stay on meds – side effects and ineffectiveness of the treatments. Some people swear by their treatment, and say they got good results, and that’s great if they were helped. But large government studies show that the meds just don’t work that great for most people over the long term. See for more info.

I really, really recommend you see a therapist and leave psychiatric treatment (meds) as a last resort, if counseling fails to help you. Also increase aerobic exercise, work on social support, and consider a light box if you have more trouble in fall & winter.

All the best

Sharon asks…

PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome)…?

I have a question about it. So my doctor thinks I have it. I did some background information and I agree. Anyway I asked how I treat it and he said birth control. So at the momment I have been considering it, I know you may say why not go for it, well im 17, and my mom had cancer.. I was curious what are the types of birth control? How can you tell if one has a higher risk then the other? My mom past away from cancer almost six years ago. I really dont want to get cancer. Should I call her old Oncologist and ask some questions and then find the right birth control? Any suggestions greatly appreciated. Also, Im pre-diabetic, my doctor said maybe I should take both birth control and this other medication called Metformin. What should I do, I really dont want to start a birth control unless I know im not at more risk. Also my mom got cancer not from birth control but well actually I dont know what she got it from. Thanks

Helen answers:

“Treatment of PCOS depends partially on the woman’s stage of life. For younger women who desire birth control, the birth control pill, especially those with low “androgenic” (male hormone-like) side effects can cause regular periods and prevent the risk of uterine cancer. For women who do not require birth control, treatments that cause a woman to have a period four times a year is all that is required.

For acne or excess hair growth, a water pill (diuretic) called spironolactone may be prescribed to help reverse these problems. The use of spironolactone requires occasional monitoring of blood tests because of its potential effect on the blood potassium levels and kidney function. Propecia, a medicine taken by men for hair loss, is another medication that blocks the effect of male hormones on hair growth. Both of these medications can affect the development of a male fetus and should not be used if the woman desires to become pregnant.

Metformin (Glucophage) is a medication used to treat type 2 diabetes. This drug affects the action of insulin and is useful in reducing the symptoms of PCOS.”

The risk of uterine cancer is decreased with birth control which is what you are most at risk of with PCOS, although with most if not all birth control there is a very minor increase in the risk of breast cancer but not enough to outweigh the benefits that it would have to you. All the types appropriate for the treatment of PCOS have reasonably similar “risks” but there is actually no conclusive proof that they do indeed cause cancer, just some very slight insubstantial correlation between the two. I doubt the oncologist will be able to tell you any more than this but if it would put you at ease, why not talk to them?

Thomas asks…

I have a 7 month old. I was fine after her birth but now I am tired all of the time. Why could this be?

I had a baby 7 months ago. I was tired at first (as expected). Then I went back to work when she was 3 months old. I was fine. Actually energized! But, for the past few months I have been so tired & achy that all I want to do is go to bed. I have no energy for social functions much less to be intimate with my husband (who doesnt get why I am tired ). He helps a little but I still bare the brunt of feedings, bath time, play time, etc. I try going to bed earlier, excercising, etc. Nothing is working. It is becoming debilitating. It is hard for me to enjoy my weekends taking care of her b/c I feel so sore all over. What is going on with me? Is it normal for Moms to feel like this?
I forgot to mention that about 1 hour after I eat lunch I get light headed.

Helen answers:

There are a list of reasons why you may be feeling the way you do.

1) Birth control – Depending what you are using and specially if you use Mirena the hormones this thing releases could be causing you to feel body aches, migraines, lost sex drive, weight gain, acne, mood swings and a whole lot of side effects they don’t mention on any of their commercials. I just took mine out after having the worst 6 months of my life! I gained 20 LB’s, my period never stopped, the constant contraction pains, hair loss, acne, body aches, fatigue, you name it I had it all, and it all came from the mirena IUD. Took it out two weeks ago and no more fatigue, lost 5lbs already, and I am all over my man:-)

2) You may have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CDC) A variety of studies by CDC and others have shown that between 1 and 4 million Americans suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). They are seriously impaired, at least a quarter are unemployed or on disability because of CFS. Yet, only about half have consulted a physician for their illness. The earlier a person with CFS receives medical treatment the greater the likelihood that the illness will resolve. Equally important, about 40% of people in the general population who report symptoms of CFS have a serious, treatable, previously unrecognized medical or psychiatric condition (such as diabetes, thyroid disease, substance abuse). CFS is a serious illness and poses a dilemma for patients, their families, and health care providers.

3) you can have Postpartum depression: The birth of a baby can trigger a jumble of powerful emotions, from excitement and joy to fear and anxiety. But it can also result in something you might not expect — depression. Many new moms experience the baby blues after childbirth. An estimated 10 percent of new moms experience a more severe form of emotional distress known as postpartum depression. Rarely, an extreme form of postpartum depression known as postpartum psychosis develops after childbirth. Postpartum depression isn’t a character flaw or a weakness. Sometimes postpartum depression is simply part of giving birth. If you have postpartum depression, prompt treatment can help you manage your symptoms — and enjoy both your baby and your husband.

4) your diet. You may be consuming foods that your system no longer reacts well to. I recomend you find out what your blood type is and read the book eat right for your blood type.

I hope you find this helpful. Take care

Ken asks…

If you take more than the dosage on diet pills, will you loose more weight and quicker?

I don’t want to hear anything about how bad it is for you, I know that it is caffeine and it is not healthy to take more than needed, but if you take let’s say, 4 diet pills when you are supposed to take 1 a day will your body loose more weight and quicker. Please no answers saying that it is dangerous, I just want to know.
I actually do exercise, a lot! I run about 3 miles every day and I do sets of sit ups and push ups. I am very active, I just need to loose more. I am not thin enough yet. I am not obese or overweight, I am just average but I want to be thinner.

Helen answers:

Why don’t you get off ur @$$ and run… You don’t need diet pills it a waste of time and don’t work… Diet pills don’t make your heart healthier nor will the give u a lean sexy body that you want. And they don’t do anything but make you addicted to them because it has caffeine in it…. You can ignore the health risks as much as you want but if you don’t have enough time in your day to care for your self which requires only 30 mins (and that 30 mins will add more time to your life.) Obesity has been established as a major risk factor for diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and some cancers in both men and women. Other comorbid conditions include sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, infertility, idiopathic intracranial hypertension, lower extremity venous stasis disease, gastro-esophageal reflux and urinary stress incontinence. When you begin to take a diet pill it changes your body’s natural ability to digest food correctly and they change your metabolism. It alters the way food is absorbed in your body and makes you feel full when you really aren’t. Diet pills also weaken your body’s immune system which makes you prone to catching more illnesses.
Step2Many times you will realize when you or someone you know stops taking a diet pill they gain all the weight back and sometimes even more. That is because the diet pill makes you feel full and makes you eat less and it also makes your body absorb the nutrients from food differently. So when you stop taking the pills you gain the weight back because your metabolism goes back to normal.
Step3Most diet pills contain caffeine which makes your metabolism speed up. It does so by breaking down the fatty acids in your body and basically makes you not want to eat. Although it seems simple enough, rest assured it is the complete opposite. Since it is such a shock to your body there are many possible harmful effects the diet pills can cause.
Step4 Here is a list of possible side effects that diet pills can cause ….

Stomach cramps,
Heart problems such as a heart attack,
Irregular heart beat,
Blurred Vision,
Nervous behavior,
Hair loss,
High Blood pressure,
Chest Pains,
Step5While some of these possible side effects are in cases of overdose, they are possible and each diet pill will state their possible side effects on the bottle itself. Make sure that you read all th directions and warnings before starting to take any diet pill. You want to avoid any accidental overdose. You also need to talk to your doctor before stating any regimen!
Step6Basically if something seems to good to be true, chances are it is! There is no quick fix to losing weight, it takes diet and exercise. You want to lose the weight the right way to keep it off and do whats best for your body. Turning to diet pills may give you a quick fix, but you may have health problems that last much longer then the quick weight fix it offered.

While there are some natural herbal remedies that may be alright to take it is best to do it the old fashioned way through diet and exercise. Here are some helpful tips to lose weight the safe way….
Step7* Stop eating sugary foods. Just dropping the sugar from your diet can help you lose weight quickly. Make sure that you stay away from it all together if you want to lose weight quickly. This means no sugar in your coffee, on your cereals, or eating that candy bar!

* Cut the carbs from your diet. Carbohydrates turn into sugar inside our body’s and makes you hold onto body weight and fat. Omitting carbs from your diet can help you drastically drop the unwanted pounds. These days there are many alternatives to diets without carbs that are tasty and nutritious.
Step8* Increase fiber into your diet.

* Incorporate fruits and vegetables into your diet.

* Make sure you eat your dairy items. You can choose to have low fat or even fat free milks and yogurt’s.

* Watch your portion sizes! Many people have no concept of the amount of food that hey should be eating. Here are some helpful tips about portion sizes…
3 ounces of meat, fish, chicken, etc. Is about the size of the palm of a womans hand or a deck of playing cards.
An ounce of cheese is about the size of your thumb.
A teaspoon of butter is the about the size of your thumb tip.
Learning the correct portions that you should consume can greatly improve your weight lose.
Step9 * Stay aways from fried foods.

* Watch the calories. They count when you are trying to lose weight. Stick to a diet within a certain range of calories consumption ideal for you.
Step10Diet pills are not worth the potential problems that they may cause. So avoid taking them and just watch what you eat and exercise. Incorporating exercise into your daily life does not have to be hard. It can be a simple walk or parking your car farther from a store and walking. Making little steps in the be

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