In August, Veracity is celebrating our inaugural Hormone Health Awareness Month. Join the conversation at one of our virtual panel discussions throughout the month and post on social using the hashtag #ItsYourHormones.
It started with bouts of dizziness when Amanda Mae Renkel, founder of the running blog Mae's Miles and Music, was 16 years old. From there she began to experience severe social anxiety to the point where she says she’d take her glasses off so that she didn't have to see anyone; she feared if they noticed her and made eye contact, they'd want to talk.
Then came the brain fog. “I became excessively forgetful, at times panicking because I thought I hadn't remembered to put on clothes after I'd already been out of the house for hours. I couldn't even recognize my own reflection in the mirror,” she says.
Finally, after experiencing these symptoms one week per month for three months, she went to a gynecologist who diagnosed her with Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD), a hormone disorder that manifests as a severe and destabilizing iteration of more common premenstrual mood fluctuations. While her doctor was able to help her address the severe social anxiety, the mood fluctuations persisted. “Instead of being a little upset or disappointed, everything that bothered me became a monumental, emotional event.”
While the exact cause of PMDD isn’t known, it’s thought to be a reaction to hormonal changes that happen with the menstrual cycle. And while not always as severe as Amanda’s early PMDD experience, hormones play a surprising role in mental health and mood.
Feeling Moody? Blame It on Your Hormones
Your mood and your hormones are inextricably linked in surprising ways, but it’s important to be specific about the type of hormone that might be causing an issue. As Dr. Arti Thangudu, board-certified endocrinologist and CEO & founder of Complete Medicine says, “Hormone imbalance is a non-specific term that gets thrown around but it’s actually not a true diagnosis. We must be specific when discussing hormones because there are so many with so many actions.”